Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) meets with Asean Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 11, 2022. (Xinhua/Veri Sanovri)

JAKARTA – Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a speech at the Asean Secretariat here on Monday, speaking highly of the achievements in China-Asean cooperation, and making proposals for jointly upholding open regionalism with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Wang said China and Asean are linked by mountains and waters as well as hearts and aspirations.

"We are always good neighbors, good friends and good partners with a shared future,” he said.

Wang said China-Asean relations have always stayed ahead in many areas. The cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries against Covid-19 was a vivid testament to the deep friendship through thick and thin.

Currently, China and Asean are each other's largest trading partners, with trade volume soaring 100 times from 30 years before, and the two-way direct investment has exceeded USD310 billion.

China-Asean security cooperation has also been making steady progress, with differences and disputes being effectively managed, he added.

"Our region has secured such remarkable achievements and created exceptional miracles in growth, most fundamentally because countries in the region have adhered to open regionalism, respected and appreciated the diversities among members, and upheld and practiced the principle of voluntarism," Wang said.

He, however, pointed out that there are two completely different trends concerning the future of Asia, one advocates open regionalism, true multilateralism, a development-first approach and mutually beneficial cooperation, while the other pursues a relapse into the obsolete Cold War mentality and closed group politics, and classifies countries in the region based on their values.

"The choice we make today determines where the path will take us from now on -- openness or isolation, cooperation or confrontation, solidarity or division, progress or regression."

As the world's largest developing country and an important member in Asia, China has always followed a path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening-up, Wang said.

"We hope to champion open regionalism together with Asean and deepen our comprehensive strategic partnership," Wang said.

China will continue to support Asean centrality and promote solidarity and cooperation in the region. China firmly supports Asean's role in the "driver's seat", supports Asean community-building, and supports the Asean-centered regional cooperation architecture, Wang said.

China will continue to call for settling differences in the Asian way and uphold regional peace and stability, he added.

He said China will work with other countries in the region to implement the Global Security Initiative, hoping to blaze a new path of security that chooses dialogue over confrontation, partnerships over alliances, and win-win over zero-sum game, and put into practice principles for how neighbors may get along: trust as the basis, the greater good as a priority, and sincerity in interaction.

China and Asean countries are expediting the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea consultations and will continue to support Asean's efforts in building a nuclear-weapon-free zone.

Wang said China will continue to firmly pursue its open strategy for development and promote regional economic integration.

He said China is ready to launch a new round of upgrade to the China-Asean Free Trade Area as soon as possible, and implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) across the board and promote its upgrade in due course. China is ready to sign high-standard free trade agreements with more countries, and it looks forward to closely integrating the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and China-Asean cooperation.

China will continue to resolutely advance cooperation in science, technology and innovation to stimulate new drivers of development in the region, Wang said.

He also said China stands ready to strengthen digital connectivity, explore cooperation on low-carbon, circular and green economy. China will advance barrier-and discrimination-free scientific and technological innovation that transcends borders. China will implement the China-Asean Science, Technology and Innovation Enhancing Program, and accelerate regional transformation and development.

China will continue to carry forward Asian values and deepen the bonds of friendship among peoples in the region, Wang said.

He added that China is ready to work with Asean to rise above the zero-sum mentality and deepen their brotherly bond of sharing wealth and woe in the spirit of solidarity and partnership.

China will adopt more measures to facilitate the flow of people and discuss the launch of tourism recovery plans with all sides at the proper time, and support the development of an Asean travel corridor. China will proactively step up exchanges with Asean countries in culture and between the youth, subnational entities, media and women, to promote mutual understanding, amity and affinity between their peoples, Wang said.

Asean is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (Xinhua)