China, ASEAN satisfied over development of bilateral ties

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday jointly expressed satisfaction over the development of bilateral ties in recent years.

Since the issuance of the joint statement between China and ASEAN in 1997, the bilateral ties have seen rapid, comprehensive and in-depth growth, and China and ASEAN have become important partners of cooperation, said a joint declaration on strategic partnership for peace and prosperity endorsed by China and ASEAN leaders Wednesday.

"Politically, our two sides respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and their independent choice of development path," the declaration said.

Since 1997 China has signed separately with the 10 ASEAN members political documents aimed at development of bilateral relations in the 21st century. In October 2003, China acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which has demonstrated that the political trust between the two sides has notably enhanced, it said.

"Economically, the two sides have strengthened contacts and exchanges for mutually complementary and beneficial cooperation" in Five Priority Areas: agriculture, information and telecommunications, human resources development, two-way investment and the Mekong River Basin development, the declaration said.

In 2002 the two sides signed the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between China and ASEAN, launched the process towards a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and moved bilateral economic cooperation towards greater scope and depth, it said.

In security, China and ASEAN have worked to actively implement the concept of enhancing mutual trust through dialogue, resolving disputes peacefully through negotiations and achieving regional security through cooperation, the declaration said.

"With a view to securing peace and stability in South China Sea, the two sides signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and agreed to work on the basis of consensus towards the eventual attainment of this objective," it said.

"The two sides have issued the Joint Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues, under which active cooperation on transnational issues has been conducted, opening new areas of security cooperation," it added.

In regional and international affairs, China and ASEAN have engaged in productive cooperation, and have joined hands in promoting the sound development of the ASEAN+3 cooperation, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) and other regional and trans-regional cooperation mechanisms, the declaration said.

"We are pleased with the depth and scope of the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides. We agree that ASEAN-China relations have seen important and positive developments, extensive and substantive cooperation in all areas of mutual interest," it noted.

"We highlight the strategic importance of ASEAN-China relations to peace, development and cooperation in our region and recognize the positive contribution of such relations to world peace and development," it added.



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