In order to promote the development of ASEAN and China through pragmatic China-ASEAN cooperation, the leaders of China and the ASEAN countries should form a complete picture of China-ASEAN relations in their mind, continue their contributions to a better relationship, and ensure peace and stability in China and ASEAN.
For most ASEAN countries, the recent series of Foreign Ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation have been a success as the delegations at the meeting sought common interests and tried to set aside their differences. The U.S. proposal of a “freeze” on actions in the South China Sea did not meet with a response from the delegations.
Our focus is still the relations between China and ASEAN. Communication between China and South East Asia goes back to ancient times. Zheng He’s great voyage to Southeast Asia laid a solid foundation for the friendship between China and Southeast Asia. In spite of different national conditions, China and most ASEAN countries, developing countries in pursuit of peaceful rise, can expand their cooperation in a spirit of equality and mutual respect.
China and the ASEAN countries should make every effort to promote harmonious relationships. Despite China’s dispute with a few ASEAN countries over the South China Sea, China can still achieve cooperation with ASEAN. ASEAN considers that pragmatic cooperation remains the mainstream theme of bilateral ties.
China and ASEAN should continue to pursue stable development in their relationships.
Economic development is crucial to the exchanges between China and ASEAN. At the Foreign Ministers' meetings, proposals to update the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) and cooperate in building the 21st Maritime Silk Road were the focus of attention; these can help to build a foundation for further economic integration between China and ASEAN.
The South China issues do not harm overall relations between China and ASEAN, therefore China and all the ASEAN countries can free their minds, expand close cooperation in the areas of defense and security, counter non-traditional threats to security such as terrorism, piracy and smuggling, and speed up the negotiations for the "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea". All of these will help to secure shipping lanes and common development in the South China Sea.
China and the ASEAN countries have different ethnic groups and cultures in their societies and they can learn from each other in promoting their culture and developing education.
The article was edited and translated from 《中国东盟需共同放眼大格局》, Author: Hu Yishan, a researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University and political secretary to the former Malaysian Prime Minister, Source: People's Daily