China, ASEAN should speed up negotiations on upgrade of FTA: Wang Yi

(Xinhua) 13:36, July 13, 2023

Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi meets with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 12, 2023. (Photo by Li Zhiquan/Xinhua)

JAKARTA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should speed up their negotiations on version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi said on Wednesday.

Wang, who is in the Indonesian capital for a series of ASEAN foreign ministers' meetings on Thursday and Friday, made the remarks at a meeting with Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

Noting that this year marks the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, Wang said both sides should take it as an opportunity to usher in a new vision for cooperation and further promote China-ASEAN ties.

China and ASEAN should jointly safeguard the global free trading system, uphold the ASEAN centrality, and jointly maintain regional peace and development, the senior Chinese diplomat said.

Wang noted that China and Singapore have upgraded their relations to an all-around, high-quality and forward-looking partnership, which has injected a strong impetus to the development of bilateral ties.

China is looking forward to working with Singapore to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and facilitate people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, he added.

For his part, Balakrishnan said Singapore and China have maintained close high-level exchanges, the bilateral cooperation mechanism meetings have been fruitful, and key cooperation projects have yielded fruitful results.

Singapore is willing to work with China to expand cooperation in various fields, guided by the new positioning of their relationship, said the Singaporean foreign minister.

He said his country looks forward to more direct flights between China and Singapore to further facilitate people-to-people exchanges.

China is ASEAN's largest trading partner, Balakrishnan said, adding that joint construction of the Belt and Road has brought tangible benefits to both sides.

Singapore advocates mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries, he said, expecting China and ASEAN to enhance mutual trust, and promote stability and prosperity.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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