Diplomats and government officials from ASEAN countries gathered at Beijing Foreign Studies University on Sunday, at the start of the ASEAN Plus Three Training Program on Understanding China.
The program, launched in 2010, has been successfully held four times. It aims to promote a better understanding of China among diplomats and government officials from ASEAN countries who work at China-related positions.
Thirteen participants will join the latest three-week program to enhance their understanding of China in various areas including economics, politics and law.
The training includes lectures led by top scholars and visits to government institutions and major enterprises.
"The purpose of the program is to enhance mutual understanding and increase collaboration and exchange among people from China and ASEAN countries, as well as among youth and students," said Yan Guohua, vice-president of the university.
"I was a diplomat and my first post was in New Zealand, a beautiful country," he said, adding that his experience helped him realize the importance of mutual understanding.
Top scholars leading the lectures including Mei Renyi, whose research includes US-China relations and China's reform and opening-up; and Admiral Yang Yi, instructor of the Surface Warfare Training Center of the East Sea Fleet and director of the navy's Foreign Affairs Bureau, Yan said.
Ivan Frank Olea, minister and consul of the Philippines embassy to China, is one of the participants of the program.
"I am looking forward to learning more about China, what China is, and what China will become (during the program)," he said.