Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met on Monday with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, with both sides promising to strengthen ties.
Wang said at the meeting that China and ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are each other's largest trading partner and China has always made ASEAN a foreign policy priority, supported the development and growth of ASEAN, and the ASEAN Community building.
China was the first to forge a strategic partnership with ASEAN and upgraded it to a comprehensive strategic partnership, said the Chinese state councilor.
China was also the first to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the first to start free trade area (FTA) negotiations with ASEAN and the first to give unequivocal support for ASEAN's centrality in regional cooperation, he said.
Wang said China firmly supports the current effective ASEAN-led regional architecture, adding that with concerted efforts, China-ASEAN cooperation has shown vitality, making the region the safest and most promising for development.
He said China is willing to work with ASEAN to build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home, benefiting both Chinese and ASEAN people.
Wang said China and ASEAN staunchly support sovereign equality and greater democracy in international relations, taking the lead in the process of multipolarization.
Facing the rapidly changing international landscape and new challenges, China and ASEAN should be on high alert against any action that harms the ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and oppose any attempt that introduces geopolitical contest and bloc confrontation, Wang said.
China and ASEAN should jointly propose open regionalism and safeguard hard-won regional peace and stability to build bright prospects that feature solidarity and prosperity, Wang said.
For his part, Lim thanked China's timely assistance in providing ASEAN countries with vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies, and appreciated China's firm support for the ASEAN centrality and ASEAN Community building.
Lim also expressed appreciation for China's important contributions to accelerating regional economic recovery, achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and promoting development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.
He said ASEAN looks forward to strengthening the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership and jointly upholding open regionalism.
ASEAN stands ready to take the opportunity of the China-ASEAN Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation to deepen cooperation in various fields including connectivity, supply chain stability, digital economy, climate change, ecological protection, disaster prevention and mitigation and people-to-people exchanges.