As part of his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) on Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said that closer China-ASEAN ties are necessary for a shared future.
China and ASEAN should deepen cooperation on production capacity, infrastructure construction, and innovation, Zhang said, adding that political trust should be strengthened between China and ASEAN, including upgrades being made to the free trade zone.
Zhang added that there will be an increase in the exchange of students as China and ASEAN try to promote people-to-people communication in the future.
China-ASEAN cooperation has improved remarkably, Zhang said, adding that China hopes to see a more prosperous ASEAN in the future.
After delivering a keynote speech at the ceremony, Zhang announced the official opening of the 14th China-ASEAN Exposition.
The four-day event is taking place in Nanning City, capital of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, highlighting trade and investment among China, ASEAN and other countries along the Belt and Road routes.
The theme of the 14th CAEXPO is to "Jointly Build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Promote Regional Economic Integration Through Tourism." This year's expo highlights innovation-driven development.
The event attracted 2,709 exhibitors, up 1.5 percent from the previous event, while the number of buyers is expected to exceed 10,000, including about 4,000 international buyers, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The Expo features 6,600 exhibition booths, an increase of 800 from the previous event. It includes 36 forums in fields such as industrial capacity cooperation, environmental protection, culture, transport and tourism.
The China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit also opened Tuesday.
ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is China's third-largest trading partner, while China is ASEAN's largest trading partner.
Apart from the China-ASEAN year of tourism, this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN.
"During Foreign Ministers' Meeting between China and ASEAN (10+1) held in Manila, Philippines, in August this year, 2018 has been designated as 'China-ASEAN Year of Innovation.' Next year will also be the 15th anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership between China and the ASEAN and the relations between the two sides are in the key nodes of improving and upgrading," Xu Ningning, Executive President of China-ASEAN Business Council pointed out.