Twenty-first Century "maritime Silk Road" and the international communication platform

CAEXPO Paves the Way for China-ASEAN Common Prosperity by Enhancing Mutual Trust

2022-09-20 08:32:45   By:China-ASEAN    Hits:

Written by Guan Qiuyun / Translated by Xie Zongming

China and ASEAN share a long history of friendly relations.

In 1991, China and ASEAN started the process of dialogue; in 1996, China became the dialogue partner of ASEAN; in 1997, the two sides established the partnership of good neighborliness and mutual trust oriented towards the 21st century; in 2003, China and ASEAN established Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity; in 2021, China and ASEAN became comprehensive strategic partners.

Throughout the cooperation of China and ASEAN in the past and ahead, one can realize that the fruitful results come not only from plenty of mutual benefit in various fields but also from the consistency of political mutual trust development. In 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in the congratulatory letter to the 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and the 18th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) that, “Looking into the future, China is willing to strengthen strategic mutual trust with ASEAN, deepen cooperation in pandemic response, economy, trade, and other areas, and promote the early entry into force and implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as well as the high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to forge a higherlevel strategic partnership and jointly maintain the good momentum of regional prosperity and development.”

The opening ceremony of the 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and the 18th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS)

As a long-term platform for China and ASEAN to convey positive political messages, the CAEXPO will continue to utilize its platform function to consolidate the foundation of political mutual trust, paving the way for common prosperity for China and ASEAN.

Building consensus to deepen the China-ASEAN community with a shared future

CAEXPO is like a beacon that lights up China-ASEAN cooperation. At the opening ceremony of the first CAEXPO in 2004, participants from China and ASEAN collected the water from their native rivers and poured it together, floating the logo of CAEXPO and opening a new chapter of ChinaASEAN cooperation. At the opening ceremony of the CAEXPO in 2007, participants from 11 countries jointly launched the “ship” of cooperation, signifying the idea of common interests between China and ASEAN countries. At the opening ceremony of the CAEXPO in 2009, amidst the global financial crisis, China and ASEAN countries adopted the form of lighting a beacon to show their confidence in overcoming the crisis with joint efforts. 

In October 2013, President Xi Jinping visited Indonesia and put forward the vision of jointly building the China-ASEAN community with a shared future. Up to this day, this vision has carried not only the will of the people but also the anticipation of the countries.

Between Nanning, the venue of CAEXPO, and Indonesia, and from China to ASEAN, CAEXPO, as the participant and builder of the China-ASEAN partnership, paves the way for China-ASEAN common prosperity by enhancing mutual trust, combines the Chinese Dream with the “ASEAN Dream”, sketches the contours of the China-ASEAN community with a shared future, enriches its contents, and annotates it with distinctive features. Under the shadow cast by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 CAEXPO overcame the pressure of the pandemic and opened as usual, and the ASEAN’s partners from all sectors still gave full support and active participation. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the 17th CAEXPO and CABIS

CAEXPO is also a platform for building China-ASEAN high-level consensus. Throughout the past 18 years, over 105 domestic and overseas state leaders and over 3,500 ministerial officials attended CAEXPO and CABIS in total. 200 high-level conferences, forums, and relevant events were held under the framework. Through a series of high-level friendly exchanges, such as senior officials’ meetings, opening ceremonies, visiting exhibitions, and setting the Country of Honor, the leaders of China and ASEAN countries sparked new cooperation opportunities, and the high-level messages about policies and industry development orientation in various areas of Chinese and ASEAN governments thus were sent from Guangxi to the world to allow the national consensus on cooperation to be disseminated to enterprises and local governments.

In the years that since China and ASEAN established dialogue relations, CAEPXO has gradually become a comprehensive exchange platform for the two sides to enhance political mutual trust, which provides strong support for jointly building the ChinaASEAN community with a shared future and keeps tapping the charm of the ASEAN+1 mechanism.

Ensuring a steady start to the China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

2022 marks the opening of the China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. How do we further develop China-ASEAN relations to seek development and well-being for the two peoples? People look to the CAEXPO, an efficient public platform.

As an “old friend” to the CAEXPO, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said, “Cambodia-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is an important reason that I’m here. We should keep hosting this event and let it be carried forward, allowing it to keep facilitating political mutual trust, enhance economic and trade cooperation, and benefit the people.”

In 2020, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the national political parties of Southeast Asian countries held the first dialogue in Nanning, Guangxi. The meeting strongly impressed and inspired Datuk Lim Ban Hong, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia. He said that the CPC is a party with a 100-year history and the navigator of China’s development. The strengthened dialogue between the CPC and Southeast Asian national political parties will definitely bring resilience to China-ASEAN strategic mutual trust. CAEXPO utilizes its platform to host related political dialogues, which not only brings closer high-level exchange between both sides to promote consensus on cooperation but also enables the CPC and Southeast Asian national political parties to share administrative experiences through this platform, laying the political foundation for cooperation in various areas between China and Southeast Asian countries.

“Taking economic and trade cooperation as the basis and supplementing it with infrastructure, culture, and education cooperation, we can create new growth points for China-ASEAN cooperation and in turn deepen mutual political trust with the cooperation in these areas. All of this can be achieved at the CAEXPO,” said Mr. Vuong Dinh Hue, former Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, who added that win-win cooperation is one of the drivers for mutual trust. Results harvested in the high-level forums on e-commerce, digital economy, energy, agriculture, green infrastructure, and disaster control under the CAEXPO framework will become the water that irrigates the tree of China-ASEAN mutual trust.

首趟中老铁路国际货物列车行驶在铁路上(图源:新华社 摄影:新华社记者 江文耀)
Goods were transported in the China-Laos Railway

Mr. SONEXAY SIPHANDONE, Deputy Prime Minister of Laos, said that under the constantly changing international situation and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, CAEXPO’s continuity and consistency showcase that China and ASEAN countries are helping each other during hardships through advocating multilateralism and pandemic-control cooperation, enhancing their mutual trust.

Laying a solid foundation to pave the way for China-ASEAN common prosperity

Xu Liping, Research Fellow of the Asia Pacific Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and Director of the CASS Southeast Asian Studies Center, once said that the upgrading of China-ASEAN relations and the enhancement of political mutual trust are not only the current focus but also the call of the era.

If the previous CAEXPO has laid the foundation for China-ASEAN friendly relations, the upcoming 19th CAEXPO will once again usher in a fundamental improvement for the relations between both sides. 

The 19th CAEXPO to be held on September 16-19, 2022, will focus on promoting political mutual trust and will host many significant events, including two special forums themed RCEP and 21 high-level forums, 11 of which will be held during the period of holding the CAEXPO. These events cover the area of production capacity, science and technology, agriculture, and health. In particular, state leaders from China and overseas will attend the opening ceremony and deliver remarks. At the political and commercial dialogues, China and ASEAN countries will also discuss and announce related policies and plans on the two sides’ key cooperation areas and keep promoting the in-depth alignment between the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and ASEAN countries’ strategic development planning.

Political mutual trust is the foundation of China-ASEAN relations. Only by laying a solid foundation could the two sides embark on the path of common prosperity. In this process, CAEXPO will continue to channel friendly cooperation, spreading China-ASEAN political mutual trust to the world.

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