China and ASEAN: Promoting cooperation through openness and promoting win-win results through inclusiveness

China and Southeast Asian countries are connected by mountains and rivers and share cultural connections, and have maintained friendly and cooperative relations for a long time.

Southeast Asia has been an important hub of the Maritime Silk Road since ancient times. Zheng He made seven voyages to the West, leaving behind a good story of friendly exchanges and economic exchanges between China and the local area.

At present, the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership is developing well, cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results, and the construction of the China-ASEAN community of shared future has continued to take new steps.

Especially in terms of regional economic integration, in recent years, multilateral and bilateral cooperation mechanisms have been continuously improved, industrial cooperation has been comprehensively deepened, and connectivity has been continuously accelerated, which has effectively driven the revitalization and development of regional countries.

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Agreement signed in 2002 is the largest free trade area among developing countries.

In 2023, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) will fully take effect for 15 signatory countries, marking the entry of the world’s most populous, largest economic and trade scale, and most potential free trade area into a new stage of full implementation, providing full support for China and ASEAN to further deepen economic and trade cooperation.

In the past few decades, the rapid growth of the regional economy in the process of integration is precisely due to the fact that countries have always promoted cooperation through openness and promoted win-win results through inclusiveness.

At present, the 10 ASEAN countries have introduced visa facilitation measures of varying degrees, such as visa-free, visa-on-arrival or electronic visa, for Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports for private purposes. Since the second half of 2023, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and other countries have announced the implementation of visa-free policies for Chinese tourists, laying a solid foundation for economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges.

In 2023, the scale of trade between China and ASEAN reached 6.41 trillion yuan. ASEAN has maintained its position as China’s largest trading partner for four consecutive years, and China has also been ASEAN’s largest trading partner for many consecutive years.

As of 2023, the trade volume between China and ASEAN has increased by 16.8 times in 20 years, and the total amount of two-way investment has exceeded US$380 billion.

China and ASEAN are important development opportunities for each other, and have broad common interests in sharing super-large-scale markets, leveraging economic complementary advantages, and rationally allocating resources and factors.

The two sides are cooperating on the principle of mutual benefit, weaving a closer network of common interests, and elevating the integration of interests to a higher level.