China calls on ASEAN Plus Three countries to oppose political manipulation and accelerate regional economic recovery amid complexities
Global Times

China made a call on Monday to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN Plus Three or 10+3) to oppose political manipulation, jointly fight the epidemic, and accelerate regional economic recovery amid a complex and severe epidemic situation.

Wang Wentao, China’s Minister of Commerce Photo: Wechat account of China's Ministry of Commerce

On Monday, Wang Wentao, China's Minister of Commerce, attended through video conference the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) Trade Ministers' Meeting and the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Trade Ministers' Meeting to talk with his counterparts about efforts to fight the epidemic, seek common development and exchange in-depth views on regional economic and trade issues.

Faced with a complex and severe epidemic situation, the countries of the region should oppose political manipulation, jointly fight the epidemic and accelerate regional economic recovery, Wang said, according to a statement from China's Ministry of Commerce.

"Over the past 30 years, China-ASEAN economic and trade relations have become the most successful and dynamic model of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Standing at a new historical starting point, we should jointly promote deeper and innovative development of China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation," said Wang.

Wang called on efforts to expand trade and investment cooperation, stabilize and unblock the industrial supply chain and actively expand cooperation in new areas such as green economy, digital economy, and digital trade, as well as promote regional economic integration and foster sub-regional economic and trade cooperation.

China, Japan and the ROK should jointly increase investment in ASEAN and join hands to help build the ASEAN community, Wang added.

Trade ministers also emphasized that cooperation and coordination should be strengthened to promote the fair acquisition and distribution of drugs and medical supplies like the COVID-19 vaccine, alleviate the impact of the epidemic, and promote economic recovery.

The ministers highlighted that the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is of great significance, reiterated the maintenance of the multilateral trading system and the support to the WTO for necessary reforms. They also emphasized the urgency of restoring the dispute settlement mechanism and supported the development of small, medium and micro enterprises while vowing to promote the deepening of cooperation in the fields of finance, information technologies and supply chains.

The 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) Trade Ministers' Meeting made a joint statement on further enhancing the level of economic and trade cooperation, and a report on the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.

Participants at the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Trade Ministers' Meeting reviewed a progress report of an action plan for mitigating the economic impact of epidemic and an economic cooperation work plan (2021-2022).