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Xinhua Insight: China, ASEAN usher in new era of closer ties after 25 years

DATE:2016-09-14       SOURCE:Xinhua

by Xinhua writer Li Laifang


NANNING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Keen to tap into Vietnam's tourism opportunities, Yunde Group, a leading transportation provider in China's southern autonomous region of Guangxi, will soon establish its second joint venture in the neighboring country.


Yunde Group signed a deal with Vietnam's Truong Loc Construction and Trading Co. on Monday at the ongoing 13th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The two firms will establish a transportation firm in Quang Ninh province, home to the World Heritage site Ha Long Bay, a popular tourist destination in Vietnam.


"Our 'go-out' strategy centers around ASEAN," said Qi Jingsheng, president of Yunde Group. In 2004, the company set up its first joint venture in Vietnam and launched a regular bus from Nanning to Hanoi the following year.


Qi said the firm was also keeping its eyes open for opportunities in Cambodia and Laos.


Nguyen Van Truong, board chairman of the Vietnamese company, told Xinhua that his firm was looking forward to learning from its Chinese partner.


The expo attracted more than 2,500 companies this year from 29countries including China, ASEAN countries, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan.


The four-day fair promotes industrial cooperation and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which was designed to encourage mutually beneficial cooperation, features prominently.


Since China and ASEAN began their dialogue relationship 25 years ago, cooperation has gone from strength to strength.


Bilateral trade volume grew 58 times from 7.96 billion U.S.dollars in 1991 to 472 billion dollars last year. The accumulative two-way investment has exceeded 160 billion dollars. China is currently ASEAN's largest trading partner, while the regional bloc is China's third largest.


As a result of the rapid development over the past 25 years, China-ASEAN ties are entering a new era of higher level cooperation, boosted by free trade agreements, industrial cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.


Mohd Zukepli, director of Malaysia Investment Development Authority's Beijing office, said the 25th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship was a "historic opportunity" to enhance ties.


"China-ASEAN cooperation benefits people on both sides," Zukepli told Xinhua after a roundtable on investment cooperation during the expo. He appreciated China's initiatives and efforts to develop relations with ASEAN, and voiced hope that the private sector will be more engaged in bilateral cooperation.


At the meeting, investment officials from ASEAN said they hoped to attract more Chinese investment in the sectors of high-tech, finance and scientific research, in addition to infrastructure and manufacturing.


Senior leaders from ASEAN attending the expo also had high hopes for China-ASEAN ties.


The ASEAN Community, a market with more than 600 million people, has strong demand for power, information technology, agriculture and scientific research, said Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen at the opening ceremony of the expo on Sunday.


To realize sustainable and inclusive growth, ASEAN needs the participation of all dialogue partners, especially China, he said.


The ASEAN Community faces internal challenges, but China's economic growth has helped invigorate the ASEAN economy, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong.


Integration between the Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN development will boost ties, according to him.


The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny will see China and ASEAN achieve common prosperity, said Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone.


"ASEAN's development requires support from China. China also wants a prosperous and stable ASEAN," said Xu Ningning, executive president of China-ASEAN Business Council.

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