By Wang Hai
- Frequent Exchanges at the Leadership Level
Top leaders of China and ASEAN member states maintained frequent exchanges in 2017. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Beijing, and also held talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah. President Xi was invited to attend the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam and paid state visits to Vietnam and Laos. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the Philippines and attended the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders’ Meeting.
- Year of Tourism Cooperation
On March 16, 2017, the opening ceremony of China-ASEAN Year of Tourism Cooperation was held in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. China and ASEAN are now each other’s largest source of foreign tourist arrivals as well as largest tourist destination. Currently there are a total of 2,700 regularly scheduled flights that travel between China and ASEAN countries each week. The number of people traveling between the two sides reached a record high in 2017.
- Release of the Thai and Lao Editions of Xi’s Book
The Thai and Lao editions of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China were released in Bangkok, Thailand, and Vientiane, Laos, on April 7, 2017 and Nov. 9, 2017, respectively. The book is a compilation of Xi’s major works from Nov. 15, 2012 to June 13, 2014, including 79 speeches, talks, interviews, instructions and correspondence in 18 chapters. Xi’s book not only provides answers to both theoretical and practical issues of Party building and China’s development in the new phase of the country’s history, but also helps open a window for the international community to observe and understand China.
- Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
From May 14-15, 2017, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. Prior to and during the two-day forum, cooperation agreements were signed between governments and enterprises of different countries, including 76 items comprised of more than 270 concrete results in five key areas, namely policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people exchanges. Leaders of Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar attended the forum, bringing China-ASEAN ties even closer.
- ASEAN’s Golden Jubilee
On Aug. 8, 2017, a ceremony was held in Manila to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory massage to Philippine President Duterte on the golden jubilee of the organization.
- The 14th China-ASEAN Expo
On Sept. 12, 2017, the 14th China-ASEAN Expo and the 14th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit kicked off in Nanning, the capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The expo reached record highs in terms of both exhibition floor space and number of exhibitors. With a total of 6,600 booths, there were 2,709 exhibitors in attendance at the event. Eight ASEAN countries set up independent pavilions.
- APEC Vietnam 2017
On Nov. 8, 2017, the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting opened in Da Nang, Vietnam. Chinese President Xi Jinping said at an informal dialogue between APEC and ASEAN leaders that China sticks to a policy of regional diplomacy focused on amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. Additionally, China firmly develops friendly cooperation with ASEAN, firmly supports the construction of the ASEAN community and unswervingly supports ASEAN’s central position in regional cooperation. Xi also noted that China is set to advance the in-depth coordination of the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of ASEAN so as to create a higher level of China-ASEAN strategic partnership, move to a closer China-ASEAN community of shared future and inject new impetus into the realization of coordinated development and common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
- The 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders’ Meeting
On Nov. 13, 2017, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the 20th China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders’ Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center. The meeting adopted agreements such as the Joint Statement Between China and ASEAN on Further Deepening Cooperation in Infrastructure Connectivity, the Joint Statement Between China and ASEAN on Comprehensively Strengthening Effective Anti-Corruption Cooperation, the Joint Statement on China-ASEAN Tourism Cooperation and the Declaration for a Decade of Coastal and Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea (2017-2027).