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China, ASEAN eye common development

10/06/2024    36

Both sides to cooperate on practical needs, long-term goals, forum hears

China and Southeast Asian countries could focus on jointly building a community with a shared future as ASEAN members move toward a trend of multipolarity, a regional forum in Malaysia heard on Wednesday.

China is willing to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in building a global community with a shared future and to further implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, China's Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing said.

In a special address delivered at the 37th Asia-Pacific Roundtable: Crisis in an Interregnum, Ouyang said China is willing to work with other countries to further implement the three global initiatives and build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.

"Firstly, we should focus on the common development and the jobs that turn the region into a model of the GDI cooperation caring for their practical needs and long-term goals. GDI aims to foster a new momentum for the global common development," he said.

Ouyang said China is willing to explore the best ways to synergize the GDI with ASEAN's Community Vision 2045, and accelerate negotiations on version 3.0 of the China-ASEAN free trade areas. China is also ready to work with ASEAN countries in more effectively implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Mohd Faiz Abdullah, chairman of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, or ISIS, Malaysia, in his opening address, highlighted the challenges facing the current international order, including the shift from unipolarity to multipolarity and the growing influence of emerging middle and major powers.

"What is clear is that unipolarity, and perhaps even bipolarity, is on its way out," Mohd Faiz said.

The forum, held in Kuala Lumpur from Tuesday to Thursday, was convened by ISIS Malaysia and organized on behalf of the ASEAN Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

Complex landscape

More than 100 delegates, including some of Southeast Asia's key business executives, experts, and government officials attended the high-level symposium to discuss the increasingly complex strategic landscape and how this affects the global order.

For the Global South, the choice is not whether to side with China or the United States, said Victor Gao Zhikai, vice-president of the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization.

"The real choice is between whether China or the United States — or both China and the United States — are doing the right thing or the wrong thing," he said.

"If China does the right thing, we want to learn from it. If the United States is doing the wrong thing, why do we follow their footsteps?"

Despite the fluctuation in bilateral relations, staging a war will never be an option for the two countries, said Gao, one of the speakers at a panel discussion on major power rivalry.

"All of us need to promote or instigate for peace, rather than agitate for war between China and the United States," Gao said, adding that no one will benefit from any conflict.

While there are concerns about how the US presidential election in November might affect bilateral relations, Gao said he believes there will be "inevitable peace" between the two countries.

Yun Sun, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, said the two sides have been conducting dialogue and strengthening cooperation in several areas.

"We're also seeing cooperation for possible joint law enforcement (and) contract audits. We're seeing discussions about issues including the Gaza crisis," Yun said.

"So, we are basically seeing a lot of (cooperation) activities happening between the two, which then helps to mitigate the tense relations."

Yun said the results of the US presidential election are unlikely to affect US policy on China because Washington maintains "continuity and consistency on some of the approaches to China".

Herve Lemahieu, director of research at the Lowy Institute in Australia, said he is optimistic about Asia-Pacific, noting that the region has not seen conflicts such as that happening in Europe and the Middle East.

"So, there is still hope in Asia for us to avoid the worst," Lemahieu said.

Source: China Daily