• Melo Acuna

ASEAN-China Ministerial meeting held last week

Foreign Secretary Locsin and Chinese Councilor Wang Yi co-chair ASEAN – China Ministerial Meeting

MANILA – Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi co-chaired the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meting Wednesday last week.

In a late press statement, the DFA said the Philippines is the Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations from 2018 – 2021.

ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers reviewed the progress in the dialogue relations and talked about ways to deepen cooperation within the political-security, economic and socio-cultural pillars. They also discussed their views on regional issues including COVID-19 and the prevailing conditions at the South China Sea.

The ASEAN foreign ministers expressed appreciation for China’s announcement of its US$1 million contribution to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and the allocation of US$5 million to the ASAN-China Cooperation Fund to strengthen joint efforts and projects on addressing public health emergencies. China underscored their contribution to stop the COVID-19 pandemic through their vaccine.

Locsin emphasized the Philippines’ commitment to push forward negotiations towards and effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. He said the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text (SDNT) and the commencement of the second reading of the SDNT last year.

“As a community of law-abiding nations, we emphasize that disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” Secretary Locsin said.

However, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the strict restrictions imposed on travel and movement prevented the scheduled face-to-face meetings as Secretary Locsin called on fellow ASEAN Member States and China to resume dicussions.

“It is imperative to bring everyone back to the negotiating table to demonstrate to the world that we are sincerely committed and determined to arrive at a conclusive result, one way or the other, but we must get down to sincere and serious work,” he added.

ASEAN and China also reaffirmed implementing commitments under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the pandemic and boost greater economic and trade cooperation. These efforts will support the joint target of two-way trade of US$1 trillion and US$150 billion in investments by the end of 2020. (Melo M. Acuña)

Picture collage released by the Department of Foreign Affairs on the recently conducted ASEEAN-China Foreign Ministerial Meeting where Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi co-chaired the event.

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