ASEAN and China agreed in Singapore on Wednesday to intensify their cooperation in order to meet serious challenges posed by rising oil and food prices, the slowdown of world economy, the depreciation of US dollar, rising trade protectionism and natural disasters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
During the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that China is willing to conduct high-level dialogue with ASEAN member countries and exchange views on bilateral and major international issues, adding that China has decided to send an ambassador to ASEAN.
Yang said China will work closely with ASEAN to speed up the establishment of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area.
In the area of the environment and climate, Yang said China and ASEAN have identified environmental protection as a key area of cooperation.
China, the Chinese foreign minister said, will strengthen its cooperation with ASEAN in implementing the Mekong Basin development programs and projects within various frameworks such as Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS).
Yang said China attaches great importance to its ties with ASEAN and highly values ASEAN's role in contributing significantly to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the promotion of common development, adding that China will, as always, support ASEAN's unique role in achieving the long-term goal of building an East Asian community.
Meanwhile, for the part of ASEAN ministers, they expressed their sympathy to China in view of the massive and tragic loss of life in the Sichuan earthquake disaster.
ASEAN foreign ministers said great achievements have been made in the dynamic ASEAN-China relations, with mutual understanding and trust have continued to deepen.
The ASEAN ministers expressed thanks to China for supporting ASEAN's integration efforts and agreed to fully cooperate with China in all fields so as to achieve the goal of regional peace and development.
ASEAN ministers also said they sincerely wish Beijing 2008 Olympic Games great success.
ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2008)