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ASEAN keen to work with China to safeguard free trade: officials

By:Xinhua Net   Update:2018-04-13
JAKARTA, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Lim Jock Hoi said ASEAN and China will work together to maintain free trade and develop closer economic partnership for prosperity in the region.

High-level diplomats and scholars from China, ASEAN countries and ASEAN's dialogue partners attended a seminar commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership on Monday..

In his opening speech, Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Huang Xilian said the China-ASEAN strategic partnership is growing more mature, as a result of the efforts to nurture mutual trust, deepen good-neighborly friendship, seek win-win cooperation and uphold regional stability.

"The remarkable achievements we have seen today have laid solid ground for our renewed partnership in the decades to come," said the Chinese ambassador.

Tan Hung Seng, Singapore's Permanent Representative to ASEAN, said at the seminar that ASEAN and China have been working together to improve infrastructural and economic connectivity.

Both sides are exploring greater synergies between the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and China's Belt and Road Initiative, said the Singaporean diplomat.

"We are also working hard to achieve Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will be a clear signal of the region's commitment to trade liberalization and support for the multilateral trading system."

As to the trade conflicts and trade protectionism, Jose Antonio Morato Tavares, director-general for ASEAN Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, pointed out that economic integration is a good basis and a strong reason for maintaining peace and stability.