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China-ASEAN cooperation needs to go to sea

China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-02 08:14
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MA XUEJING/CHINA DAILY

President-elect of the Republic of Indonesia and Great Indonesia Movement Party General Chairman Prabowo Subianto's visit to China from Sunday to Tuesday conveys the significance the Southeast Asian country attaches to its relations with China.

As a key member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a major player on the world stage and a main emerging market economy, Indonesia keeping sound economic and trade cooperation with China is conducive to maintaining regional stability and promoting the common development of China and ASEAN.

ASEAN has maintained its position as China's largest trading partner for four consecutive years. But bilateral economic and trade cooperation is mainly land-based, and the two sides need to further promote their maritime cooperation.

Some estimates say that if China and ASEAN can invest $2 trillion to $3.7 trillion in areas related to the blue economy from 2020 to 2050, they can bring in net benefits of $8.2 trillion to $22.8 trillion.

Promoting the cooperative development of renewable energy resources should be one of the key areas of the blue economic cooperation between the two sides. In 2021, renewable energy accounted for 14.4 percent of the total energy supply of ASEAN countries, which is still far behind the goal of making it 35 percent by 2025. As one of the major investors in ASEAN's energy industry, China should provide more support for ASEAN in the energy sector.

China and ASEAN should further strengthen their port and logistics cooperation, strengthen the joint development of maritime routes, form a regional port alliance with enterprises as the main body, and promote digital transformation of ports and the mutual recognition of standards.

In view of the common marine ecological and environmental issues faced by the region, the two sides should strengthen collaboration in the green transformation of regional marine industries, jointly formulate energy consumption standards for marine industries, work together to build a marine science and technology innovation consortium, and explore the establishment of a China-ASEAN marine carbon credit trading market.

Hainan island should make full use of what it has to play an important role in China-ASEAN blue economic integration. On the one hand, Hainan should become a major channel for the two-way flow of sea-related goods and factors between China and ASEAN. On the other hand, it should become a distribution hub to promote the optimal allocation of sea-related elements between China and ASEAN, as well as a large platform for the transfer, transaction and allocation of high-quality sea-related elements between the two sides.

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