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Brunei sees ASEAN, China grow side by side

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-24 14:30

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN -- The forthcoming 22nd ASEAN Summit will be held here on April 24-25. Being the rotating chair of the ten-member Southeast Asian group, Brunei has witnessed a series of economic miracles during the growth of the bloc and China over the past two decades.

Brunei chaired ASEAN for the first time in 1989 when economic reconstruction was taking place in Asia.

After rapid industrialization between the early 1960s and 1990s, Japan and the "Four Asian Tigers," namely Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, had experienced economic reconstruction. The industrial shift as a result of it provided historic opportunities for the growth of ASEAN member states, especially in the field of foreign trade and economic cooperation, which has helped them build an export-oriented economy.

China's growth followed a similar curve after the country began to implement a policy of reform and opening to the outside world in late 1978. The strategic policy change of China has not only triggered the fast growth of the Chinese economy but also an increasingly closer relationship with its Southeast Asian neighbors.

China forged dialog relations with ASEAN in 1991, becoming the first country among ASEAN's dialog partners to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the first to establish the strategic partnership with the bloc. Also in 1991, bilateral trade between China and ASEAN mounted to nearly $10 billion.

When Brunei took the ASEAN chair again in 1995, the tiny but rich sultanate saw the Sino-ASEAN trade exceeding 15 percent for the first time to hit $18.44 billion.

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