Business / Economy

Stronger China-ASEAN cooperation benefits regional growth, peace, prosperity: Indonesian official

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-09-03 17:26

JAKARTA - Stronger cooperation between China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will contribute to regional peace, growth and prosperity and benefits both sides, as well as the region as a whole, Director-General for ASEAN Cooperation of Indonesia Foreign Ministry, Jose Antonio Morato Tavares, said.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the ASEAN summit and regional meetings in Vientiane, Laos, Tavares said that China is the biggest market in terms of population in the world and thus brings a lot of opportunities for ASEAN economies.

The current momentum of China-ASEAN cooperation comprises a lot of encouraging developments evidenced by the robust trade and two-way investment, the diplomat said.

Data showed China-ASEAN trade rose to $472.16 billion in 2015, from $7.96 billion 25 years ago, with an annual growth rate of 18.5 percent.

China is currently ASEAN's biggest trading partner, while ASEAN is China's third-largest.

Tavares said connectivity remains one of the vital aspects of regional integration and both sides have a great opportunity to work together.

"China has the 'Belt and Road' initiative, and ASEAN has the masterplan of connectivity. Both concepts share similar goals on better infrastructural development and they can be aligned and implemented," he said.

Regarding aspects of security, Tavares said China always supports ASEAN's endeavors concerning regional peace and stability and maintains good cooperation with ASEAN.

Among the ASEAN's dialogue partners, he added, China was the first to ink the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), and the first to become ASEAN's strategic partner.

With reference to the China-Indonesia cooperation, Tavares said Indonesia is very interested in issues pertaining to bilateral cooperation on connectivity and infrastructure development, as Indonesia is such a vast archipelago.

As one of the first stages in the development of infrastructure and connectivity in the country, the director-general said the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway is very significant and highly expected to facilitate the movement of persons between Jakarta and Bandung and increase the number of tourists.

"We expect the continuous strengthening of our cooperation in this field and for more similar projects to be developed on other islands," he said.

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