ASEAN-China forum opens in Guangxi

By Zhang Li in Beihai | | Updated: 2023-06-28 16:09
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The 17th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction opens in Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, June 26, 2023. [Photo provided to]

The 17th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction kicked off in the coastal city of Beihai, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Monday.

Around 200 government officials from China and ASEAN countries, ASEAN diplomatic missions in China, representatives of international organizations and NGOs, experts, academicians and entrepreneurs have joined the four-day international event.

With its theme — "Deepening regional cooperation, promoting poverty reduction and rural development" — the forum aims to build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, advance the Global Development Initiative and implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with concerted efforts.

"China and ASEAN countries are linked by mountains and waters. They enjoy cultural proximity and a shared destiny. Poverty reduction and rural development are key areas of our exchange and cooperation," said Liu Huanxin, administrator of National Rural Revitalization Administration, at the opening ceremony.

Liu also noted that since 2005, China has invited more than 650 officials from ASEAN countries to China for training and seminars, promoting exchanges of experience and sharing of knowledge. Since 2017, the East Asia Poverty Reduction Demonstration Cooperation Technical Assistance Project has been implemented in six poor villages in three countries — Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Living conditions have improved for more than 2,800 households, enhancing their capacity for self-development and setting a model for poverty reduction that can be learned from and which is generally welcomed by local governments and people.

"At present, the global poverty reduction process is facing challenges, and the task of promoting development remains arduous. China is willing to work with the international community, including ASEAN countries, to uphold the concept of universal, balanced, coordinated and inclusive, win-win cooperation and common prosperity, and to join hands to take the cause of poverty reduction and rural development to new heights," Liu said.

Ekkaphab Phanthavong, deputy secretary-general of ASEAN for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, noted that ASEAN-China relations are among the most dynamic, substantive and mutually beneficial of partnerships.

"This forum has served as an important platform for our policymakers and experts to exchange views and share good practices. I hope we can further discuss and elaborate better strategies to address the deprivation and exclusion faced by women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups" Phanthavong said.

He also mentioned that ASEAN Leaders recently agreed to establish the ASEAN Villages Network, which will strengthen the collaboration and cooperation of villages to enable fast-track rural transformation.

In addition, the ASEAN-China Village Leaders Exchange Program will be held, with participants making field trips during the four-day event to explore Guangxi's poverty alleviation results, as well as China's practices in advancing rural development, construction and governance.

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