China / Politics

Senior Chinese, ASEAN officials vow to enhance maritime, security cooperation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-22 21:58

CHONBURI - Senior Chinese and ASEAN officials attending two back-to-back meetings that concluded here Tuesday have pledged to further strengthen China-ASEAN cooperation in a wide range of fields such as maritime search and rescue, security and trade.

Participating officials agreed to push forward the building of China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Partnership and make good use of the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund, Vice Foreign Minister of China Liu Zhenmin said at a press conference held after two days of closed meetings.

Liu and Thailand's Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs Sihasak Phuangketkeow co-chaired the 7th ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the 20th ASEAN- China Senior Officials' Consultation (20th ACSOC) in Pattaya of Chonburi Province.

Both meetings have proved to be fruitful, the two said.

Officials exchanged views on how to improve the efficiency of implementation of the DOC and expand the scope of maritime practical cooperation between relevant departments, Liu said.

China suggested setting up three technical committees respectively regarding maritime search and rescue, combating cross- border crimes, and maritime scientific research and environment protection, he said.

"These technical committees will facilitate the implementation of the DOC," he added.

Maybe within the year, a hotline could be set up for search and rescue at sea, which could be a tangible achievement in the process of implementing the DOC, Liu noted.

Chinese and ASEAN officials agreed to strengthen cooperation in defense and security and discuss the regularization of China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting, Liu said. "We are suggesting holding an informal defense ministers' meeting this year."

Moreover, the officials also reached consensus on enhancing cooperation in non-traditional security such as disaster reduction and relief, combating transnational crimes and maritime law enforcement, Liu said.

Thailand proposed hosting a Regional Symposium on Combating Transnational Crimes at Seas in mid-September this year, which will address challenges of maritime security and reflect ASEAN- China's efforts to promote a peaceful and stable environment in an evolving regional architecture, said a Thai Foreign Ministry statement released after the meetings.

The senior officials "reaffirmed the importance of the ASEAN- China relations as a pillar of regional peace and stability and committed to achieving better, closer and resilient ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership through building trust, confidence and mutual respect," the statement said.

The officials expressed their determination in continuing the efforts to achieve ASEAN-China trade target of 1 trillion dollars by 2020, it said, adding China's initiative to upgrade the ASEAN China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is an important contributor to such an endeavor.

The officials agreed to maintain communication to ensure an early launch of negotiation on an upgraded ACFTA, Liu said.

The outcomes of these two meetings serve as groundwork to ensure the success of the upcoming ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference Session with China, to be held in August and the 17th ASEAN-China Summit, to be held in November this year, Sihasak said.

Thailand will host the 12th Joint Working Group on DOC back-to- back with the 8th SOM on DOC in October this year to carry forward the momentum of ASEAN-China cooperation, he said.

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