World / China-ASEAN meetings

Reaching a new milestone for the ASEAN path

( Updated: 2015-11-24 00:23

The 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia on November 21-22, which can be considered a landmark meeting in the history of ASEAN.

The most prominent achievements were the signing of the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together by leaders of the ten countries.

The significance is: ASEAN, covering a population of over 600 million, has achieved its initial results in regional integration, determining the direction of development for the next ten years, and starting a new journey.

Since its founding in 1967, ASEAN has advocated for regional peace, stability, cooperation and development.

ASEAN has evolved from a loose organization with limited regional influence to a community widely-recognized by international society that plays an instrumental role in regional peace, stability and prosperity. 48 years of unremitting efforts reflect profound changes in the regional situation.

Accordingly, the ASEAN Community is scheduled to be declared on December 31 this year, marking a major milestone. Featuring political security, economy and culture as its pillars, the ASEAN Community would be a long-lasting process moving ahead.

The newly-signed declarations by ASEAN leaders reflect the continuity of the building process of the ASEAN Community, along with demonstrating the leaders’ commitment to consolidate ASEAN integration in the next 10 years.

ASEAN’s vigorous expansion of its regional integration in depth and breadth would achieve much progress to enhance the status of ASEAN in the region and the world.

Today's success will be the basis for tomorrow. The ASEAN Community built in 2015 is the fruit of cooperation and development over the past half century. Yet, it also signifies a new starting point for ASEAN. This is an ongoing and long-term process, facing new opportunities and challenges.

Leaders from ASEAN member countries, include Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and other leaders from dialogue countries and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who witnessed the signing ceremony of the two declarations. All major members support the ASEAN community.

Another important achievement is the joint statement on the regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP), signifying that "substantial progress" was made.

Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member countries, as well as China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand attended the launching ceremony.

When concluded, RCEP is expected to deliver tangible benefits to businesses through potential upgrades in market access, trade facilitation, regulatory reform and more trade-facilitative rules of origin.

Enhanced efforts were called for to conclude RCEP talks next year at the ongoing 27th ASEAN leaders' summit.

Launched in November 2012, RCEP talks had already completed 10 rounds of negotiations in addition to four ministerial-level meetings, aimed at reaching a free trade agreement, which is modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial.

RCEP covers about half of the world’s population, with GDP (gross domestic product), trade volume and foreign direct investment (FDI) accounting for around one third of the world. It is the largest free trade agreement negotiations in Asia.

The ASEAN cooperation framework stands at the center of East Asia cooperation that plays a leading role to promote East Asian cooperation. The ASEAN Community would inspire positive energy for all of East Asia.

By Ling Dequan, Researcher, Center for World Affairs Studies, Xinhua News Agency

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