PHNOM PENH, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Monday highlighted the key achievements in the China-ASEAN relations over the past 30 years, saying that the close ties between the two sides are paramount to ensuring peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region and the world.
The ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations was held via video link Monday morning.
Namhong said over the past three decades, China and ASEAN had enjoyed fruitful cooperation in various sectors. Thanks to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement and the annual China-ASEAN Expo, China and ASEAN have become the largest trading partners to each other.
Namhong said despite COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN-China trade volume exceeded 410 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of 2021, up 38.2 percent year on year.
Besides trade and investment, China has also helped ASEAN in the education sector by providing many scholarships to students in ASEAN member states every year.
Speaking of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) initiated by China in 2013, Namhong said the BRI has created a win-win infrastructure cooperation between China and countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
The deputy prime minister said the BRI has provided enormous support to infrastructure projects such as roads, expressways, railroads, airports, and seaports, among others in ASEAN countries. These projects are essential to the economic growth in ASEAN.
Besides, he said China has assisted five ASEAN countries along the Mekong River under the framework of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, providing them loans and grants to support their socio-economic development and poverty reduction.
Sharing his view on China's support for ASEAN's fight against COVID-19, Namhong said that China has so far provided ASEAN member states with more than 360 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. With China's vaccine supply, Cambodia has so far vaccinated 88 percent of its 16-million population, which is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
Meanwhile, Namhong recalled that ASEAN and China had collaborated to keep peace, security and stability in the region by signing the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea in 2002, during which Cambodia was the ASEAN chair for the first time.
Currently, ASEAN and China are proceeding activities to draft the Code of Conduct to peacefully manage security and stability among concerned parties in South China Sea.