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Resources for China-ASEAN relations.

As a research institute based in Singapore, the EAI monitors developments in relations and interactions between China and the individual countries of Southeast Asia as well as the ASEAN grouping as a whole. This material is presented in the form of: (1) a chronology of events, and (2) important documents.

--the Editors




Beijing hosts a seminar on the free trade agreement between China and ASEAN. (The China-ASEAN Dialogue Relationship was set up 15 years ago.)

The theme of the meeting is "China and ASEAN: New Opportunities for Co-operation". Ambassadors and business representatives from ASEAN and high-level officials from China meet with entrepreneurs from across the region.

Xu Ningning, Director of the China-ASEAN Business Council said, "Bilateral trade is fuelled by the booming economic development of both sides. It's propelled by concrete actions, and promoted by good political ties. The establishment of a free trade area, which is going to be completed in 2010, will drive the co-operation one step forward."

The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, or FTA, is a huge market, with 1.85 billion consumers and a combined gross domestic product of almost two and a half trillion US dollars. A study by the ASEAN secretariat estimates the FTA will raise ASEAN exports to China by 48 per cent and China's exports to ASEAN by 55 per cent. China is the bloc's third largest trading partner, and ASEAN, China's fifth largest. Observers believe there is considerable room for continued cooperation.


Indonesian Agriculture Ministry Director-general of Horticulture, Achmad Dimyati, is reported as saying "The [fruit] exports were carried out through Thailand because all fruit from Thailand can enter China." Most Indonesian fruit exports to China have been passing through third countries such as Thailand and Hong Kong because the only Indonesian fruits on China's harmonised-system tariff lists are mangosteens, bananas and longans.

He made the remarks after meeting the trade minister to discuss barriers to the fruit trade with China. Indonesia's fruit exports to China are small, but because most of them go through third countries, Indonesia's interests are affected, he said.

Some time ago Indonesian exporters complained about the refusal by China's customs of Indonesian papayas and mangoes on the grounds that only mangosteens, bananas and longans were allowed to enter the country.

Under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, all Indonesian fruits are duty-free commodities. "Therefore it is clear that there should be no barrier to Indonesian fruit, but in practice we are allowed to export only the three kinds of fruit because other fruits are not included in the harmonised system," the director-general said.

He suggested that if a particular export was not included in China's harmonised system, it should be put in some other category and be liable to import duties under the harmonised system for that category.


Mr. Zhang Jiuhuan, Ambassador of China to Thailand calls on Mr. Nitya Pibulsonggram, Foreign Minister, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of his Appointment as Foreign Minister.

Ambassador Zhang reaffirms that China regards the political change in Thailand on 19 September 2006 as part of its internal affairs. He says the Chinese Government is ready to continue to work together with the Thai Government to further promote Sino-Thai relations, and that existing cooperation projects between the two countries will continue.


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong attends a Commemorative Summit, celebrating 15 years of ASEAN-China relations in Nanning, Gaungxi (see below). He meets Premier Wen Jiabao and attends the Third China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

But before the official visit to Nanning, he makes a working visit to Guangzhou and Chengdu to update himself on the developments in these provinces and meet provincial leaders in Guangdong, Sichuan and Guangxi.


Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the Summit in Nanning, asks China to continue playing an active role in efforts to solve the Korean Peninsula problem by reviving the stalled "six-party talks".

"President Yudhoyono respects China's active and constructive role in dealing with the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and expressed hope China will continue to play a role by reactivating the Six Party Talks with the attendance of North Korea."

The Yudhoyono-Wen Jianbao meeting proceeded in a constructive way with the two leaders discussing bilateral and regional issues related to trade, energy, investment, tourism, defense and maritime cooperation.

Yudhoyono and Wen reiterated their commitment to increase the two countries' trade volume to USD30 billion in 2010. The president noted that only 80,000 Chinese tourists visited Indonesia whereas 350,000 came to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Yudhoyono welcomed the Chinese Government's desire to establish defence cooperation and hold military exercises with Indonesia, which would be managed by the relevant ministers.

Wen Jiabao stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries in the United Nations following Indonesia's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2007-9 period.


The third China-ASEAN Summit and Expo, an annual event aimed at boosting economic ties between China and ASEAN countries, opens in Nanning. This is the first time for leaders of China and the ten ASEAN member countries to meet in China.

The Summit, celebrating 15 years of ASEAN-China ties, issued a joint statement outlining the achievements of the two sides which had set into motion the building of the world's largest free trade area with a market of 1.7 billion consumers by 2010. The statement also summarised the future direction of China-ASEAN cooperation in politics, security, economic, social and cultural, and international and regional issues.

The Expo is jointly sponsored by China's Ministry of Commerce, the trade and economic authorities of ten ASEAN members and the ASEAN Secretariat, with the participation of about 2,100 companies.

The past 15 years have witnessed enhanced mutual trust and expanded economic and trade exchange between China and ASEAN, and China's rapid economic development will create more opportunities for bilateral cooperation.



At the Commemorative Summit in Nanning, Guangxi, celebrating 15 years of ASEAN-China relations, the leaders affirm police cooperation in the fight against transnational crimes between China and the ASEAN member states.

"We are committed to maintaining high-level visits; strengthening cooperation and information sharing in non-traditional security issues; promoting cooperation on criminal justice and law enforcement, including in anti-corruption efforts; encouraging exchange of defence/security officials; and working together in ensuring maritime security in the region," says a joint statement inked by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders of the ASEAN countries.

With China and ASEAN seeing an increasing flow of trade and investment, cross-border crimes are becoming tougher to deal with.

A report released by the ASEAN-China Eminent Persons Group said ASEAN and China should strengthen cooperation on transnational issues such as maritime security, illegal trafficking, terrorism, transnational crimes and disaster relief and management.


Philippines President Arroyo makes a five-day, five-city trip to Xiamen, Jinjiang, Nanchang, Guilin and Nanning.

As chair of ASEAN this year, both the President and Foreign Secretary Romulo were present for the Summit meeting. The issues addressed were to be taken up again at the ASEAN Summit in Cebu in December.

The Philippines President sought increased trade, investment and tourism between China and the Philippines. She called for further joint exploration of the South China sea where, rather than fight over territory, the Philippines, China and Vietnam, who all have claims to the area, already have cooperation in seismic research.


Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and president of the state, meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi.

Wang Gang, alternate member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, member of the Secretariat of the Committee, and Director of the General Office of the Committee, and other accompanying personnel attended the meeting.



The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the country's largest business organisation hosts this year's ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Cebu City.

This premier event, now in its 4th year, is spearheaded by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council. It brings together business and industry leaders and key government officials in ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, India and the United States in a 3-day exchange of views on the ASEAN economic integration initiative and global trends in trade and business development. It is held alongside the ASEAN Summit, which is the annual meeting of the ASEAN Heads of States/Governments.


Chinese and Southeast Asian experts and scholars gather in Singapore for a commemorative symposium to mark the 15th anniversary of their dialogue relations. The one-day symposium themed "ASEAN-China Relations: Harmony and Development", highlights China's development as an opportunity rather than a threat to the region.

"The ASEAN and China are playing the supporting and complementary role in each other's socioeconomic development and in maintaining peace and stability in the region," said ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong.

He believed that both sides could tap on the complementarities for mutual gains. Cooperation between the ASEAN and China has developed in breadth and depth, covering various areas of collaboration, in political and security, economics and trade, socio-culture and people-to-people interaction, he said. Especially in economic cooperation, total trade between the ASEAN and China grew by 27 per cent from USD 89 billion in 2004 to USD 113 billion in 2005.

The contribution of total ASEAN-China trade to the total ASEAN trade with the world also increased from 8.3 per cent to 9.3 per cent over the same period, according to the ASEAN's statistics.


Nearly 100 scholars and researchers from China and ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, gather at a seminar in the northern port city of Hai Phong. Entitled "Development of Two Corridors: One Economic Belt in the ASEAN-China Cooperation Framework", it is jointly organised by the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Hai Phong People's Committee to mark the 15th anniversaries of the normalisation of Vietnam-China ties and the establishment of ASEAN-China dialogue relations.

Participants put forth roadmaps and steps for the effective implementation of the Kunming-Lao, Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong and Nanning-Lang Son-Hanoi-Hai Phong corridors and the Tonkin Gulf economic belt.



The 10th Summit between China and ASEAN opens in Cebu. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders of the 10 ASEAN member countries attend.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers a speech entitled, "Working Together to Open a New Chapter in China-ASEAN Relations." He says that China will host a China-ASEAN peace-keeping workshop in the second half this year, in order to further promote defense cooperation and enhance mutual understanding and confidence among the militaries of China and ASEAN countries.

In line with the consensus reached by leaders at the Commemorative Summit Marking the 15th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations held in Nanning last October, Wen puts forward a batch of specific proposals at the 10th China-ASEAN Summit so as to further consolidate

and enhance the bilateral strategic partnership for peace and prosperity.

The two sides sign a series of cooperative documents including The Agreement on Trade in Services of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.

ASEAN now groups Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The "10+1" meeting is a mechanism to strengthen dialogue and communication, discuss cooperation, and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

China and ASEAN sign a Trade in Services Agreement (TIS Agreement) following the 10th China-ASEAN Summit.

The Agreement will enter into force in July 2007. It aims to expand trade in services in the region. Under the agreement, services and service suppliers/ providers in the region will enjoy improved market access and national treatment in sectors/sub sectors where commitments have been made. "The TIS Agreement provides for liberalisation on substantial coverage of sectors/ subsectors especially in more than 60 additional subsectors committed by ASEAN Member Countries which are parties to the GATT/WTO," said a statement issued to the press.



At a reception held by the China-ASEAN Association in Beijing, Gu Xiulian, chairwoman of the China-ASEAN Association says that the relations between China and ASEAN are at the "best period" in history.

"These activities have far-reaching effects and have greatly promoted bilateral relations," said Gu, also vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China.

This chronology of events in ASEAN-China relations was sourced mainly from the ASEAN Secretariat web <>; The Straits Times; Bangkok Post; Bernama (Barisan National News Agency); Comparative Connections: An E-Journal on East Asian Bilateral Relations <>; Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs <>; Far East Economic Review; Peoples' Daily; South China Morning Post; Manila Standard; BBC, The Jakarta Post; Borneo Bulletin; Associate Press Newswire and Xinhuanet <>.


30 Oct. 2006

Speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Summit Marking the 15th Anniversary of the Establishment of China-ASEAN Dialogue, held in Nanning, Guangxi.


8 Dec. 2006

Speech by ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Ong Keng Yong at a Commemorative Symposium to mark the 15th Anniversary of China's Dialogue with ASEAN, organised by the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore.


14 Jan. 2007

Speech by Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China at the 10th ASEAN-China Summit held in Cebu.


26-28 Feb. 2007

Remarks by ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Ong Keng Yong at the Opening Ceremony of the Regional Workshop on "Bridging Development Gaps in ASEAN: Key Challenges Towards the Realisation of ASEAN Community", Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.


6-7 Mar. 2007

Remarks by ASEAN Secretary General H.E. Ong Keng Yong at the Workshop on Investment/Project Finance Opportunities in CLVM, Phnom Penh.


Teng Siow Song ( is a Research Officer at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. He has an MEcon from the University of Sydney. His main research interests include China-Taiwan Relations, ASEAN-China trade, East Asian politics and contemporary East Asian issues.
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Title Annotation:Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Author:Teng, Siow song
Publication:China: An International Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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