China, ASEAN relations of crucial significance to Asia

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The friendly and cooperative relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) over the years have not only benefited people from both sides but also had crucial significance to maintaining and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in Asia as a whole, visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said in Singapore on Monday.

China-ASEAN relations have been elevated through several steps since the dialogue process was launched in the 1990s, and this year is crucial for China-ASEAN relations as the two sides build on past achievements and plan for the future, Xi addressed 400 business representatives from Singapore and China at a reception marking the 20th anniversary of China-Singapore diplomatic relations.

"We have successfully completed the first five-year Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and started work on the second Plan of Action. I am convinced that all these will inject fresh impetus and dynamism into the relations between the two sides," he said.

China will continue to pursue good-neighborly relations, mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development with ASEAN based on mutual respect and equality, and will continue to support ASEAN's community-building efforts and ASEAN's leading role in regional cooperation, Xi added.

Xi said he's confident that China and ASEAN will see even greater progress in building connectivity and in deepening trade and investment cooperation as well as cooperation in finance, agriculture and sustainable development. People-to-people exchanges and friendship will also bear more fruits.

China and ASEAN established and launched into full operation the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area at the beginning of this year, making China the largest trading partner of ASEAN and ASEAN the fourth largest of China.

At the invitation of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Xi arrived in Singapore on Sunday for an three-day official visit.

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