Backgrounder: Chronology of China-ASEAN Ties

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 6, 2016
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China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the dialogue relationship between the two sides on Wednesday. The following is a chronology of China-ASEAN relations since 1991.

China and ASEAN began talks in 1991, when then Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen was invited to the opening ceremony of the 24th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, marking the start of the formal contact between China and ASEAN.

In July 1996, The ASEAN Standing Committee elevated the status of China from consultative partnership to full dialogue partnership.

In December 1997, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin attended the first China-ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After the summit, the two sides issued the Joint Declaration of the People's Republic of China and ASEAN Summit, establishing guidelines for their relationship and the policy of a good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust oriented to the 21st century.

At the sixth China-ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in November 2002, leaders of the two sides signed the Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation, deciding to establish the China-ASEAN free trade area by 2010.

During the Seventh China-ASEAN Summit in October 2003, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and ASEAN leaders signed the Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. At the meeting, China formally submitted an application to ASEAN to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.

In November 2004, in a presentation to the Eighth China-ASEAN Summit in Laos, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made 10 proposals for further mutual cooperation. The two sides signed the Agreement on Trade in Goods of the Framework Agreement on China-ASEAN Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and the Agreement on Dispute Settlement Mechanism. These two agreements marked the beginning of the construction of a free trade area encompassing China and the ASEAN members.

Beginning from July 1, 2005, China and ASEAN countries started their tariff-reducing process when the Agreement on Trade in Goods became effective.

China and ASEAN countries signed the Agreement on Trade in Services of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area in the Philippines in January of 2007, laying the foundation for the China-ASEAN free trade area to be completed as scheduled.

In August 2009, China and ASEAN members signed the ASEAN-China Investment Agreement. The signing of the investment agreement completed the negotiation process of ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2010, the ASEAN-China FTA became the world's third largest free trade area with a combined population of 1.9 billion and a combined GDP close to 6 trillion U.S. dollars.

In September 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at the opening ceremony of the 10th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Nanning that China and ASEAN had the capabilities to create a "golden decade" in the past, and also have the power to create a "diamond decade" in the future.

In October 2013, during a visit to Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is willing to work with ASEAN countries to jointly build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and an even closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny, which has charted the course for the long-term development of the China-ASEAN relations.

In August 2014, ASEAN and China decided to upgrade the ACFTA to ensure that it would remain dynamic and commercially relevant.

The year 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the dialogue relationship between China and ASEAN. By the end of this year, the two sides are expected to conclude negotiations towards the upgrade of the ACFTA.

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