China and ASEAN countries will continue to expand and deepen cooperation because it benefits both sides, a senior Chinese official said Wednesday in Jakarta.
Wang Zhongwei, vice minister of China's State Council Information Office, speaks at a forum commemorating the 20th anniversary of relations between China and ASEAN in Jakarta on July 6, 2011. [Zhang Ming'ai/China.org.cn]
"There is no conflict of fundamental interests or obstacles between China and ASEAN," Wang Zhongwei, vice minister of the State Council Information Office, said in an interview with China.org.cn. He made the remarks while participating in a forum commemorating the 20th anniversary of relations between China and ASEAN.
If both sides take a pragmatic attitude toward cooperation, bilateral ties will be taken to an even higher level, Wang added.
China and ASEAN countries share many commonalities, Wang said. Both China and ASEAN countries now face rare development opportunities. They are all Asian countries with similar culture, experience and common feelings and have forged an "Asian spirit" through their years of development.
Since the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, China and ASEAN have provided more development opportunities for one another, Wang said. China's development in coming years will bring opportunities for ASEAN countries to expand their overseas markets.
"China-ASEAN cooperation is likely to become an important driving force for economic growth in Asia," Wang predicted.
In a speech delivered at the forum, Chinese ambassador to Indonesia Zhang Qiyue also hailed the China-ASEAN relationship over the past 20 years. It has been a relationship "characterized by peace and development, friendship and cooperation," she said.
"The China-ASEAN relationship has developed from one of comprehensive dialogue partners, to one of good neighbors and friendly partners based on mutual trust and finally to today's strategic partnership," Zhang said.
China firmly supports the central role of ASEAN in East Asian cooperation, Zhang added.
"We will continue to render out support, help narrow the gaps between ASEAN nations and further deepen practical cooperation in trade, investment, and connectivity so as to realize mutually beneficial cooperation, joint development and lasting friendship," Zhang said.
She expressed her hope that China-ASEAN ties will continue to make further progress this year and that bilateral cooperation will enter a new chapter.
Djauhari Oratmangun, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's director general for ASEAN cooperation, agreed ASEAN-China relations will continue improve in years to come.