China reiterates support to Philippines’ ASEAN chairmanship

BEIJING-- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated on Wednesday China's commitment to support the Philippines as rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) 2017.

"China will support the Philippines in fulfilling his responsibility as the ASEAN chair and we will help ASEAN build its community," Wang said in a press conference at the sidelines of the 5th Session of the 12th National People's Congress here.

Wang said China's support is important considering last year marked the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relation and 2017 as 50th founding anniversary of the ASEAN.

"The silver and the golden anniversary are especially auspicious for regional cooperation and we must seize the opportunities," Wang said.

He said China will work with ASEAN "to see greater future benefit, intensify cooperation on connectivity and production capacity."

Wang said China will make sure that the nearly two billion people of China and ASEAN countries will benefit in the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA).

Wang said China and ASEAN countries will work hard to meet 30 million travel target by 2020.

"We would like to work with ASEAN to strengthen our bound of friendship, make a success of the China-ASEAN tourism year and to make the people to people exchange a new pillow of China-ASEAN relation," the Chinese Foreign Ministers said.

The ASEAN is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Aside from China, other ASEAN Plus Three dialogue partners include Japan and South Korea.

As chair of the ASEAN this year, the Philippines will host the 30th and 31st ASEAN Summits as well as more than 100 meetings and activities to be held throughout the country.

The Philippines will also host the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Relating Meetings coinciding with ASEAN's 50th anniversary celebration, and the ASEAN Plus Three and East Asia Summit meetings.

In an effort to promote ASEAN down to the grassroots level, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has been conducted ASEAN caravan in major cities of the country.

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar has said while 81 percent of ASEAN citizens have heard of the regional grouping, only 24 percent have a basic understanding of what it is and it's purpose.

The ASEAN 2017 theme is "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World."

Source: Philippines News Agency