ASEAN, China hold dialogue on maritime, COVID-19 response cooperation
MANILA, Philippines — Senior officials of Southeast Asian nations and China have discussed regional maritime and COVID-19 response collaboration, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Saturday.
The 26th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation (ACSOC) held a video conference for the first time on July 1 “to review progress in ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership and discuss its future direction,” according to DFA.
“The Senior Officials exchanged views on developments in the region including the collective aspiration to agree to an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that will contribute to regional peace, security and stability, and is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the agency’s statement reads.
“ASEAN and China discussed maritime cooperation initiatives to further build trust and confidence in the region,” it also states.
The meeting, DFA added, also tackled continued cooperation between countries to stop the spread of COVID-19 through “information exchange, sharing of best practices, capacity building of health personnel, and vaccine research production.“
Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West, director-general of ASEAN-Philippines and leader of the Philippine Temporary Senior Officials’ Meeting said the ASEAN-China Dialogue Partnership, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, will continue to maximize political security, economic and socio-cultural initiatives.
“We hope to maximize our engagements towards positive outcomes in our region. This important partnership has proven instrumental in collectively responding to and mitigating the effects of COVID-19,” West pointed out.
The Philippines, as country coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, co-chaired the July 1 online meeting, according to DFA.
West led the Philippine delegation during the discussion while Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong led the Chinese delegation.
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