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    Xi: China to grow closer to ASEAN

    President says ties to be an example of a community of shared destiny

    China is ready to bring greater closeness to the China-ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny to make it an example within the Asian Community of Shared Destiny, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

    Xi made the pledge when sending congratulations on the 50th anniversary of ASEAN’s founding in a message to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose country has ASEAN’s rotating chairmanship this year.

    As a sign of the booming ties between China and the 10-country group, China has been ASEAN’s largest trade partner for eight years.

    Their trade amounted to $452.2 billion last year, and currently about 2,700 flights connect China and the 10 countries in every week.

    Xi said that since their dialogue partnership was built in 1991, China and ASEAN have stayed true to cooperation and development, their political mutual trust has deepened and their pragmatic cooperation has seen fruitful outcomes.

    “China-ASEAN ties have become one of the most vigorous and enriched dialogue partnerships of ASEAN,” Xi added.

    He noted that ASEAN has played an important role in securing regional peace and stability since its founding half a century ago, and it has become a force that represents the world’s developing multipolar nature.

    China expects greater development of the ASEAN community, which will contribute more to regional peace, stability and prosperity and better benefit the people of its member countries, Xi said.

    As next year marks the 15th anniversary of China and ASEAN establishing their strategic partnership, Xi said China would like to take the year as an opportunity to appreciate all that has been accomplished and look at what can be done over the long run.

    In Manila on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the grand celebration of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary along with his counterparts from ASEAN and other nations.

    Duterte said, “We seek to engage with our neighbors positively in dialogue partnerships that continue to grow.”

    Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters on Tuesday that “China plays a very positive role” in the region.

    “China has shown economic strength… in the last decades, its economy has also fueled our growth in ASEAN with tourism from China, manufacturing and infrastructure projects,” he said.

    In regard to the South China Sea situation, Cayetano said, “All the positive sides China has given to the relationship with ASEAN will not be disturbed” because of disputes there.

    “We will not allow this to disturb our good relationships,” he said.

    Wang said on Monday night that with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized, and pragmatic cooperation has unfolded.

    zhangyunbi@chinadaily.com.cn