Over the past 20 years, China and ASEAN have, in the spirit of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, expanded mutually beneficial cooperation on all fronts, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on July 17, adding that China and ASEAN have pursued the right path of long-standing good-neighborliness and friendship and common development and prosperity.
The ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting held on July 13 adopted the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Commemorating and Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of China's Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
In response to a related query, spokesperson Mao Ning told a daily news briefing that in 2003, leaders of China and ASEAN countries jointly witnessed China's accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia -- the first country to do so, which marked a new phase of relations between China and ASEAN.
"Being the first to join the Treaty is consistent with China's diplomatic tradition of treating all countries, big or small, as equals, and China's firm support for the growth of ASEAN, as well as our long-standing policy of cultivating friendly ties with neighboring countries," Mao said.
The Treaty is rooted in Asia's history and culture. It embodies the Asian way of consensus-building, non-interference in others' internal affairs, and accommodation of each party's comfort level, and provides important guidelines for the relations between countries in the region, she noted.
Mao said over the past 20 years, China and ASEAN have expanded mutually beneficial cooperation on all fronts. "We have pursued the right path of long-standing good-neighborliness and friendship and common development and prosperity. This has also galvanized the accession of other countries to the Treaty."
ASEAN's dialogue partners have kept increasing and the group has been gaining in international stature and influence. That has helped East Asia become the fastest-growing economy in the world with fast-rising living standards, Mao added.
In the face of complex and fluid dynamics in the region and beyond, the adoption of the Joint Statement helps promote the purposes and principles of the Treaty and carry forward the Asian way and wisdom and contributes to practicing true multilateralism and upholding the rules and order in the region, Mao said.