China will contribute wisdom, solution and unity as its diplomacy enters the “Asian moment” in the second half of 2022

China ASEAN Photo: VCG

A series of key regional or global events in Asian countries are planned from this month through the end of the year, ushering in an Asian moment for their role in global governance with the upcoming Lancang-Mekong Regional Meeting in Myanmar and China and the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Indonesia next week, and the G20 summit in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Thailand in November.

Experts said China will stand ready to send strong signals of confidence to its key neighbors and partners in the region to further advance economic recovery and ensure unity, peace and security for Asia in a world facing turmoil and challenges is.

China also has its own major political event in the second half of this year, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will convene its 20th National Congress to draft China’s next-stage development plan, which analysts believe will be the top Chinese leader is , at the G20 summit and APEC meeting later this year, will also present China’s plan and proposals for the future to bring wisdom, solutions, hope and certainty not only to Asia but also to the world.

From July 3 to 14, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will chair the seventh Lancang-Mekong cooperation foreign ministers’ meeting in Myanmar and attend the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Indonesia, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced on Friday.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Wang and Myanmar’s Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin agreed to speed up the construction of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), implement the cross-border power grid agreement well, and guarantee the operation of China-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines the “CMEC plus” cooperation at an appropriate time and raise the level of bilateral trade and commercial cooperation.

The two officials also exchanged views on Lancang-Mekong cooperation and China-ASEAN cooperation.

China firmly supports ASEAN centrality in regional architecture and stands ready to work with ASEAN to guide East Asia cooperation in the right direction, Wang said.

According to Zhao, Wang will also make official visits to Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and will host the second meeting of the China-Indonesia High-Level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism.

In addition, Wang will chair the 14th meeting of the China-Vietnam bilateral cooperation steering committee and the sixth meeting of the China-Cambodia intergovernmental coordination committee in Nanning, Guangxi, the spokesman said.

Because of the traditional friendship and close ties of win-win cooperation, China often maintains high-level diplomatic exchanges and communications with members of ASEAN. In 2022, from the meeting of foreign ministers of China and Singapore in February, to the visit of foreign ministers from four ASEAN members (Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar) to China in late March and April, to the recent visit of Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe to Singapore and its participation in the Shangri-La Dialogue in June, China has always attached great importance to relations with ASEAN members.

Zhao said China and Southeast Asian countries are friendly neighbors. We are connected by mountains and rivers and share our future together. We are also important partners who share great common interests and strive for common development. At present, humanity’s pursuit of peace and development faces strong headwinds in the face of the combined impact of major changes and a pandemic, both of which have not been seen in a century, he added.

“In a world of turbulence and change, China and Southeast Asian nations have worked hand-in-hand to address the challenges of securing peace and stability in our region and making this region a highly dynamic and promising center for development,” Zhao noted Friday.

Asian moment

Asia, including China and ASEAN members, faces numerous challenges that require concerted efforts. Aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine crisis and US-led Western anti-Russia sanctions have profoundly disrupted global supply chains, market and economic order. The US is trying to increase its influence in the region by playing up conflicts and tensions as Washington wants to engage in great power competition against China for the region and has attempted to instigate a bloc-to-bloc confrontation in Asia by using its regional power harnesses allies, experts said.

Therefore, ASEAN, which prioritizes economic development, is now facing serious challenges and urgently needs certainty, confidence and protection for member economies. This will ensure China-ASEAN ties grow even closer as both parties share a consensus on development and multilateralism, and the region has strong confidence in China’s development and a clear understanding of China’s national strength, analysts said.

Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said the US will have no chance of interrupting ASEAN’s neutral and independent decision-making.

Spokesman Zhao said: “Through the visit, China hopes to deepen strategic communication with the four Southeast Asian countries, advocate for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, strive to create a peaceful, safe, prosperous, beautiful and friendly Building up at home, injecting impetus and promoting new peaks in bilateral relations, and a good start of the China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”

Analysts said the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting is for preparation and preliminary communication for November’s G20 summit in Bali. This year’s summit will draw global attention as it will be the first major gathering of world leaders since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. It is also the first major international event to which Western leaders, the leaders of Russia and Ukraine, and leaders of other non-Western major economies with a neutral stance will be invited.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday that “a key task of the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting is to prepare for leaders’ participation in the summit. By the end of 2022, the G20 and APEC meetings are scheduled to take place in Asia, and ASEAN will also hold its summit. China will also hold the 20th CPC National Congress. This will definitely draw the world’s attention to Asia, so it’s important that China make the most of the opportunity to showcase its plans and initiatives for global recovery and world peace and security.”

The Chinese foreign minister will also hold discussions and dialogues with ASEAN members on issues that share concerns of both sides. A key principle of China-ASEAN relations is the focus on economic development, another is the principle of non-interference, so China will not be directly involved in many sensitive issues, including the Myanmar issue. On global hotspots that share both sides’ concerns, such as the South China Sea and the Ukraine crisis, China and ASEAN must address matters through dialogue and coordination, Chen noted.

“So there will be at least two important signals that China is sending to ASEAN about the foreign minister’s visit. First, China’s policy towards ASEAN will continue to focus on economic cooperation to achieve joint development of the region, especially in dealing with the impact of the pandemic; second, to affirm China’s principle of peaceful development and affirm that it has no intention of solving problems and disputes with violence,” Chen said, adding that the US and some of its allies are trying to allay unfounded concerns and fears among ASEAN Members had disputes with China over sovereignty, Chen said.

In the Ukraine crisis in particular, both China and ASEAN do not want to see interventions by non-regional powers to turn regional problems into a global crisis; whether it would hurt the global economic recovery in economic or military terms, said a Beijing-based international relations expert, who asked not to be identified.

The expert noted that “China’s diplomacy will enter the Asian moment in the second half of this year. Asian countries will show the world that they have their own plan and wisdom to address their own development and security problems.”

Chen reiterated, saying that the reason why Indonesia, as the host of this year’s G20 summit and a key power in the region and ASEAN, invited Russian President Vladimir Putin under strong pressure from the West is because ASEAN and China share values upholding multilateralism and resolving conflicts and disputes through peaceful dialogue and the principle of non-interference.

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