Leaders of China, South Korea and Japan Stress the Value of ASEAN

On September 6, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam participated in the ASEAN+3 (ASEAN Plus Three) Summit in Jakarta. The Summit was held between the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and their three partners – China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Japan.


According to VNA, the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened a summit with China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), and Japan on Wednesday in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta.

The partners expressed their strong commitment to ASEAN and emphasized the importance of extensive cooperation with the bloc in order to address global challenges.

They also expressed their commitment to fostering dialogue and collaboration, with the aim of creating an open, transparent, and inclusive region that upholds international law and places ASEAN at its core.

China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
At the 26th ASEAN-China Summit. Photo: ASEAN Secretariat

ASEAN-China Free Trade Area: Get Ready to Upgrade

During the 26th ASEAN-China Summit, it was announced that two-way trade between the two regions reached a historic milestone of USD 722 billion. This accomplishment solidifies China’s position as the ASEAN’s top trade partner for 14 consecutive years.

Lauding the progress in negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, they agreed to further enhance cooperation in the economy, trade, and investment. Additionally, they aim to expand collaboration in areas such as digital transformation, digital economy, climate change response, energy transition, and green, sustainable development.

The year 2024 was designated as the year of the ASEAN-China people’s exchange.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh emphasized the mutual relationship between ASEAN and China and conveyed his desire for them to establish a significant and all-encompassing strategic partnership, focused on fostering peace, cooperation, and development.

As leading trade partners, ASEAN and China should closely coordinate in order to transform the region into a center of growth. This would take advantage of their close geographical proximity, elevate the quality of economic, trade, and investment cooperation, enhance connectivity, and ensure the stability of production and supply chains.

During the discussion, the Prime Minister proposed that China consider expanding its market and increasing the quota for transit goods. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of accelerating the opening of China’s doors to agricultural and aquatic products, as well as fruits, from ASEAN countries through Vietnam.

Chinh expressed his optimism that the ASEAN-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will be fruitful in fostering a climate of peace, stability, and collaboration for the shared progress of the region.

According to the Prime Minister, ASEAN and China should play a crucial role in fostering trust, facilitating dialogue, and peacefully resolving conflicts in the region, such as the East Sea issue. This will contribute to the successful implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the development of an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) that adheres to the principles outlined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The summit approved the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Mutually Beneficial Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and another statement on enhancing agricultural cooperation.

Commemorating 35 Years of ASEAN-RoK Relations in 2024

During the 24th ASEAN-RoK Summit, Prime Minister Chinh emphasized the enhanced strategic partnership and comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN and Korea. He also commended the Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative (KASI) for its efforts in advancing this relationship.

The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to countries for their support of the ASEAN-RoK Day initiative scheduled for November in Vietnam.

China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
PM Pham Minh Chinh at the 24th ASEAN- RoK Summit. Photo: VNA

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of ASEAN-RoK relations in 2024, the Prime Minister has recommended that both parties collaborate to embark on a new venture, characterized by a broader vision and loftier objectives.

There is an emphasis on the necessity of achieving significant advancements in economic collaboration and facilitating trade and investment in a fair and enduring fashion.

The leader urged the Republic of Korea to expand its market access for agricultural, aquatic products, and seasonal fruits from ASEAN countries. Additionally, there is a need for support to ASEAN enterprises to actively participate in Korean businesses’ global supply chains.

He further proposed that both parties collaborate in digital transformation, biotechnology, high-tech electronics, semiconductors, clean energy, smart cities, high-tech agriculture, and the development of environmentally sustainable, value chain-oriented industrial production complexes.

The sides should enhance cultural exchanges and cooperation in the Mekong sub-region through the framework of the Mekong-RoK partnership.

Furthermore, it is crucial for all parties involved to work together and collaborate in order to strengthen their partnership. They should also take into account their shared interests and responsibilities in promoting peace, security, stability, and development within the region. This includes areas such as the East Sea and the Korean Peninsula, as emphasized by Chinh.

The President of the Republic of Korea (RoK), Yoon Suk Yeol, expressed appreciation for Vietnam’s noteworthy efforts as the coordinator for ASEAN-RoK relations in recent times.

The Korea-ASEAN Strategic Initiative (KASI) highlights the significance and backing of the Republic of Korea (RoK) towards ASEAN’s centrality and ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). The RoK encourages ASEAN countries to support the hosting of EXPO 2030 BUSAN, a platform that aims to address shared challenges and foster a brighter future for the region and the world.

The Republic of Korea (RoK) is the fifth-largest trade and investment partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The two-way trade volume between the RoK and ASEAN amounted to USD 222.8 billion last year. Additionally, the RoK’s total foreign direct investment in ASEAN reached USD 12.7 billion.

The two sides have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in addressing emerging non-traditional security challenges, promoting trade, supporting businesses and startups, and increasing collaboration in culture, education, and tourism. Furthermore, they are keen to expand cooperation in the fields of science and technology, innovation, digital transformation, infrastructure, clean energy, smart cities, sustainable urbanization, and future industries.

The leaders have issued a Joint Statement on Cooperation on the AOIP.

China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
At the 26th ASEAN-Japan Summit. Photo: ASEAN Secretariat

Japan and ASEAN Establish Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

During the 26th ASEAN-Japan Summit, leaders unanimously approved a joint statement that officially establishes the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. They firmly pledged to closely coordinate and collaborate on the upcoming ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit, scheduled to be held in Tokyo this December.

The cooperation between ASEAN and Japan has achieved favorable outcomes in recent years. Japan stands as ASEAN’s fourth largest trading partner and second largest investment partner. In 2019, the two-way trade between ASEAN and Japan reached a value of USD 268.5 billion, witnessing an annual growth rate of 11.2%. Moreover, the total Japanese investment in ASEAN recorded USD 26.7 billion, showing an increase of 27.7% compared to the previous year.

ASEAN expressed gratitude for Japan’s generous contribution of an additional USD 100 million to the ASEAN-Japan Integration Fund (JAIF) in order to support the establishment and operation of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).

The parties have agreed to actively carry out the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

Furthermore, both entities have reached an agreement to enhance collaboration in various areas, including but not limited to terrorism and transnational crime prevention, maritime security, natural disaster management, as well as promoting people-to-people exchange, innovation, digital transformation, development of electric vehicle ecosystem, energy sector, climate change response, clean energy transformation, and green growth.

Prime Minister Chinh spoke at the summit and made a commitment on behalf of Vietnam. He pledged that Vietnam, as an active member of ASEAN and an extensive strategic partner of Japan, will exert every effort to contribute to the enhancement of ASEAN – Japan relations.

To achieve this objective, he recommended strengthening trade and investment collaboration between the two parties and ensuring the continuity of the supply chain. Additionally, he emphasized the need to facilitate the entry of ASEAN countries’ products into the Japanese market and offer support to regional enterprises to enhance their involvement in both Japanese and global supply chains.

The Prime Minister expressed anticipation that Japanese strategic investors would collaborate with ASEAN in order to advance new and promising domains of cooperation, including but not limited to the green economy, digital economy, and circular economy.

At the conclusion of the summit, the leaders of ASEAN and Japan have issued a Joint Statement on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) meets the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, in Jakarta on September 6. Photo: VNA

During the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Jakarta, Indonesia on September 6, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, Chinese Premier Li Qiang, President of the Republic of Korea Yoon Suk Yeol, and the Sultan of Brunei convened.

The leaders have reached an agreement to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels and to make substantial efforts in promoting bilateral trade, investment, and educational cooperation.

During their meeting with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, Prime Minister Chinh proposed that both countries collaborate on signing an intergovernmental agreement regarding rice trading. This initiative aims to contribute to global food security, while also fostering cooperation in developing Vietnam’s Halal food industry for export to Brunei.

Vietnam and Brunei should strive to enhance collaboration and exchange valuable experience in the development of the petrochemical industry. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of the Bruneian side presenting scholarships to Vietnamese students and expanding training cooperation in various fields such as technology, green economy, and digital transformation, among others.

For further advancement of the Vietnam-Brunei Comprehensive Partnership, Prime Minister Chinh emphasized the need to bolster defense-security cooperation and facilitate direct exchanges between the armed forces of both nations.

China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (third from left) meets with his Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio in Jakarta, Indonesia, on September 6. Photo: VNA

To strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties, Chinh emphasized the importance of Japan’s cooperation in successfully executing economic and ODA cooperation projects. He also sought assistance from Japan in the development of the North-South high-speed railway, as well as urban railways in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Prime Minister of Vietnam also expressed gratitude and recommended that the Japanese Government continue to offer favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community to reside, pursue education, and engage in employment in the Northeast Asian country. This will enable them to contribute even more to the local socio-economic development.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and the Chinese Premier shared their contentment with the notable progress in the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. They also reached an agreement to strengthen regular interactions at all levels to foster more efficient, substantial, and profound collaboration between the two nations.

China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the occasion of the 43rd ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Jakarta Photo: VNA

Chinh stressed that Vietnam views its relationship with China as a strategic choice and a top priority. He emphasized that Vietnamese ministries and agencies are closely collaborating with their Chinese counterparts to implement important shared agreements made by leaders of both countries, including increasing high-level exchanges and communication in the coming months.

  • Li affirmed the commitment and preparedness to maintain regular and productive high-level exchanges. These exchanges aim to deepen discussions and deliberations on issues that are of shared concerns and significance.
  • Meanwhile, Chinh and the Republic of Korea’s President Yoon have expressed their dedication to maintaining close coordination in order to further develop their bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership in a deeper and more comprehensive manner. This commitment aims to make a positive contribution to peace, stability, and development in both the region and the world.

    China, RoK, Japan Affirm The Importance They Attach to ASEAN
    Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Yoon Suk Yeol. Photo: VNA

    President Yoon acknowledged Vietnam’s vital role as a key partner in the RoK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. He expressed appreciation for the successful collaboration between both countries in implementing outcomes from his visit to Vietnam, notably the action plan for the comprehensive strategic partnership’s deployment.

    The President expressed his gratitude to the Vietnamese Government for their support and favorable conditions extended to South Korean enterprises investing and engaging in business activities in Vietnam.

    Hannah Nguyen