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ASEAN chief lauds cooperation with China

By Zhang Li (

Updated: 2023-09-18

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Kao Kim Hourn, secretary-general of ASEAN, is interviewed during the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Friday. [Photo by Zhang Li/Provided to]

Although the world has changed dramatically in the past decades, members of ASEAN and China managed to keep working together closely.

That's an important precedent, Kao Kim Hourn, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said on Friday during the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The expo aims to promote trade and investment between China and ASEAN countries. It will run until Tuesday.

"The China-ASEAN Expo has been a very important mechanism for actively promoting trade, investment, tourism and business matching between ASEAN and China for two decades," Kao said.

He said the event was a major achievement in terms of ongoing cooperation.

"China has been able to assist ASEAN greatly — particularly in the fight against COVID-19, but also in the speed of recovery. China has also been contributing to the infrastructure development of ASEAN member states," he said.

Kao said he believes that in the area of peace and security, both sides should continue working together to ensure the region remains stable, secure and peaceful.

"We're happy to hear that China is willing to move ahead, being the first nuclear weapons state to accede to the protocol of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone treaty. This is something that our member states would like to move forward to ensure a completely nuclear-free Southeast Asia — completely free of nuclear weapons but also free of other weapons of mass destruction as well," Kao said.

China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years, and both sides have been each other's largest trade partner for three straight years.

"We see that China is a strong supporter of ASEAN, and we will continue to work together," he said.