China hosts foreign ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries with message for Quad

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a statement the China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting, in the city of Chongqing, would mark the 30-year anniversary of relations and also “focus on combating COVID-19, promoting economic recovery, [and] better dovetail[ing] strategic plans.” A vaccine passport connecting China and ASEAN countries is also being discussed.

 

China is hosting foreign ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries on Monday and Tuesday, with Beijing pushing for closer economic cooperation and aligning COVID-19 recovery efforts even as it looks to push back against the recent regional outreach of the Quad grouping.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold bilateral meetings with all the visiting ministers, and also chair a meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Deepening economic cooperation, particularly following the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, would be China’s focus, analysts in Beijing said, even as it grapples with disputes over the South China Sea. Recently, China and the Philippines have clashed over the presence of Chinese vessels near a disputed reef, while Malaysia alleged the intrusion of 16 Chinese aircraft into its airspace.

 

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