JAKARTA - Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi on Wednesday stressed the strategic independence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
They made the remarks at a joint press conference after co-hosting the fourth meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation between China and Indonesia in Jakarta.
Qin said China has always taken ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, pledging full support to Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship to build an ASEAN growth center and promote regional post-COVID-19 recovery
Noting Indonesia is firmly committed to safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity, Retno said ASEAN should neither become a proxy of any external force nor be embroiled in the competition among major countries.
She said Indonesia will fulfill its duty as it holds the rotating ASEAN chairmanship, adding that the regional bloc will continue to strengthen cooperation with China, and leverage its unique strengths and the role as an economic growth center to contribute to global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For his part, Qin said China has always taken ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, pledging full support to Indonesia's ASEAN chairmanship to build an ASEAN growth center and promote regional post-COVID-19 recovery.
There is no place for a new Cold War or major countries' competition in the Asia-Pacific region, and regional countries should not be forced to take sides, he said.
He believes that ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, will make their independent judgments and choices based on the fundamental interests of regional peace, stability and development.
China supports a strategically independent, united and strong ASEAN, upholds its centrality and inclusive regional architecture, and opposes bloc politics and camp confrontation, Qin said.
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