PHNOM PENH, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Close relations between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have significantly contributed to maintaining peace, stability and sustainable development in the region, experts in Cambodia said on Wednesday.
They made the remarks during an international conference on China's role in the 21st century and its relations with ASEAN, which was organized in a hybrid format by International Relations Institute of Cambodia (IRIC), a think tank under the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC).
"Close China-ASEAN cooperation has significantly contributed to upholding the rights and interests of developing countries, increasing mutual understanding and trust, and promoting peace and stability in the region," IRIC's director-general Kin Phea said.
"Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN is still China's largest trading partner and has kept the momentum of growth," he said.
RAC President Sok Touch said China and ASEAN have enjoyed good cooperation in regional and international organizations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Asia-Europe Meeting and the United Nations.
He said the China-ASEAN relationship is indispensable and both sides need to further deepen it for a more prosperous region.
Sok Touch stressed China's commitment to peace, development and win-win cooperation, and to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
"China has never forced other countries to follow its political system, nor sought hegemony," he said. "China is always committed to the concept of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness."
China has given a helping hand to other countries and played a crucial role in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and recover economy, he said, adding that China has also made great contribution to the promotion of a multi-polar world order.
Chang Jian, minister counselor at the Chinese embassy in Cambodia, said that over the past three decades, China-ASEAN relations have gone through an extraordinary journey.
Chang added, "Thirty years after China and the ASEAN forged dialogue relations, we are each other's largest trading partner and comprehensive strategic partner. Sixty percent of all vaccines received by ASEAN countries come from China, not as impressive as the figure here in Cambodia, but itself already significant enough."
Chang said he believes the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), when coming into force at the beginning of 2022, will prompt more opportunities to promote the regional prosperity. Enditem