by Xinhua writers Huang Yaoteng, Zheng Bofei
NANNING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Over the past two decades, the partnership between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has blossomed into a dynamic and fruitful one in the Asia-Pacific region. It serves as a shining example of endeavors to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Multilateral forums and events have been created to foster greater consensus on deepening bilateral cooperation and explore fresh opportunities.
The China-ASEAN Expo, which will take place from Sept. 16 to 19 in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has witnessed the extraordinary journey spanning the "Golden Decade" and the "Diamond Decade" since its inception in 2004. Now, it is ushering in a new decade of opportunities.
This year's expo is poised to consolidate a robust foundation for bolstering regional economic cooperation and further strengthening the China-ASEAN relationship.
In November 2021, China and ASEAN elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, marking a new milestone in the history of bilateral relations and injecting new impetus into the peace, stability, prosperity, and development of the region and the entire world.
Driven by the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), China and ASEAN are working together to sustain the smooth flow of trade, promote mutual investment, open up markets wider to each other, and foster deeply integrated industrial, supply and value chains.
The two sides have been each other's top trading partners for three years in a row. In the first half of this year, ASEAN remained China's biggest trading partner, with the bilateral trade in goods rising 5.4 percent year on year to 3.08 trillion yuan (about 428 billion U.S. dollars).
Amid a sluggish global economic recovery and an international market marked by heightened instability and uncertainty, China has displayed resilience. It stands out as one of the fastest-growing major economies and continues to function as a key engine of growth. The International Monetary Fund has recently projected China's economy expansion at 5.2 percent this year.
China remains firmly committed to high-level opening up and the establishment of a world-class, market-oriented business environment governed by a robust legal framework. China's high-quality development and modernization represent a great boon to ASEAN and the world at large.
Maintaining a strong and enduring relationship, China and ASEAN are good neighbors, good brothers and good partners. As key partners of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), ASEAN countries have seen tangible benefits from the cooperation.
One example is the China-Laos Railway. Since its launch in December 2021, the railway has handled 20.9 million passenger trips and 25.36 million tonnes of cargo as of Sept. 3, according to data released by China State Railway Group Co., Ltd.
The China-ASEAN Expo shows a deep and enduring commitment to strengthening bilateral ties and jointly striving for a brighter and more interconnected future. ■