PHNOM PENH, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China has provided mutual benefits and greatly contributed to regional peace, stability and development, Cambodian deputy prime minister and defense minister Gen. Tea Banh said here on Wednesday.
Gen. Banh made the remarks while co-chairing the ASEAN-China Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting via video link with Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.
"In the last 30 years, ASEAN-China cooperation has made remarkable progress in all fields, which has provided mutual benefits and made significant contributions to promoting peace, stability and security, regional development and prosperity," he said.
He added that since 2009, China has been a major trading partner of ASEAN, and in 2020, ASEAN has become a major trading partner of China.
Banh recalled that at the ASEAN-China Special Summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-China dialogue relations in November 2021, the leaders agreed to promote ASEAN-China relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which is a turning point in the history of ASEAN-China relations.
He added that the leaders also agreed to continue to promote security and political cooperation by maintaining frequent high-level exchanges, increasing sharing of experience on governance to deepen mutual trust, and enhancing dialogue and coordination in ASEAN-led frameworks.
"I am pleased to note that the People's Republic of China has actively participated in the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and worked together with ASEAN towards the conclusion of an effective and sustainable Code of Conduct to ensure regional stability and peace," he said.
He said a close ASEAN-China relationship is very important to maintain and promote peace, stability, security, development and prosperity of the region and the world.
Meanwhile, Banh also expressed his deep gratitude to China for supporting Cambodia in the fight against the COVID-19 since the beginning, creating conducive conditions for the kingdom to have a strong foundation to overcome this infectious disease.
"In this connection, I would also like to highly evaluate the friendship and mutual support between China and Cambodia in promoting the development of Cambodia in all fields," he said.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ■