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Deepen Regional Cooperation in Asia

CIIS Time:04 18, 2017 Writer: Editor:Wang Jiapei


On March 26, Roundtable on Asian Regional Cooperation organizations was held in Boao, Hainan Province. As the sponsor, CIIS invited 7 heads of Asian regional organizations to attend this sub forum of Boao Forum for Asia annual conference 2017. Vice Foreign Minister H.E. Liu Zhenmin delivered keynote speech. Mr. Yang Xiyu, Research Fellow of Department of Asian-Pacific Studies, moderated meeting. Director of Department of Asian-Pacific Studies Dr. LIU Qing participated in the discussion session with other scholars.


We are honored to share all participants’ speeches as follows.


I Deepen Regional Cooperation in Asia With Renewed Confidence

Speech by H.E. Liu Zhenmin,Vice Foreign Minister of China

At the “Roundtable on Asian Regional Cooperation Organizations”

At the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2017


Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Colleagues from all Regional Organizations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning! It’s my great honor and pleasure to join you today in Boao. At the first Roundtable held a year ago, heads of regional cooperation organizations in Asia gathered here for a useful discussion on Asian integration and the building of the Asian community of shared future.

One year later, we meet again in Boao in the context of the new changes in both regional and international situation. It is a good time now to take stock of globalization and discuss plans. That’s why “Globalization and Asian Regional Cooperation” has been chosen as the theme of this Roundtable.

On behalf of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, I wish to extend a warm welcome to all friends present here. In particular, I wish to welcome colleagues from ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), who have come for the first time for the Annual Conference in Boao.

Dear Friends,

Over the past year, given the sluggish global growth and the backlash against globalization, the process of globalization and regional integration suffered setbacks, and international political and economic uncertainties have been on the rise.

By contrast, regional cooperation in Asia has continued to enjoy a strong momentum, becoming a star-performer in global development.

First, regional cooperation frameworks are booming. East Asia cooperation, with ASEAN at the center, is moving forward with strong vitality. As ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary, the building of ASEAN Community is stepping to a higher level. AMRO has been upgraded to an international organization. China-ASEAN cooperation has moved to a new level. And China-Japan-ROK cooperation has made new headway.

Pan-Asia cooperation has gained new impetus, with institution building of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue summit meeting. And under CICA, confidence-building measures in various fields have been implemented with positive outcomes.

Second, sub-regional cooperation is gathering momentum. The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation has got off to a good start. The BCIM economic corridor is advancing steadily. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization successfully realized enlargement. BIMP-EAGA has made solid progress. And SAARC cooperation continues to move forward.

Third, fruitful results have been achieved in cooperation across the board. Smooth progress has been made in linking up the Belt and Road Initiative with national plans of relevant countries. Regional connectivity has been strengthened with the construction of major infrastructure projects, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Rail and China-Laos Railway.

Regional countries are dedicated to free trade. Negotiations on RCEP and China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Area are moving forward at a faster pace.

Regional security dialogue and cooperation are deepening. Countries have acted with greater commitment to jointly combat non-traditional security threats, and conducted several exercises on disaster relief, counter-terrorism and maritime search and rescue. Some have carried out joint law-enforcement operations against drug trafficking and telecommunications fraud.

Looking across Asia, a multi-tier, multi-pillar, all-dimensional network of cooperation has been emerging. Mutual complementarity among various frameworks, deeper cooperation in various fields, and common progress of sub-regional cooperation institutions has become a defining feature of regional cooperation in Asia.

Such cooperation has given a strong boost to regional integration and played an important part in peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region. It has opened bright prospects for a region-wide cooperation framework and the building of an Asian community of shared future, injecting strong, positive energy into economic globalization.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


With international and regional landscape undergoing profound changes, Asian countries have come to a new starting point and are faced with new opportunities for regional cooperation. Faced with sluggish recovery, rising protectionism and growing transnational threats, they have further realized the importance of harnessing complementary advantages for win-win cooperation. It is clearer than ever that closer cooperation is what Asian countries truly need.

Last year, regional countries made joint efforts to cool down hotspot issues, and brought relevant issues back to the right track of resolution despite outside interference. That has enabled various sides to re-focus on cooperation for common development. With TPP facing an uncertain future, various sides are shifting their attention to RCEP and FTAAP, showing a greater interest in reaching these FTAs at an early date.

Meanwhile, cooperation in Asia is also confronted with multiple challenges. Internally, regional cooperation has entered a plateau. Many agreed arrangements have not been implemented effectively. This requires countries to make necessary policy adjustments and show greater political wisdom and resolve.

In a wider context, the tide of anti-globalization may trigger worries about the future of Asian integration. Some countries outside the region continue to play up political and security issues, causing disturbance to regional cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,


China is an active player and advocate of regional cooperation in Asia. In recent years, China has made important contribution to regional cooperation by seeking to enhance its breadth and depth.

First, we supported the development of regional cooperation frameworks.

China and the five countries along the Mekong River have launched the Lancang-Mekong cooperation, which is a useful complement to the ASEAN Community and a worthy effort in building an Asian community of shared future.

China has shown strong support for the 50th anniversary of ASEAN by taking an active part in the commemorative events.

As the CICA Chair from 2014 to 2018, China has sought creative ways to improve the CICA platform. It has hosted a non-governmental forum and a think tank roundtable.

China has proposed a systematic plan for strengthening the ACD, which has been commended by all parties.

Second, we contributed to the cultivation of regional cooperation philosophy.

At the 2015 Boao Forum conference, President Xi Jinping outlined his vision for a community of shared future.

President Xi has since put forth the concepts of a community of shared future between China and ASEAN, in the Asia-Pacific and, more broadly, for all mankind. They have resonated well with many countries.

President Xi has also proposed a new type of international relations underpinned by win-win cooperation. These new ideas have pointed a way forward for regional cooperation in Asia.

Third, we have actively advanced practical cooperation.

China champions the Belt and Road initiative for shared development of the countries along the routes.

The AIIB has started operation with the first batch of its projects approved. The first batch of projects funded by the Silk Road Fund have also been launched.

We have quickened our pace in building industrial zones, cross-border economic cooperation zones, and port industrial zones with neighboring countries, as part of our efforts to promote cooperation on production capacity.

Coming this May, China will host a high-level Forum for International Cooperation on one Belt and one Road to strengthen the complementarity of the development strategies of various countries. Preparations are well under way for the Asian Financial Cooperation Association, which is expected to be launched soon.

Fourth, we have actively promoted dialogue and cooperation on security.

Every year, we have been hosting the Xiangshan Forum and the World Peace Forum to promote candid discussions on defense and security.

China supports the improvement of regional security architecture. We hosted the fifth EAS Regional Security Architecture Workshop and will host a track II seminar on this topic to encourage more discussions.

To better communicate China’s security vision and policy, China issued in January a white paper outlining its policy on Asia-Pacific security cooperation, the first of its kind.

Over the last couple of years, China has proposed one third of the total cooperation initiatives at the ARF, giving a strong boost to the exchange and cooperation in relevant areas.

Ladies and gentlemen,


The Chinese people are striving to realize the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation. China’s development will bring to Asia more opportunities for cooperation.

China will continue to work with other regional countries to take regional cooperation to a higher level, and open greater prospects for Asia’s development.

In this context, I’d like to share the following thoughts with you:

First, we need to be guided by the vision of an Asian community of shared future.

This vision builds on our past experience of regional cooperation. As the ultimate goal of regional integration in Asia, it promises vast space for regional cooperation.

To translate this vision into reality, all Asian countries need to work together for an Asian community of shared interests and shared responsibility by planning, building and benefiting together.

Second, we need to maintain the Asian features of our cooperation in improving the cooperation model.

We should maintain our Asian-style cooperation model, featuring respect for ASEAN’s centrality in East Asia cooperation, emphasis on coordination of various regional mechanisms, focus on development cooperation, and commitment to open regionalism.

At the same time, we should improve our cooperation model by drawing lessons from other regions. We must ensure that all sub-regional mechanisms run in harmony to set an example of regional cooperation.

Third, we need to advance both development and security cooperation.

We should make development a priority and enhance cooperation in such key areas as trade and finance, infrastructure, energy and environmental protection, etc. This is important for greater economic integration and the building of an economic community for common and sustainable development.

At the same time, we should confront challenges head-on, and enhance dialogue, exchanges and cooperation on security. This is a necessary step as we seek to progressively build a regional security architecture that suits regional reality and meets the needs of all parties.

Fourth, we need to expand the reach of benefits from regional cooperation.

Regional integration in Asia should not benefit only a few, just as globalization should not be a game of the elite.

We should put people first, make the cooperation programs more inclusive, results-oriented, and beneficial to more countries and more peoples.

This way, our people will see real benefits of regional cooperation, and give their wholehearted support. It will also help us avert the negative experience of other regions.

The representatives from regional organizations and experts present today have all participated in, witnessed and contributed to regional cooperation in Asia. I am sure you will make the best use of this platform to share whatever is on your mind and contribute your wisdom and insights for faster and better progress in regional cooperation in Asia.

To conclude, I wish the roundtable a full success.

Thank you all.



II Remarks by ACC Secretary-General H.E. Mme. Yang Xiuping


His Excellency Liu Zhenmin, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China,

Heads of Asian regional cooperation organizations,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning. It’s my great pleasure to meet with you again in the beautiful city of Boao.

First, I would like to briefly talk about ASEAN-China Centre’s mandate and recent work. ACC is the inter-governmental organization co-founded by ten ASEAN Member States and China. Over the past five years since its inception, ACC has worked actively to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of both sides, and promote cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, education, culture, tourism and information and public relations. Until now, ACC has accomplished more than one hundred approved cooperation projects, organized or participated in more than 500 activities, contributing to ASEAN-China practical cooperation.

In 2016 which marked the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations and the Year of ASEAN-China Educational Exchange, ACC carried out 19 flagship projects, organized or participated in more than 100 activities of various kinds, which have produced good results.

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, ACC held a series of events, including the thematic seminar, China-ASEAN Week and China-ASEAN Day Fair, which brought together participants from various sectors of both sides and achieved fruitful outcomes.

On trade and investment, ACC vigorously promotes the upgraded ASEAN-China FTA, pushed for the establishment of the ASEAN Commercial Centre at the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, took Chinese trade and investment missions to ASEAN countries to match with local enterprises in an effort to promote ASEAN’s import to China. The Centre also promotes e-commerce cooperation between the two sides.

On education, ACC organized a Logo Design Competition for the Year of Educational Exchange, took an active part in the 9th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week, held Beijing ASEAN Students’ Games, ASEAN-China Youth Summer Camp, ASEAN-China Forum of Youth and Humanities and other events. Moreover, ACC actively created platforms for vocational cooperation and encouraged Chinese enterprises to provide education equipment and training courses to ASEAN vocational schools.

On culture, ACC has worked to promote cultural exchanges and cultural production capacity cooperation. ACC co-sponsored the first-ever ASEAN Film Week, ASEAN Gourmet Festival, China-ASEAN Youth Football Friendly Matches, and launched the theme webpage “Window for ASEAN-China Children’s Cultural Exchanges”, which were warmly welcomed.

On tourism, ACC has promoted the rich tourism resources of ASEAN countries and China, organized the ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation Forum and the ASEAN-China Tourism Photo Contest, which fully demonstrated the tourism resources and cultures of ASEAN countries and China. ACC also compiled and translated the ASEAN Travel Package in collaboration with the ASEAN Secretariat, to provide more information to the travelers.

On information and public relations, to raise the public awareness of ASEAN-China cooperation, ACC invited ambassadors of ASEAN countries to give interviews at ACC’s Microblog and deliver lectures at universities in China, and organized China and ASEAN mainstream media to visit each other. ACC also contributed to the book: Facts and Figures: 25 Years of ASEAN-China Dialogue and Cooperation and held photo exhibitions on ASEAN-China relations to publicize ASEAN-China friendly cooperation.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and the Year of ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation. ACC will hold a symposium celebrating the anniversary and organize a series of activities on tourism cooperation. ACC would like to strengthen its cooperation with people from all sectors to make new contribution to supporting ASEAN’s Community Building, deepening ASEAN-China practical cooperation and promoting the prosperity and development of this region.

Second, I would like to share my views on regional cooperation.

In recent years, Asian regional cooperation, especially East Asian cooperation maintained a good momentum. The ASEAN Community was established as scheduled, and is working to achieve its Vision 2025. As the upgraded ASEAN-China FTA took effect, the level of ASEAN-China cooperation continued to be raised. The Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism makes good headway and the negotiations on the RCEP and China-Japan-Korea FTA are making progress. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese leaders are warmly received by many countries. Through regional cooperation, countries in the region are closely connected and interdependent, which has greatly boosted the sustained and healthy social and economic development in this region.

At the same time, the world economic recovery is not on a solid foundation. As economic globalization is undergoing ups and downs, and protectionism resurging in some countries, Asian regional cooperation is also facing challenges. It is true that regional cooperation mechanisms have different development speed and achievements. However, to seek development through cooperation is the general trend and common aspiration of the peoples. To make Asia peaceful, stable, open, inclusive, and win-win serves the common interests of all countries in the region.

Third, to further promote Asian regional cooperation, I would like to make the following suggestions:

First, actively implement the consensus reached under various regional cooperation frameworks and make sure that the upgraded ACFTA will bring tangible benefits to the people at an early date.

Second, enhance ASEAN Community building and match the Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of relevant countries to find more converging interests and inject new impetus to coordinated development.

Third, support Lancang-Mekong cooperation, Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and other regional mechanisms which will bolster ASEAN-China cooperation.

Fourth, strengthen cooperation between Asian regional cooperation organizations. The organizations should learn from each other in a joint effort to promote Asian regional cooperation.

Thank you!


III Regional Multilateralism: AMRO’s Perspectives on the Enhancement of Regional Cooperation

Dr Junhong Chang, AMRO Director


Dear Vice Minister Liu, Professor Yang and Fellow colleagues,

1     Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to attend this roundtable dialogue. As Director of AMRO, the regional surveillance organization in the ASEAN+3 region comprising the ten ASEAN countries plus China (including Hong Kong), Japan and Korea, I am honored to have this opportunity to introduce my organization and to share my views on Asian regional cooperation at this roundtable.

AMRO’s Mission and Vision

2     AMRO was established to contribute to the macroeconomic and financial stability of the ASEAN+3 region through conducting macroeconomic surveillance and supporting the implementation of the regional financial arrangement, namely the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization or CMIM.

3     The CMIM came into existence in 2010, with two main objectives: to serve as a regional self-help mechanism to address balance of payments and/or short-term US dollar liquidity difficulties in the ASEAN+3 region; and to supplement existing international financial arrangements. The CMIM was upgraded in 2014 to include a crisis prevention facility, and its size was doubled to US$240 billion.

4     The ASEAN+3 authorities share the understanding that independent regional surveillance is the key for such a self-help mechanism to work.  AMRO was set up to provide that function, of conducting macroeconomic surveillance during peacetime and to provide the assessments and policy recommendations that are needed in order for the CMIM to operate successfully. Initially established as a company in Singapore in 2011, AMRO was transformed into an international organization with full legal personality, effective from 9 February 2016.  AMRO’s vision is to be an independent, credible and professional regional organization acting as a trusted policy advisor to our members in the ASEAN+3 region.

Regional Multilateralism

5     AMRO is a product of regional cooperation, and will continue to be one of the “anchors” to advocate for regional integration.  The ASEAN+3 region has reaped tremendous benefits from regional integration while at the same time, remaining open to the rest of the world – in what I would call “regional multilateralism”.

6      It is noticeable that the region has achieved a lot, in the past two decades after the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC), by successfully adjusting its growth model, from export-oriented to more domestic demand based, to benefit from global trade and investment flows while riding on the tide of regional integration. The ASEAN+3 region has expanded to become the largest economic block in the world, accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of world GDP in 2015 (at market exchange rates). The ASEAN+3 region has become the fastest growing area in the world since early 2000s. Even after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the region continued to annually grow around 4% in 2011-2015, and according to AMRO’s estimate and baseline scenario forecast, grew at 5.3% in 2016,  and will grow at 5.2% in 2017. On the trade side, the region accounts for almost 30% of global trade, almost double from its share during the AFC. The region’s openness to trade – the ratio of merchandise trade to GDP – amounts to nearly 50% in 2015, up  from 37% in 1998.

7     The region has also contributed substantially to global demand and growth, especially in the past five years after the GFC. The post-GFC period witnessed the region’s extraordinary contributions to world GDP growth, around 50%. Intra-regional trade accounts for almost 47%, half of total trade for ASEAN+3 economies, and reflects the formation of global value chains oriented to meeting demand from both outside and within the region.  Intra-regional foreign direct investment or FDI flows have risen strongly in recent years. The plus-3 economies – China including Hong Kong, Japan and Korea – together accounted for 30 percent for total FDI inflows into the ASEAN economies.

Strengthening Regional Financial Cooperation

8      The global policy landscape, however, is now at risk of a major policy shift to greater bilateralism approach towards trade and potentially other economic relations. Led by the U.S., this bilateral approach challenges the modality of and benefits from multilateral economic cooperation. In the current uncertain global environment, policymakers’ affirmation of their commitment to regional economic and financial cooperation would help anchor market expectations and provide a solid policy basis for the region’s continued growth and development. 

9   I would like to turn now to three suggestions for strengthening regional economic and financial cooperation: 

First, the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Summit in 2017 is expected to deliver a clear and strong message to the world on the need to uphold regional multilateralism, and the benefits that this brings. This strong collective message from our political leaders would be essential to counter the tide of rising trade protectionism and bilateralism.

Second, the ASEAN+3 region as a whole and also through individual countries’ efforts should adopt and implement concrete measures to promote multilateral and intra-regional trade and investment flows. Examples include swap arrangements between central banks in the region in local currencies to facilitate trade settlement, implementing commitments in trade agreements to reduce non-tariff barriers, as well as expediting the negotiation process of the RCEP. 

Third, the ASEAN+3 region should continue its strong efforts and commitment to building a robust regional financial safety net. With the increasing volatility in financial flows and risks from contagion, it is no longer enough for a single economy to build up its foreign exchange buffer against external shocks. Following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the international community led by the G20 has made it a top priority to build a robust multi-layered Global Financial Safety Net to support the internationalfinancial system. A robust regional safety net in the ASEAN+3, in the form of the CMIM, would constitute an integral part of the Global Financial Safety Net. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done in integrating these various levels of safety nets. AMRO, in our support of the CMIM, remains committed to building a robust and operational regional safety net, so as to help secure economic and financial stability in our region and contribute to the stability of the global financial system.  

Thank you.



IV Speech by Mr. Bandit LImschoon

Secretary General of Asia Cooperation Dialogue


H.E. Minister Liu Zhenmin,

My Fellow Panelists, Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are now living in one of the very interesting moment in the history of mankind, a paradoxical moment in the global economy. On the one hand, after 30 years of its existence, globalisation force is already in its full swing. On the other, after the Brexit and the demise of the TPP, the trend and the threat of “De-globalisation” or "Anti-globa1isation" is emerging and eminent.

Asia, the region that benefits most from globalisation and the open global economy, will suffer most from the retreat of globalisation. The urgent question for our region and for our forum today, is how Asia could cope with such challenges.

To answer this question, we need to understand the “Anti-globalisation” movement and explore the possibility of how we, in Asia, can do to continue the momentum of the free trade and the open economy. In this connection, I will bring you back to the genesis of the globalisation.

With the advent of Information and Communication Technology, the so-called“internet of things” and the establishment of World or WT O, almost all artificial business border has simply disappeared and became meaningless. Factors of production, especially trade in goods and services, including capital and technology, are moving freely across nations. With free flow of production in the global economy, it appears that Asia benefits from borderless and interconnected world.

This "free flow of economic factors” contributes to growth in developing countries as have never happened before. Comparing to the West, the new millionaires and billionaires of Asia arise from entrepreneurs who have high agility and are not cling to or strict to the traditional trade model or traditional trade institutions.

The rise and success of Asia and emerging economies, unfortunately, creates growing dissatisfaction, which led to anti-globalisation movements from the Western hemisphere. The emergence of protectionism, which might lead to the trade war, puts the system of rules of law that has governed the world trading system for decades under attack. There is an urgent need to take action in order to keep global economy sustainable, equitable and dynamic.

Accordingly, the spectre of protectionism and trade wars under the unilateral measures must be taken seriously.

So the question is, what will Asia do to withstand such challenges?

After the past decade, especially after the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiation, developing countries learned the hard way that it is beyond one country alone to handle the resurrection of trade protectionism. Therefore, the best platform to survive in the volatile world is to cooperate with friends in forming regional or sub-regional forum.

Asia is already an active region with almost one hundred regional forum, ranging from loosely economic cooperation to market integration and free trade area such as APEC, ASEAN, and GCC.

Nevertheless, the large amount of numbers signifies the fragmentation of Asia in the context of regional grouping.

Accordingly, we need to fill in the gap.

For this reason, 15 years ago, 17 Asian Foreign Ministers, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, envisaged the importance of interdependence and cooperation in our region to create a pan-Asia linkage. With the aim to preserve common interests and promote economic development, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue or ACD was established to constitute the missing link in Asia, in order to build a strong Asian Community.

After 15 years, the success of ACD reflected in the growing number of 34 Member Countries, 2 Summit and good amount of annual Ministerial Meetings.

AS represents the whole Asia by 34 members, this is the first time that we have such a huge platform covering from Far East to Middle East, including South and Central Asia. This is a forum for ASIA, without any influence from superpower outside. This is the time when Asia people will write our own future and our own destiny.

Absolutely, ACD is focusing on finding synergy, not to compete or repeat with other existing Organisation.

While others emphasise on the integration of markets and promoting free trade area, our priority is to add value to our regional community by re-focusing on the supply side, restructuring the new supply chain and reconnecting regional value chain across Asia.

In doing so, our entrepreneurs will benefit from variations in comparative advantage and from the free flow of economic factors across region. In the end, it will finally lower the production cost, increase productivity, strengthen competiveness of our entrepreneurs, especially SMEs in the global market and, finally, contribute to the growth and development in a sustainable manner.

Nevertheless, ACD could not possibly able to achieve such success without cooperation with other regional fora. And since we are in China, I am going to use Belt and Road as a case study to explain the holistic approach of ACD model in coordinating and cooperating with other organization.

The New Silk Road is logically complementary to dialogue and cooperation platform of ACD because our Members also cover the footprints of Belt and Road.

So, with ACD as Dialogue Partner, the Silk Road Economic Belt could benefit from the advantages of dynamism and mechanism of ACD where we could find regional synergy for mutual benefits in recreating supply chain across Asia.

With the web of our cooperation, business communities will benefit from the linkage to all sub-regions in seeking potential strategic partners and promote future cooperation.

Belt and Road will handle the hard connectivity of logistic infrastructure while ACD will provide multilateral consultations on legal harmonization and trade facilitation thorough our dialogue platform. Furthermore, ACD will assist our private sectors, especially small and medium, in building business model tap the full potential from the Silk Road. In the end, Asia entrepreneurs will join in our regional supply chain as the first step to compete in the global market.

I believe that with regional economic cooperation as the centerpiece of our policy, it will increase more ways and means to enhance economic development and provide economic security Within the region. There are a lot more to talk about my forum, ACD, as a Dialogue Partner with Belt and Road. But as the time is limit here, I could only voice that we need to find the synergy in our cooperation, make use of the existing initiatives of the Belt and Road, AIIB or ACD as well as other regional cooperation to combine forces.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to end my remark by referring to speech of HE President Xi Jinping in Davos last year that, “Pursuing protectionism is just like locking one‘s self in a dark room. Wind and rain might be kept outside but also block out all sunshine and air.” This rhetoric is timely and concurrence with political wills of ACD leaders in keeping our region open, as agreed during the Second ACD Summit in Thailand last year.


Under the rising wave of the new protectionism and the retreat of globalization, it is also a great opportunity for Asia to value and treasure one another in uniting together for better future towards Asian century.

Thank you.


V Remarks by H.E Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN

Excellency Liu Zhenmin, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China,

Excellencies, Heads of Regional Organisations, Ambassadors,

Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Boao Forum for Asia for inviting me to participate together with fellow heads of regional organisations and members of the academic community in this Roundtable on Globalisation and Asian Regional Cooperation.

Being today one of the most successful regional organisations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration, also known as the Bangkok Declaration, has the objective, among others, of accelerating the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours; promoting regional peace and stability; and maintaining close and beneficial cooperation with countries and international and regional organisations with shared interests and purposes. Various instruments and mechanisms have been developed during its five decades of Community building to strengthen ASEAN’s norms, values and its integration process. The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia or the TAC, signed in 1976, now having already 35 contracting parties, including 25 non-ASEAN parties, embodies the universal principles of peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation among states in Southeast Asia and beyond. The Declaration of ASEAN Concord, adopted in the same year, outlines ASEAN cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and political fields.

With the admission of Cambodia in 1999, the expansion of ASEAN from originally a five-member association to include ten, almost all, Southeast Asian countries with Timor Leste’s membership application pending decision and the constant deepening of regional economic integration generated an awareness in Check against delivery 2 ASEAN of the need to consolidate and further strengthen ASEAN as a dynamic, resilient and cohesive regional organisation. To this end, the Declaration of ASEAN Concord II adopted in 2003 laid out a vision for the establishment of an ASEAN Community based on three pillars, namely a political and security community, an economic community and a socio-cultural community. The ASEAN Community was finally realised in December 2015. This important milestone was complemented by the adoption of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 which provides a concrete roadmap for ASEAN to further deepen and broaden its regional integration process to best serve the interests of its people and the region as a whole making ASEAN a truly resilient, rules-based, people-oriented and people-centred Community, a global ASEAN capable of responding to emerging and future challenges.

This year, ASEAN will celebrate its 50th anniversary, an opportune occasion for reflections. While much has been accomplished since its establishment in 1967, we cannot deny that there remains considerable work to be done to ensure that the achievements are durable and sustainable for the benefits of our peoples.

In its process of Community building, ASEAN has been both an active promoter of and a big beneficiary from globalisation and the interconnectivity of the world that we live in. We have enjoyed robust economic growth thanks to our deepening integration as well as advancements in technology. Currently, ASEAN has a total trade of approximately 2 and half trillion US dollars equivalent to its GDP and reflecting huge growth in both intra-ASEAN and extra-ASEAN trade. ASEAN citizens enjoy visa-free travel within ASEAN. The number of intra-ASEAN tourists reached nearly 50 million annually. The past years have seen a significant increase in the number of mobile phone and internet users. This has been crucial in facilitating the flow of ideas and information to and from our peoples, which in turn has sparked innovation and creativity for our already very dynamic region.

However, for every benefit that globalisation has provided us there has also been a drawback. The 1997 Asian financial crisis wreaked havoc on ASEAN economies and laid bare our vulnerabilities to financial instability. Our borders which are more open than before are being exploited by transnational criminal Check against delivery 3 groups to distribute their illicit goods. The internet is increasingly becoming an effective tool for radical and extremist elements to spread their messages of hate and incite violence. The recent rise of populism and protectionist sentiments in major western countries is just discouraging for forces of globalisation and multilateralism. While the countries in our sub region are still relatively immune from this phenomenon, we cannot deny its potential impact on its political and economic life.

It is with this in mind that I share with you some measures that ASEAN have taken in order to alleviate the negative impacts of globalisation.

In the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, the Chiang Mai Initiative was agreed in 2000 between ASEAN and its Plus Three partners, namely the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, to manage regional short-term liquidity problems and to strengthen resilience against any future recurrences of the crisis. This initiative was expanded into the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization in 2009 and has led to, among others, the creation of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office or AMRO. ASEAN is also the regional organisation having the most FTAs with external partners and is currently negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with its FTA partners. In addition, ASEAN is exploring potential FTAs with other partners such as Canada and Hong Kong. ASEAN continues to enhance its cooperation on combating transnational crime and countering violent extremism under the ambit of regional security-related mechanisms such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit.

ASEAN is also cognizant of the growing backlash against globalisation and the negative perceptions of political establishments around the world. The underlying factors behind the British public’s decision to walk away from European integration and the repudiation of the “business as usual” mentality of political leaders in major western countries cannot not be understated. Recognising that the strength of our Community lies in our peoples, and ASEAN’s integration process would not be as successful without the people’s support, the ASEAN Vision 2025, among others, calls for the consolidation of ASEAN as a truly rules-based, people-oriented and people-centred Community. While continuing to promote and Check against delivery 4 implement initiatives which would bring concrete benefits to all its citizens, ASEAN attaches importance to its cooperation and engagements with other regional organisations. Indeed, ASEAN as an outward looking regional organisation, recognises that in a more complex and interconnected world which is marked by an unprecedented level of interdependence and in which peace and cooperation for development remain the dominant trend, cooperation between regional and sub-regional organisations is crucial and beneficial, not only to the safeguarding of peace and security, but also to development. ASEAN has for long engaged proactively with other regional organisations, in particular, the regional organisations in Asia such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Economic Cooperation Organisation. These inter-regional engagements are based on the principles of peaceful co-existence, cooperation and friendship. They are aimed at forging cooperative relationships in the areas of mutual interests and benefits as well as exchanging experience and lessons learned in the processes of regional cooperation and integration. To further strengthen such cooperation, ASEAN is convinced that such cooperation should leverage on the complimentary capacities and comparative advantages of all organisations, making full use of their experience, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the statutes of regional organisations.

If there is one important lesson that ASEAN has learned over the years, it is that mitigating the negative impacts of globalisation cannot be done by one country alone. Transnational and trans-boundary issues need to be tackled collectively. As the challenges posed by the globalised world become more complex, countries must also be able to adapt and shift their paradigms and perspectives in dealing with these challenges. As heads of regional organisations, countries would look on us to ensure the integrity of our respective organisations and to maintain the forward momentum of regional integration. We could all benefit from the sharing of our respective organisation’s experiences and lessons learned in dealing with globalisation.

ASEAN+1 and ASEAN+3 cooperation with China, the Republic of Korea and Japan and ASEAN cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have been greatly facilitated by the ASEAN-China, ASEAN-Korea, ASEAN-Japan Check against delivery 5 Centres and the Trilateral Cooperation and SCO Secretariats. Although we do not have any formal cooperation as of yet, the 10 ASEAN countries have benefited greatly from the coordination work of the ACD Secretariat. I wish to take this opportunity to thank them all for their support and contributions.

Let me conclude by extending my sincere appreciation to the Government of China for hosting this very important Forum and I wish the Forum a great success.

Thank you!


VI Statement by Ambassador Gong Jianwei,

Executive Director, CICA Secretariat


Good morning, Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to express my gratitude to the organisers of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference, as well as the China Institute of International Studies for inviting me to participate in the roundtable “Globalization and Asian Inter-Regional Cooperation”. It is a great pleasure to return here for the second time. In this regard, I would like to share some of the visions around today's theme.

1. Vision regarding globalization

Topic of this roundtable is very pertinent in view of recent developments in the world. Globalization, which was mantra of the last century, was mainly driven by the western world. Western economies benefitted hugely from globalization. Asia on the other hand was following protectionist policies for most of the twentieth century and was late in catching up on globalization. Today we are witnessing reversal of this trend. While Asian countries are pushing for faster and greater globalization, western world is moving towards protectionism.

While it is true that globalization is a double-edged sword, its positive impacts far outweigh the negative impacts. Globalization has powered global growth, facilitated movement of goods and capital, facilitated advances in science and technology, and promoted interactions among civilizations and peoples.

There have, of course, been pitfalls as we have seen during financial crisis, which affected both developed and developing world. However, it must be remembered that financial crisis was not caused by globalization. It was rather the consequence of excessive chase of profit by financial capital and grave failure of financial regulation. Just blaming economic globalization for the world’s problems is inconsistent with reality, and it will not help solve the problems.

We must accept that whether we like it or not, the global economy is a big ocean from which we cannot escape. Any attempt to cut off the flow of capital, technologies, products, industries and people between economies, and channel the water of the ocean back into isolated lakes is simply not possible. We need to face the adverse impacts and challenges of globalization and harness its benefits. It is necessary to make the process of globalization more invigorated, more inclusive and more sustainable so as to release its positive impact.

It is true that in the last few decades Asian economies witnessed both positive and negative impacts of globalization. Rapid growths of the last quarter of 20th century were followed by the Asian crisis of 1997 and global financial crisis of last decade. Nevertheless, Asian economies showed considerable resilience in bouncing back from both the crisis. While Europe is still struggling under the impact of global financial crisis Asian economies are growing once again. According to IMF figures, emerging markets and developing countries are accounting for eighty percent of the growth in global economy and Asia is the major contributor to this growth.

At the same time, Asia is still far from achieving its real potential in economic growth. Asia remains home to some of the least developed economies and there are pockets of extreme poverty where millions of people continue to live on income under $ 1 a day. Disparities in income have also been rising steadily leading to tensions in some areas. The major factor hampering Asia’s rise to its full potential has been lack of credible regional cooperation across the continent.

2. The role of CICA in the area of cooperation on the Asian continent

China’s Belt and Road initiative is one important step in promoting regional cooperation. This initiative, representing the most comprehensive vision for China’s engagement with its neighbours and beyond, will go a long way to strengthen regional economic cooperation and exchanges; enhance mutual learning between different civilizations, and eventually promote world peace and development. In short, this initiative is a way for win-win regional cooperation and sharing the fruits of globalization.

In addition to Belt and Road Initiative, CICA, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measurers in Asia, is an ideal platform to fill gaps in regional cooperation across Asia. Twenty six member states of CICA account for nearly ninety percent of the area and population of Asia. It is a forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia through dialogue, interaction and confidence building measures among the member states.

The moving spirit behind this initiative was the recognition that Asian countries have a shared destiny and it was necessary to create an efficacious body to safeguard their security and common destiny. Asia is economically, politically, ethnically and culturally most diverse continent and there are flashpoints of mutual suspicions and tensions due to historical and other reasons. The importance of reconciling these differences through mutual understanding is the driving force in CICA’s emphasis on a target-oriented dialogue in finding common ground for achieving shared objectives and common understanding. 

CICA aims to achieve its objectives through implementation of confidence building measures in five broad dimensions, namely, military-political dimension; economic, environmental and human dimensions as well as fight against new threats and challenges. Taking a holistic view of comprehensive security, CICA attaches very high importance to cooperation in socio-economic dimensions.

CICA believes that in the increasingly interconnected world of 21st century, sustainable development, economic cooperation and better people-to-people exchanges play a very important role in promoting regional security. Widely shared economic stability and rising prosperity can remove mutual suspicions, increase trust and foster peace both within and among countries. This is most likely to happen in an atmosphere of economic cooperation, openness and multilateral approach, which is imperative for the success of globalization and rise of Asia to its full potential.

CICA has been implementing confidence building measures in various areas of socio-economic dimensions including development of small and medium enterprises, development of secure and effective transportation corridors, information technology, energy security, tourism and environment. With a view to giving further boost to economic cooperation, Chinese Chairmanship has recently announced its intention to coordinate CBMs in the areas of agriculture and finance and Thailand has announced its intention to coordinate CBMs in the area of sustainable development.

I am confident that cooperation within CICA will go a long way to help Asia in reaping full benefits of globalization and meeting the challenges. It will also help in realizing the 2030 agenda of sustainable development goals. CICA is willing to cooperate and coordinate its efforts with other regional organisations in achieving these goals. Asia has the potential for exponential growth and with mutually beneficial cooperation, it can account for half of the global economy before the middle of this century.

Thank you!


VII Secretary-General YANG Houlan’s speech at the” Globalization and Asian Inter-Regional Cooperation Roundtable”, Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2017  


Your Excellency, Vice Foreign Minister of China, Mr. LIU Zhenmin,

Dear colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. It’s an enormous pleasure and honour to share my views on globalization and Asian regional cooperation with you today.  

1. TCS’ main activities and contributions in 2016 (3.5 mins)

First of all, I would like to introduce the main activities and contributions of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS). As an international organization aiming to promote peace and common prosperity among China, Japan and the ROK in the areas ranging from politics & security, economy, environment, health and welfare, to human and socio-cultural exchanges. The TCS is mandated to perform the following functions: 1) Providing support for various CJK governmental consultative mechanisms; 2) facilitating and exploring cooperative projects; 3) promoting the understanding of trilateral cooperation; 4) networking with other organizations; and 5) compiling database and conducting research.

We are doing our best to institutionalize trilateral cooperation by playing the role of ‘stabilizer and thruster’ through supporting the existing mechanisms and exploring new initiatives for cooperation. As for today, the three countries have established more than 20 Ministerial Meetings, and more than 60 working level mechanisms. From 2016 to 2017, to fulfil the abovementioned duties, the TCS participated in 10 trilateral Ministerial Meetings, particularly the Trilateral Education Ministers’ Meeting and the Trilateral Sports Ministers’ Meeting which were held for the first time. We also participated working level mechanisms including the 3rd Trilateral Cyber Policy Consultation, the 4th Trilateral Counter-Terrorism Consultation, as well as the 9th and 10th CJK FTA Negotiations (DG/DDG Meetings). We have made achievements in the expansion of existing cooperative projects, such as Table-Top Exercise on Disaster Management (TTX), the Young Ambassador Programme(YAP), the 3rd Trilateral Journalist Exchange Programme (TJEP), as well as the 2016 International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation (IFTC) and the 1st Trilateral Forum on Public Diplomacy. On 18th April, we will hold the 2017 International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation in Seoul. Furthermore, we have also put forward new projects in the areas of disaster management, logistics, environmental protection and local government exchanges. Take the following examples. Workshop on “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” Working Group Meeting of Joint Project “Trilateral Cooperation for Improvement of Supply Chain Connectivity (SCC),” Environmental Consultation Meeting on General Public Awareness Improvement, and Trilateral Ensemble Exchange Performed by the East Asian Cultural Cities have been successfully held. Meanwhile, the exchanges and cooperation with other international organizations such as EU delegations, Nordic Council of Ministers, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific have developed tremendously. We also actively participated in ASEAN Plus Three Summit, and conducted exchanges with ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Centres in China, Japan and the ROK for promoting East Asian cooperation.

2. Assessment on globalization and Asian regional cooperation (4.5 mins)

In terms of globalization, we have encountered various uncertainties in the previous year. The most crying blow to globalisation last year was undeniably the Brexit, which put the most commonly formulated criticism of globalisation into practice. Some argued that the Brexit revealed that the people want to be led according to their own needs rather than through the regional and global ambitions of their bureaucratic leaders. The argument which encouraged many nationalists sounds plausible, but it misleads us that “the people’s own needs” are incompatible with “regional and global ambitions”.  In fact, if we review the history after World War II, we can easily find that globalization is one of the most significant factors which facilitated exchanges among different countries in different areas and boosted world economic development. Globalization is neither the panacea for world development nor the origin of existing problems. For policy makers, they should try to balance the relations between people’s instant needs and global ambitions before making major decisions. For international organizations, we have the responsibility to eliminate mistrust and misunderstandings among the public in different countries by expanding people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation. 

Economic cooperation is essential for Asia particularly among China, Japan and the ROK. Trilateral cooperation holds great significance considering the huge population and economic size of the region. Combined population of the three countries reaches almost 22% of world population, and combined GDP accounts for 21% of the world, and combined CJK exports account for 19%. Nevertheless, the intra-regional trade ratio of CJK is yet much lower than that of other economic blocs, namely ASEAN at 24%, NAFTA at 42% and EU at 65%, the three countries hold great potential for boosting intra-regional trade. Consequently, trilateral economic cooperation is beneficial not only for the three countries but also for Asia and the world.  Currently, although there are bilateral challenges to be overcome in laying the ground of mutual understanding and trust among the three countries, we are always optimistic about the future of trilateral cooperation. As close neighbours, the linkage among the three countries is much stronger and we should strive to find ‘commonalities and complementarities’ binding us together rather than being discouraged by the hardships encountered. A stable and peaceful relationship among the three countries will greatly contribute to regional peace and stability.

3. Suggestions on promoting Asian regional cooperation (2 mins)

In the final part, I would like to make some suggestions to promote Asian regional cooperation, to be specific, the cooperation among three Asian countries, China, Japan and the ROK. Faced with an uncertain situation in Northeast Asia, the three countries should strengthen preventative cooperation (which means shelving disputes and avoiding provocative actions in sensitive areas) to mitigate mutual political distrust. Meanwhile, the three countries should promote positive cooperation in the field of non-traditional security including cyber security, counter-terrorism, energy security, environmental security, infectious diseases and so on. Besides, the three countries should try to expand exchanges and dialogues among journalists to increase mutual understandings and decrease biased reports, because these reports can easily mislead the public and cause tensions in the region.

The TCS will always cooperate with other international organizations to nurture peace, stability and prosperity in Asia. Thank you for your attention and I very much look forward to receiving valuable insights from you all today.