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Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID), Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand

ARCID china update

Volume 3, No. 2 ISSN 2630-0885

July - December 2020


ARCID China Update Volume 3, No. 2 July - December 2020

Compiled by Tarida Baikasame Research Associate

Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID) School of Social Innovation Mae Fah Luang University Thailand


ARCID CHINA UPDATE VOLUME 3, NO. 2 JULY-DECEMBER 2020 © All Rights Reserved Compiled by Tarida Baikasame ISSN: 2630-0885 First published in 2018 by ASIAN RESEARCH CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (ARCID) School of Social Innovation, Mae Fah Luang University 333 Moo 1, Thasud, Muang, Chiang Rai 57100, Thailand Tel : +66 5391 7137 Fax : +66 5391 6685 Email : arcid.social-innovation.school@mfu.ac.th Website : https://socialinnovation.mfu.ac.th/social-main/social-arcid/arcidindex.html Facebook page : www.facebook.com/ARCIDTHAILAND

Cover Photo by Usukhbayar Gankhuyag on Unsplash


Contents Preface

ix

Part I: The Chronology (July-December 2020) Coronavirus Update

3

(A) Foreign Affairs

15

(B) Political Affairs

25

(C) Economic Affairs

45

(D) Socio-cultural Affairs

65

Part II: Selected Documentation (July-December 2020) (A) Remarks by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the 5th Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

73

(B) Vientiane Declaration of the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders’ Meeting

75

(C) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting

75

(D) Full text of Co-chairs’ Statement on Cooperation of Synergizing the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor of the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting

80

(E) Joint communiqué of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

82

(F) Chairman’s Statement of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10+1 Session with China

82

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(G) Chairman’s Statement of the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

88

(H) Chairman’s Statement of the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

88

(I) Video Address by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Video Meeting

88

(J) Chairman’s Statement of the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum

94

(K) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 23rd China-ASEAN Summit

94

(L) The Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025)

101

(M) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 23rd ASEAN Plus China, Japan, and South Korea Summit

101

(N) Ha Noi Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit

106

(O) The Summary of the RCEP Agreement

109

(P) The Legal Text of the RCEP Agreement

110

(Q) Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

110

(R) Chairman’s Statement of the 37th ASEAN Summit

111

(S) Chairman’s Statement of the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit

111

(T) Chairman’s Statement of the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit

111

(U) Chairman’s Statement of the 15th East Asia Summit

112

(V) Remarks by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit

112

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(W) The Joint Declaration by the ADMM-Plus Defense Ministers on Strategic Security Vision of the ADMM-Plus

115

(X) Full text of President Xi Jinping’s 2021 New Year speech

115

Part III: Selected Analysis (July-December 2020) Coronavirus Update (A) The global politics of virus vaccines Thitinan Pongsudhirak

121

Foreign Affairs (B) Engagement key to Sino-Thai ties Kavi Chongkittavorn

124

(C) Why ‘Asian Era’ will be globally embraced Wang Wen

127

Political Affairs (D) No end to South China Sea disputes without code of conduct Gilang Kembara

129

(E) Flow facilitator Zhai Kun and Deng Han

131

(F) Cambodia makes its own ways, not a US lackey Ge Hongliang

134

(G) How to defuse South China Sea tensions? He Yafei

136

(H) China-US rivalry on Mekong mainland Thitinan Pongsudhirak

138

Economic Affairs (I) China-ASEAN partnership bucks global recession and fragmentation trend Luo Yongkun vii

141


(J) RCEP to deepen China-ASEAN economic cooperation Cai Zhenwei and Xu Xiaodong

144

Socio-cultural Affairs (K) China announced new climate goal. But it can’t quit coal just yet. Joanna Lewis

146

(L) Women’s rise epitomizes China’s development Wang Wen

149

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Preface

With economic reforms and the opening up of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the outside world by Deng Xioaping and post-Deng leaders, China is now the largest economy (on a purchasing power parity basis). All indications show that China will be a superpower. The meteoric rise of China in the 21st century signals the successful comeback of China in regaining its respectful place in regional and international affairs. It also means challenges as well as opportunities for other parts of the world, especially for countries in the Asia Pacific region. For many of us, the big question is: how should we deal with such a rising superpower? Other questions may include the following: Is China’s rise going to be sustained? What are the new directions mapped out by Xi Jinping to develop China? What sort of developmental challenges will it face? Is China a threat according to some analysts? How can we promote a winwin relationship with China? How can we manage our problems, if any, with China in order to preserve peace and development? To answer these questions, the Asian Research Center for International Development (ARCID) of the School of Social Innovation at Mae Fah Luang University has launched the China Watch Project with a grant from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). We would like to express our thanks to the TRF for its funding support and suggestions in improving the project proposal. As part and parcel of the China Watch Project, ARCID has established a Monitor and Analysis (M & A) Unit surveying and analyzing major developments in China. Located in Northern Thailand, ARCID would take advantage of its geography and focus its research more on the Mekong region and its relations with East Asia, including China. We hope this strategy could help a young research center to establish a niche in the academic, intellectual and policy community. In this regard, the ARCID China Update, a biannual publication, is produced by the M & A Unit to keep track of the developments in China with special reference to its interactions with the Mekong region. The publication includes a chronology, selected documentation, selected analysis, and at times, ix


appendices. Inaugurated in mid-2018, the ARCID China Update is published twice a year with each issue covering developments in China for the immediate past six months. Essentially, the publication is a record of the events and issues under review.

Lee Lai To, Ph.D. Senior Professor and Director ARCID

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Part I The Chronology


(I)The Chronology (July-December 2020) Coronavirus Update July 1

(1) China votes in favor of the UN Security Council draft resolution on Covid-19 to support the Council to take action and use its mandates to tackle the impact of Covid-19. (2) Thailand allows pubs and bars to operate until midnight after the country has no community transmission of Covid-19 for 5 weeks. The country will allow foreigners with work permits, residency, and families in Thailand to enter the country, but have to be quarantined for 14 days. The 14-day quarantine will be exempted for businessmen from China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore if they have certificates to show they were tested upon arrival and had no coronavirus. Thailand reports 3,169 Covid-19 cases with 58 deaths.

July 2

The total number of Covid-19 cases is 3,179. The death toll is 58 in Thailand, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)

July 7

Beijing, China reports zero new confirmed cases for the first time in 26 days, according to the municipal health commission.

July 9

(1) The CCSA reports 3,202 confirmed cases with 58 deaths. Today is the 45th consecutive day without a domestic case. 5 new cases had returned from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. (2) The World Health Organization (WHO) launches the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. The panel is co-chaired by Helen Clark, the former New Zealand Prime Minister, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former Liberian President. It will review the work of the WHO and how countries respond to WHO’s warnings. It will present the interim report in November and the substantive report in May 2021.

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July 11

Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports reports that the number of Covid-19 cases rose to 326 as of July 10.

July 14

The number of confirmed cases is 3,227 in Thailand. The death toll remains at 58, according to the CCSA. Today is the 50th day without a domestic case since May.

July 15

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has suspended all flights of Thai Lion Air route between Bangkok and Guangzhou and Thai AirAsia X route between Bangkok and Tianjin from July 20 to July 27 after they founded passengers on flights tested positive for Covid-19.

July 17

(1) As of July 16, mainland China has 83,622 confirmed cases with 4,634 deaths, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). (2) Cambodia's Health Ministry reports the total number of Covid-19 infections rises to 171 with no death. (3) The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has ordered the implementation of new regulations for international flights after the CAAC banned flights of Thai Lion Air and Thai AirAsia X. The new regulations state that Thai flights and chartered flights that land in Thailand for any purpose cannot allow passengers to leave the plane. The new regulations also require a Covid-19 medical certificate from all passengers before they buy the tickets. The new regulations aim to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. (4) The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approves a loan worth US$100 million to Vietnam’s Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank to sustain business activities affected by the pandemic.

July 20

(1) The CCSA reports 3,250 confirmed cases in Thailand as of July 20. The fatalities remain at 58. There has been no domestic case for 56 days. The

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total number of Covid-19 cases worldwide is 14.6 million. The death toll is 608,000. Thailand ranks 101st of the country with the greatest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. (2) The WHO’s data shows that there are at least 24 Covid-19 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and another 142 in preclinical evaluation. July 23

Vietnam suspends all imports of wild animal species and vows to eliminate illegal markets across the country as the sale of wildlife has been blamed as the origin of the coronavirus pandemic in China.

July 25

Vietnam has found the first case of community transmission since April 16 in Danang, according to the Ministry of Health. Vietnam has recorded 416 confirmed cases with no death.

July 27

(1) Vietnam evacuates 80,000 people from Danang as 3 residents were tested positive for Covid-19. The evacuation will take at least 4 days by domestic airlines. Most of the people are local tourists. (2) The CCSA reports 3,295 confirmed cases in Thailand with 58 deaths. It was the 63rd day without domestic cases.

July 28

(1) Vietnam suspends all flights and bus and train services to and from Danang for 15 days, according to the Vietnamese government. (2) The total number of confirmed cases worldwide exceeds 16,341,920 with 650,805 deaths, according to the WHO.

August 3

(1) The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand is 3,320 with 58 deaths, according to the CCSA. It was the 70th day without domestic cases since May. Thailand is ranked 110th among countries with the greatest number of cases in the world. (2) Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program Mike Ryan admits that Wuhan may not be the origin of the novel coronavirus after

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the WHO team concluded its mission in China from July 11 to August 2 to identify the source of the virus. August 4

(1) Vietnam’s Ministry of Health reports that the total number of Covid-19 cases is 652 with 8 deaths. (2) Cambodia’s Health Ministry reports that the country has recorded a total of 241 confirmed cases with no death.

August 9

The number of confirmed cases in Vietnam rose to 841. The death toll was up to 11, according to the Ministry of Health. All 31 new cases are linked to the central city of Danang.

August 10

Data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University shows that the global Covid-19 cases reached 20,001,019 with a total of 733,897 deaths worldwide.

August 14

(1) The CCSA reports 3,376 confirmed cases in Thailand. The death toll remains unchanged at 58. (2) Vietnam’s Health Ministry has registered to buy a Russian Covid-19 vaccine that would be rolled out within 2 weeks, according to Vietnam Television (VTV). The country reports a total of 911 infections with 21 deaths. The Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC) in Nha Trang City, partnering with New York City-based Icahn School of Medicine and the global health non-profit organization PATH, has developed a Covid-19 vaccine which is expected to begin the first phase of human trials in October. Vaccine and Biological Production No.1 Company (Vabiotech) under the Ministry of Health, partnering with the UK-based University of Bristol, expects to conduct its vaccine trials on a small group of people early next year. Two other companies are researching a vaccine. They are the Center for Immunization Vaccines POLYVAC partnering with the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, and Nanogen Biopharmaceutical company in Ho Chi Minh City.

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August 19

Chula Vaccine Research Center of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand has started the Chula-19 vaccine development program in March. The center expects to start the human trial in November or the end of this year.

August 20

Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports reports that the total number of confirmed cases rose to 396. The death toll stands at 6.

August 26

The number of confirmed cases in Myanmar is up to 574 with 6 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

August 29

China’s National Health Commission reports that the number of confirmed cases in the mainland is 85,022 with 4,634 deaths as of August 28.

September 2

The report of Thailand’s Health Ministry shows that the country has reported no local transmission of Covid-19 for 100 days since May 26. The country reports 3,425 confirmed cases with 58 deaths as of September 2.

September 3

Beijing resumes direct international flights from 8 countries that have reported fewer infections, including Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, and Canada as the outbreak has been contained, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). However, arrivals have to be quarantined for 14 days and take 2 Covie-19 tests.

September 4

WHO Spokesperson Margaret Harris says that the WHO does not expect widespread vaccination until the middle of 2021. WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that the WHO will not endorse a vaccine if it is not effective and safe.

September 7

Cambodia reopens schools after 6-month closure due to the pandemic. However, schools, teachers, and students must strictly follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of the virus. The Ministry of Health reports that there are 274 confirmed cases with no death in the country so far.

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September 8

The Hong Kong government announces to relax social distancing measures as the Covid-19 spread has slowed down. Some entertainment venues will reopen from September 11. Group gathering and dining will be relaxed from 2 to 4 people.

September 11

(1) Cambodia’s Ministry of Health reports that all 274 Covid-19 patients had recovered. The country has no new case since the end of August. (2) The number of confirmed cases in Myanmar is 2,265. The death toll is at 14, according to the Ministry of Health. The country imposed new lockdown measures on September 10 as it fights against the second wave of infections. (3) Thailand confirms 3,461 Covid-19 cases as of September 11. The death toll remains unchanged at 58, according to the CCSA.

September 13

The NHC reports 85,194 confirmed cases in mainland China. The death toll is at 4,634.

September 14

Authorities call on 8 border prefectures and 25 border counties in Yunnan province, including Ruili City which borders Myanmar to enhance border management, and a crackdown on illegal border crossings as the province reported 2 imported cases from Myanmar on September 13. Ruili City will be put under lockdown and all residents will be given nucleic acid tests, according to Ruili government officials. The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar contacts the health and foreign affairs officials of Myanmar via a videoconference. Both sides agree to work together to coordinate border anti-epidemic prevention and control and prevent illegal border crossing.

September 16

(1) Myanmar has remodeled 3 hospitals in Yangon to treat Covid-19 patients. The government has built a field hospital with 500 beds on a football pitch. (2) The repatriation flight of Thai Airways International (THAI) brings 75 Thai citizens who had been stranded by the pandemic from Hong Kong to

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Thailand. Thailand's Foreign Ministry, the Hong Kong consulate, and THAI's staff organize the flight. Arrivals have to be quarantined for 14 days. September 21

All residents of Ruili City have been tested for the Covid-19. No local cases or local transmissions have been detected, according to Ruili Municipal Communist Party Committee Secretary Gong Yunzun. The 7-day lockdown has ended.

September 22

The Thai government approves the allocation of 204 million baht from the central budget of this year to fund emergency disease controls. The Public Health Ministry will use this budget in case the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic happens.

September 25

Thai Airways International (THAI) partnered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, and the Royal Thai Consulate in Guangzhou operates the flight to bring 12 Thais from Guangzhou back to Thailand.

September 26

(1) The total number of confirmed cases worldwide is 32,589,992 with 989,432 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. (2) Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports reports 9,991 confirmed cases with 198 deaths.

September 28

(1) The CCSA reports that the total number of Covid19 cases in Thailand is 3,545. The death toll rose to 59. (2) There were 11,631 confirmed cases in Myanmar as of September 28. The death toll rose to 256, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

September 29

As of September 29, the total number of Covid-19 cases in mainland China had reached 85,403 with 4,634 deaths, according to the NHC.

October 1

The CCSA reports 3,569 confirmed cases in Thailand. The death toll is unchanged at 59.

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October 2

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech on television and urges people to follow Covid-19 rules and regulations.

October 4

The Three Pagodas border checkpoint in Sangkhla Buri District, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand extends the closure for another 2 weeks to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic from Myanmar. Myanmar reports 17,794 confirmed cases with 412 deaths so far.

October 5

Thailand's National Vaccine Committee is planning to set aside 2.93 billion baht to purchase 66 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines for 33 million Thais (50 percent of the population) within the next year. The committee will reserve the vaccines through 2 methods. The first will be to reserve vaccines via the Covax campaign of the WHO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the Vaccine Alliance. The second will be to reserve doses with 10 manufacturers in the US, China, UK, and Russia, according to Public Health Ministry Spokesperson Dr. Phanprapha Yongtrakul.

October 8

China signs an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to officially join COVAX. China will strengthen vaccine cooperation with relevant countries through the COVAX network. The Chinese government supports Chinese vaccine R&D companies in participating in COVAX and providing vaccines for developing countries through this channel, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying.

October 9

(1) Thai officials are in talks with several Chinese, Russian, and British vaccine developers, according to Director of the National Vaccine Institute Nakorn Premsri. Thailand is developing its vaccine research program as well. (2) The Myanmar government reports 23,906 confirmed cases with 566 deaths. Yangon has reported the highest number of cases in the country.

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October 10

There are 3,634 confirmed cases in Thailand with 59 deaths, according to the CCSA.

October 16

The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand rises to 3,669, according to the CCSA. The death toll remains at 59. Thailand ranks 142nd in terms of cases, while the US tops the list, followed by India, Brazil, Russia, and Spain.

October 17

China’s Biosafety Law is passed at a session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) and will take effect on April 15, 2021. The new law aims to strengthen biosafety management and improve biosafety governance in preventing and controlling major risks, including outbreaks of infectious diseases.

October 19

The CCSA reports 3,691 confirmed cases with 59 deaths in Thailand.

October 21

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announces that the country will continue to suspend outbound group tours due to the resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

October 26

The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Myanmar extends a ban on international commercial flights and issuance of all types of visas until the end of November to contain the spread of the outbreak ahead of the general elections.

October 30

China's NHC reports 85,973 confirmed cases in the mainland with 4,634 deaths. Cambodia reports 291 confirmed cases with no deaths. Laos reports 24 Covid-19 cases with no death. Myanmar reports 51,496 confirmed cases with 1,219 deaths. Vietnam reports 1,177 confirmed cases with 35 deaths. Thailand reports 3,775 confirmed cases with 59 deaths.

November 7

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry approves a proposal to shorten a quarantine period from 14 to 10 days for low-risk countries such as China, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The CCSA reports 3,830 confirmed cases in Thailand. The death toll rises to 60.

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November 9

(1) The Chinese government announced that imported cold chain food, loading and transporting carriers, and the inner and outer packaging must be thoroughly disinfected before going on sale to minimize the risk of bringing in Covid-19 through cold chain food, according to the State Council. (2) China’s NHC reports 86,267 confirmed cases in mainland China with 4,634 deaths as of November 9. (3) The WHO reports that the total number of confirmed cases worldwide is 50,030,121. The death toll is 1,252,072. The US remains at the top in both confirmed cases and deaths, followed by India and Brazil. The US, UK, China, Russia, France, and Germany are racing to find a vaccine. 202 Covid-19 candidate vaccines were being developed worldwide as of November 3. 47 of them were in clinical trials.

November 16

The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand increases to 3,875 with 60 deaths, according to the CCSA.

November 18

5 Chinese vaccines are in Phase III clinical trials, including "WIBP" "BIBP" inactivated vaccines developed by the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), the inactivated vaccine developed by Sinova Biotech Company, the adenoviral vector vaccine jointly developed by the Academic of Military Sciences and the Chinese biotech company Cansino, and the recombinant protein vaccine developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biologic Pharmacy, according to Chinese Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a regular press conference.

November 23

Thailand's National Vaccine Institute announces that 2 of 7 Covid-19 vaccine candidates will enter the human trial stage. The candidates include the mRNA vaccine developed by Chula Vaccine Research Centre (Chula VRC) and the DNA vaccine developed by BioNet-Asia.

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November 30

(1) Thailand has 3,998 confirmed cases with 60 deaths, according to the CCSA. Myanmar reports 90,713 confirmed cases with 1,941 deaths. Laos reports 39 Covid-19 cases with no deaths. There are 323 confirmed cases with no deaths in Cambodia and 1,349 confirmed cases with 35 deaths in Vietnam. (2) WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reports that the WHO has assembled an international team of 10 scientists to investigate the suspect animals and how the first Covid-19 patients may have been infected to trace the origins of the virus.

December 3

Thailand will start its Covid-19 vaccination program in May 2021, according to the Department of Disease Control (DDC)’s action plan. A program to monitor any adverse side effects will run from July 2021 to January 2022. The total number of confirmed cases rises to 4,039 with 60 deaths, according to the CCSA.

December 12

The CCSA reports 4,192 confirmed cases in Thailand. The death toll remains unchanged at 60. Thailand ranks 151th globally, while the US tops the ranking of most cases, followed by India, Brazil, Russia, and France.

December 14

Cambodia has closed schools, museums, cinemas, and theatres, banned mass gatherings in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and expanded contact tracing to more provinces to control the outbreak.

December 17

The WHO praises Thailand’s unity to success in tackling the pandemic, according to WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at an online meeting held by the National Health Commission Office (NHCO).

December 21

(1) The number of confirmed cases in Thailand increases to 5,289 with 60 deaths after the country has found the outbreak in Samut Sakhon Province. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assigns the Public Health Ministry to prepare for a new lockdown in case the pandemic is out of control.

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(2) Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urges agencies to create the best conditions for domestic units to conduct vaccine research at the cabinet meeting. The Vietnam Military Medical University under the Ministry of Health will work with the Institute of Biotechnology under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and other agencies to develop a vaccine research and development center for the prevention and control of human infectious diseases. December 24

(1) Thailand’s Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry works with 5 major mobile operators to update migrant workers on Covid-19 related information through SMS messages to curb the spread of the virus. The message will be in Burmese, Khmer, and English. (2) The CCSA announces that Covid-19 control zoning will be imposed in Thailand, based on the number and degree of new cases. The New Year celebrations are allowed under strict conditions. Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) reports that a total of 885 schools nationwide are closed temporarily for 12 days starting from December 25 to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

December 30

China’s Sinopharm announces that its coronavirus vaccine is in Phase 3 clinical trials and 79.34 percent effective, according to the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a Sinopharm subsidiary. The vaccine is a type of inoculation using particles of the pathogen. The United Arab Emirates is the first foreign country to approve a China-developed Covid19 vaccine Sinopharm. It was 86 percent effective in the country. However, Chinese vaccines have been struggling to gain international trust.

December 31

China's NHC receives reports of 87,701 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths in the mainland. Thailand reports 6,884 confirmed cases and the death toll rises to 61. There are 41 confirmed cases with no deaths in Laos. Myanmar reports 124,630 confirmed cases with 2,682 deaths. 366 confirmed cases with

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no deaths are reported in Cambodia. Vietnam has 1,465 confirmed cases and the death toll is at 35.

(A) Foreign Affairs July 1

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha exchanges a congratulatory message with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of China-Thailand diplomatic relations. The message reflects the journey of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. China is ready to work with Thailand to cooperate in the Covid-19 response, pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and contribute to the economic recovery and sustainable development.

July 3

Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanges messages with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Xi appreciated that Hun Sen sent him a letter on the occasion of the CPC’s 99th founding anniversary to express wishes and views on deepening ties of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Both sides are willing to exchange and cooperate on party affairs and advance the building of a China-Cambodia community with a shared future.

July 13

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying announces at a regular press conference that 2 WHO experts have already arrived in China after the Chinese government has agreed to WHO sending experts to Beijing for working with Chinese scientists and medical experts to trace the origin of Covid-19.

July 14

(1) The Thai government has temporarily suspended the entry of foreign diplomats and their families, privileged foreigners, and business representatives under special arrangements in a response to the 9-year-old daughter of a Sudanese that got a Covid-19 infection. (2) President Xi Jinping holds a telephone talk with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. China is 15 The Chronology


ready to work with Thailand to strengthen solidarity and cooperation among regional countries. Both sides will work together on the Covid-19 response and economic development. They will support the synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Thailand's development strategies, deepen bilateral relations, and enhance cooperation on trade, innovation, poverty reduction, and so on. July 16

Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung co-chair a video meeting of Secretaries-General of the ChinaVietnam Steering for Bilateral Cooperation. They exchange views on bilateral relations and discuss issues regarding the South China Sea and Covid-19 response.

July 17-23

The China Cultural Center in Bangkok donates masks, pandemic prevention materials, and the Zhuang people’s medical sachets from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to Thai cultural sectors. Chinese Ambassador Chang Yumeng and Director of the China Center and China Tourism Office in Bangkok Gu Hongxing attend the donation ceremonies.

July 21

(1) Premier Li Keqiang holds a videoconference meeting with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. China will make efforts to prepare the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders’ Meeting that was postponed due to the pandemic and the series of leaders’ meetings on East Asian cooperation. China will push forward the signing of RCEP by the end of this year. Both sides are willing to promote cooperation on the China-Laos economic corridor and construction of major projects. (2) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh co-chair the 12th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation via videoconference. Both sides review and summarize the work which had been done since the last meeting. They want to strengthen strategic communication and boost

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cooperation in the Covid-19 response and other areas. They discuss the South China Sea issue and express their willingness to safeguard peace and stability in the area. (3) The Thai government announces that foreigners stranded in the country can apply for a visa extension after their visas expire on July 31. They can stay in the country until September 26. July 22

Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has approved the entry of foreign business representatives, specialists, diplomats, migrant workers, exhibitors, film crews, medical tourists, and Thailand Elite card members to stimulate the economy.

August 8

President Xi Jinping sends a message of condolence to Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong over the passing of Le Kha Phieu, former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

August 23

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh attend an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the delimitation of the China-Vietnam boundary on land as well as the 10th anniversary of setting up pillars to demarcate the border. Both sides examine the boundary stones of China and Vietnam. They hold talks in Dongxing, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region to promote China-Vietnam relations and cooperation in the border areas, synergize the BRI and Vietnam's "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" plan in the border areas, build cross-border tourism cooperation and border economic cooperation zones, and contribute to China-ASEAN cooperation and regional economic integration. Both sides agree to enhance cooperation in the management of border affairs, security issues, operation of ports, and disease prevention.

September 1

Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs

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Commission of the CPC Central Committee meets with Myanmar President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw. Both sides are willing to work together to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and overcome its impact. They agree to advance the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, promote people-to-people exchanges and economic growth, and support China-ASEAN and Lancang-Mekong frameworks. September 4

Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Assistant Foreign Minister Deng Li meet with diplomatic envoys of ASEAN countries in China. Lui Zhaohui calls for cooperation to further strengthen cooperation in fighting against the pandemic, revive the economy, make a good work plan for 2021, and advance consultation of the COC in the South China Sea and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

September 9

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds a videoconference with ASEAN foreign ministers to emphasize regional cooperation and against US unilateralism. He says that China has no intention to seek hegemony. China will prioritize ASEAN countries for the Covid-19 vaccine.

September 10

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes its Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China on the 75th Anniversary of the UN. The topics include the role of the UN, international situation, sustainable development, and cooperation in the fight against the Covid-19.

September 15

The Thai government approves long-term tourist visas for foreign tourists who agree to be quarantined for 14 days and stay in the country for at least 90 days. Visitors can come into the country for tourism or health services.

September 16

The Chinese Embassy to Cambodia accuses the US Department of Treasury's sanctions on the Chinese developer Union Development Group Company Limited (UDG) in Cambodia on September 15. The

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sanctions violate the firm's legitimate rights and Cambodia's sovereignty. September 23

(1) President Xi Jinping has a videoconference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. They are willing to work together to strengthen international cooperation and joint prevention and containment of the pandemic, build a global community of health for all, reduce the Covid-19 impact on the economy and people's livelihood, and support multilateralism to tackle crises and challenges. (2) Chinese Foreign Ministry and the National Immigration Administration announced that the country will allow the entry of foreign nationals to hold visas in 3 categories, including valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters, and reunion, starting from September 28.

September 28

The CCSA meeting chaired by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approves a Special Tourist Visa (STV). Foreign visitors are required to have a Covid19 test taken 72 hours before departure, buy Covid19 health insurance, and sign a letter of consent agreeing to comply with the government’s Covid-19 measures. They will be quarantined for 14 days.

September 29

President Xi Jinping holds talks with Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong on the phone to promote bilateral relations, fight against the Covid19 pandemic, synergize the BRI and “Two Corridors and One Economic Circle” plan of Vietnam, and safeguard multilateralism.

October 3

Thailand's Foreign Ministry reveals the details of the Special Tourist Visa (STV) for long-stay tourists. Visitors will be allowed to stay in the country for 90 days and renew the visa twice for 90 days each time. They must come from low Covid-19 risk countries and can check which countries are permitted to enter Thailand by the Public Health Ministry. They have to provide a certificate of eligibility, proof of payment for state or hospital quarantine for 14 days, full payment for post-quarantine accommodation or ownership of accommodation, a Thai health and

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accident insurance policy with at least 400,000-baht inpatient coverage and 40,000-baht outpatient coverage, and a health insurance policy with at least US$100,000 (3.16 million baht) coverage for Covid19 treatment. October 11-12

On October 11, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pays an official visit to Cambodia. He meets with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong in Phnom Penh. They are willing to work together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and support bilateral cooperation such as trade, investment, and information technology (IT). China will provide vaccines for Cambodia and buy more agricultural products from Cambodia. On October 12, Wang Yi meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Both sides want to support each other in battling with the pandemic, promote socio-economic development, uphold principles in international affairs, and safeguard regional and global peace and stability. They attend the signing ceremony of the China-Cambodia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). It is inked virtually between Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan and Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak. This is the first FTA for Cambodia. Wang Yi holds talks with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn to promote cooperation such as the RCEP, ChinaASEAN relations, the LMC, water resources cooperation, and multilateralism. They agree to establish a "fast lane" and "green lane" for personnel and logistics between the two countries.

October 14

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Laos. He meets with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit in Vientiane. Both sides are willing to work together to develop traditional friendship, promote the BRI through leveraging the China-Laos Economic Corridor, and expand bilateral trade and investment. Wang Yi meets with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. He says that China is willing to strengthen

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anti-epidemic cooperation with Laos and provide Covid-19 vaccines. Both sides want to promote the BRI, the China-Laos Economic Corridor, the ChinaLaos Railway, and strengthen cooperation on infrastructure, financial and economic fields. Wang Yi holds talks with Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith. Both sides will ensure the signing of the RCEP, promote regional cooperation on the blue economy and digital economy, advance the synergy of the LMC and the New Land-Sea Corridor, and upgrade relations between China and ASEAN. They announce the launch of the fast lane for personal exchanges and agree to build a green lane for logistics. China agrees to support 3 projects of Laos, including its support to provide materials to combat dengue fever for Laos, roll out of Phase 2 of the infrastructure rural development project, and offer the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for 97 percent of Laos’ export products. October 14-15

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Thailand to strengthen the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Thailand. He meets with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in Bangkok. China wants to advance bilateral relations in the post-Covid-19 era. Both sides are willing to implement joint prevention and control and strengthen vaccine cooperation, synergize the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with the Greater Bay Area (GBA), support the BRI, and uphold multilateralism. They agree to build a fast lane and a green lane for the flow of people and goods. Wang Yi holds talks with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai. Both sides want to enhance anti-epidemic collaboration and vaccine cooperation, establish the fast lane and the green lane, advance the construction of the BRI, speed up the building of the China-Thailand HighSpeed Rail project, and promote the synergy of the EEC with the GBA. They are willing to work together to ensure the signing of the RCEP, support the LMC and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic

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Cooperation (ACMECS), and maintain peace and stability in the region. October 20

(1) Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui attends and delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship program. The event is held online. The Young Leaders Scholarship program aims to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides. (2) The Chinese Embassy in Cambodia provides emergency relief to about 800 flood-hit families in Dangkor District, Phnom Penh. Chinese Ambassador Wang Wentian, Cambodian President of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia Hun Many, and Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng distribute the relief items at 3 locations in the district.

October 21

China donates hygiene and learning supplies to 3,064 community pre-schools across Cambodia through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The ceremonial handover is held at the Prek Pnov District’s education office.

October 22

China's National Health Commission and Myanmar's Ministry of Health and Sports co-host a webinar on Covid-19. Participants share experience in preventing and controlling the pandemic, views on testing, guidelines, vaccine Research and Development (R&D), and other issues.

October 23

China’s Ministry of Public Security donates law enforcement vehicles to the Lao Ministry of Public Security. The handover ceremony is held in Vientiane, according to Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong.

October 27

(1) Thailand's Immigration Bureau reminds foreigners to submit their applications for an extension of temporary stay before October 31. (2) Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui holds a videoconference with Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung to exchange 22 The Chronology


ideas on the preparation for the East Asian leaders’ meeting on cooperation. China supports Vietnam’s rotating chairmanship of ASEAN and cooperates with Vietnam in hosting the East Asian leaders’ meetings on cooperation. Luo Zhaohui proposes that the meetings should address sensitive issues properly such as the South China Sea issues, focus on development and facilitate the fight against the pandemic, and grasp the direction for the development of East Asia through cooperation. November 2

The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar donates medical equipment, including low-pressure suction machine, oxygen hood, LED phototherapy units, infant radiant warmer, spot lamp, vacuum extractor, isoflurane evaporation can, surgical instrument cabinet, and medicine cabinet to the Daw Khin Kyi Women’s Hospital in Myanmar.

November 3

Authorities in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture entrusted by the Border and Sea Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and arranged by the Yunnan Government donate antiepidemic supplies worth US$74,750 to the border cities in Myanmar.

November 6

(1) President Xi Jinping awards Cambodian Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk the Friendship Medal of the People's Republic of China in Beijing as a sign of the Chinese people's great respect for her and their intimate friendship between China and Cambodia. Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan meet with Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk on the same day to carry forward the friendship. (2) The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar donates 240,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports in Yangon to overcome the pandemic.

November 8

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with diplomatic envoys of the ASEAN countries to strengthen solidarity, uphold multilateralism and free trade, advance the COC in

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the South China Sea, and maintain peace and stability in the region. November 11

China’s Yunnan Province donates medical supplies to Myanmar to fight against the pandemic. The supplies include 46,000 N95 masks, 30,000 goggles, 30,000 protective suits, and 10 ventilators worth about US$1.2 million.

November 16

President Xi Jinping sends a letter congratulating Aung San Suu Kyi on Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD)’s victory in the election held on November 8. China is ready to work with Myanmar to enhance the political guidance for the relations between the two countries, promote cooperation within the frameworks of the BRI and the ChinaMyanmar Economic Corridor, and maintain peace in the border areas.

November 25

The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) gives 50,000 Panda Packs with stationaries and hygiene supplies to Lao students in Ban Nongveng Primary School in Vientiane. The CFPA launched the Panda Pack Project with Alibaba Philanthropy in 2019 to help the quality education in neighboring countries and BRI countries. The CFPA works with the Lao Committee for Peace and Solidarity to run this project in Laos with the support from the Lao Ministry of Education.

November 27

Yunnan Province built a nucleic acid test laboratory and sent a medical team to install the equipment and train local technical staff in Laos. The handover and inauguration ceremony of the laboratory is held in Vientiane. Chinese Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Laos Xiang Fangqiang and Lao Deputy Health Minister Khamphone Phouthavong attend the ceremony.

December 8

Thai Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek reveals that Thailand will be opened to tourists worldwide under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) long-stay program. Travelers have to comply with 14-day mandatory quarantine.

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December 12

China’s Hubei provincial government donates medical supplies, including 30,000 personal protective equipment (PPE), 30,000 isolation gowns, 42,000 N95 masks, and 150,000 surgical masks to the Department of Medical Research under the Ministry of Health and Sports of Myanmar.

December 22

President Xi Jinping holds talks on the phone with Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith. They are willing to deepen strategic communication, promote the synergy of their development strategies, support the construction of the China-Laos Economic Corridor and China-Laos Railway, expand cooperation in fields, such as culture and education, youth and tourism, and strengthen coordination in international and regional affairs.

December 23

China congratulates Laos on the VientianeVangvieng section of the China-Laos expressway, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian. It is jointly constructed by the Lao government and China's Yunnan Construction and Investment Holding Group. It was inaugurated on December 20, 13 months ahead of schedule. The expressway shortens the travel time from Vientiane to Vangvieng from 3.5 hours to 1 hour.

(B) Political Affairs July 1

Representatives from more than 70 countries, including Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Cambodia, welcome and support China’s enactment of the national security law for Hong Kong at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

July 4

The USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz aircraft carriers hold exercises in the South China Sea, according to the US Navy. China also holds drills in the same time frame on July 1-5 near the Paracel Islands, according to China’s Maritime Safety Administration.

July 9

Chinese Ministry of National Defense Spokesperson Ren Guoqiang made remarks against the US's claim 25 The Chronology


that the Chinese drills in the South China Sea on July 1-5 were counter-productive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability. He says that the drills were aimed at boosting the Chinese military's maritime defense capability and were not aimed at any specific country or target. July 14

(1) The Chinese Embassy in the US and the Chinese Foreign Ministry opposed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement on the South China Sea on July 13 that most of China's maritime claims in the South China Sea were completely unlawful. China does not intend to build an empire in the South China Sea and it wants to safeguard peace and stability. China has a positive relationship with ASEAN, while the US is a non-regional country that repeatedly stirs up trouble regarding the South China Sea for its agenda. (2) The Chinese Embassy in Thailand made remarks in a response to the opinion of Mr. Michael George DeSombre, the US Ambassador to Thailand. Mr. DeSombre gave an interview with the Bangkok Post and stated that the US is focusing on the South China Sea to affirm that the South China Sea is a free and open waterway that would not be illegally controlled by China. The Chinese Embassy mentioned that the South China Sea issue should not be a tool for implementing the strategy of containing China by non-regional countries such as the US. (3) Scholars from Tsinghua University’s Centre for International Transboundary Water and EcoSecurity and researchers from the Department of Hydraulics at China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research have found that cascade reservoirs along the Mekong River in China help alleviate the drought downstream. The drought was caused by insufficient rainfall during the wet season, according to the report of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in November 2019.

July 15

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying makes remarks in response to US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell’s remarks. David Stilwell warned that

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there are possible sanctions against Chinese officials and enterprises involved in creating coercion over the South China Sea. Hua Chunying said that China is not afraid of any sanctions that the US might impose and will continue to safeguard its legitimate rights and sovereignty in the South China Sea. July 16

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang makes remarks in response to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying that Vietnam has a full legal foundation and historical evidence to support its sovereignty claims over the Spratly and Paracel Islands and calls for all countries to respect international law.

July 18

The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar releases a statement to refute the false argument in an article by US Embassy in Myanmar Chargé d’Affaires George Sibley that attacks China-Myanmar cooperation and bilateral relations.

July 20-21

The ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials' Meeting, East Asia Summit Senior Officials' Meeting and ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials' Meeting are held via videoconference. At the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials’ Meeting on July 20, participants agree to promote effective cooperation to tackle the pandemic and minimize its impact. They commit to promote regional economic linkage and complete the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The meeting is chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung. Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui attends the meeting. At the East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting on July 20, Luo Zhaohui refutes the accusations made by the US and some Western countries on the South China Sea issue. He says that the US is the troublemaker in the region which furthers complicates the issue and interferes with the consultations on a Code of Conduct (COC) process between China and ASEAN countries. China wants to work with ASEAN to push forward the conclusion of

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the COC consultations to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. At the ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials’ Meeting on July 21, Luo Zhaohui mentions the South China Sea issue and the national security legislation for Hong Kong. All parties agree to further focus on confidence-building measures and enhance practical cooperation for response to the security challenges in the region. July 30

The naval aviation units of the Southern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a routine exercise in the South China Sea to improve combat techniques and all-weather fighting capability, according to Ministry of National Defense Spokesperson Ren Guoqiang. He also urges the US to stop provocative actions in the South China Sea.

August 6

(1) Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang stresses at the regular press conference that the Spratly and Paracel Islands are an inseparable part of Vietnam's territory in response to China's recent military movements in the South China Sea. Vietnam opposes China's activities that violate the country's sovereignty. The country respects and follows the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Vietnam hopes that ASEAN countries will make efforts to contribute to peace and stability and the settlement of disputes via dialogues and peaceful measures by international law. (2) State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe talks on the phone with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper to reiterate China's position on the South China Sea and urges the US to stop the rhetoric and better manage maritime risks. They exchange views on bilateral ties and military relations and exchanges.

August 7

The MRC urged China and other 5 Mekong countries to share more data on hydropower dam operations, as the water flow in the Mekong River record low levels for a second consecutive year.

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August 11

China Central Television (CCTV) reports that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently held a series of anti-aircraft drills off the South China Sea during the time when the US frequently sent warplanes for close-up patrol.

August 18

Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates have supported Thai anti-government protests. Thai protestors used the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance and showed a sign of flags representing Hong Kong and independence for Taiwan. People in Taiwan also gathered to support the Thai protests. The Thai, Hong Kong, and Taiwan governments did not respond to requests for comment on the alliance of activists.

August 18-21

Law-enforcement authorities from China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand kick off the 96th Mekong River joint patrol in the Guanlei Port in Yunnan Province. They hold a videoconference to discuss the security situation on the river.

August 21

The Thai House of Representatives subcommittee voted to approve the navy's procurement of 2 submarines from China. Thai netizens criticize the issue as people were suffering from the pandemic and the purchase of submarines is low priority.

August 24

The 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders’ Meeting is held via a videoconference. The meeting is co-chaired by Premier Li Keqiang and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. At the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang says that China will share the annual hydrological information of the Lancang River with Mekong countries starting from this year to help countries in the lower stream. China will work together with the Mekong countries to establish a Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform. He asks Mekong countries to respect the legitimate rights and interests to develop and utilize water resources. All parties’ interests and concerns should be accommodated. Thailand urges the LMC to work

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with experts at the MRC to develop the informationsharing platform. Li Keqiang proposes synergizing the LMC with the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor to make the trade route more convenient and connect western China with Southeast Asia countries and the Eurasian region. China will provide the Covid-19 vaccines to Mekong countries as a priority when a vaccine is developed and put into use. China will set up special funds for public health under the framework of the LMC Special Fund and provide anti-epidemic material and technical support. China proposes to the Mekong countries to implement the 3-year Action Plan on Agricultural Cooperation (2020-2022) and ensure the success of the LMC Bumper Harvest projects. The Mekong countries are willing to work with China to deepen cooperation on water resources management, the LMC economic development belt, public health, and regional economic integration. August 24-29

The PLA conducts military drills in the South China Sea, according to the Hainan Maritime Safety Administration.

August 25

(1) The 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting is held online to discuss the response to and recovery from the pandemic, the negotiation and signing of the RCEP by the end of this year, the implementation of the economic initiatives in 2020, and the economic relations with partners, including China, Japan, and South Korea. (2) The 1st Destination Mekong Summit is held via videoconference by senior tourism officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) to discuss ways to restore tourism during and after the pandemic. Thailand proposes the "green travel bubble" concept to ease travel restrictions with countries that have low local transmission of Covid-19 infections.

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August 26

The US sends an RC-135S ballistic missile-detection plane for close-up investigation during the PLA’s drills in the South China Sea. On August 25, the US U2 high-altitude aircraft trespassed into a no-fly zone of the PLA exercise restricted zone. China opposes the US trespass and urges the US to stop provocative acts and maintain regional peace and stability, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian. The US imposes sanctions on Chinese enterprises and individuals, including putting 24 Chinese companies in the Entity List and imposing visa restrictions on Chinese individuals relating to constructions in the South China Sea.

August 27

(1) The USS Mustin, a US Navy guided missile destroyer, trespasses into China's territory in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The PLA expels the warship, according to the PLA Southern Theater Command. Chinese Ministry of National Defense Spokesperson Wu Qian says that China will take every measure necessary to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests. (2) The 8th RCEP Ministerial Meeting is held via a videoconference and chaired by Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh. Participants recognized the importance of the RCEP and were pleased with the progress to finalize the agreement for signing. They discuss the remaining issues in finalizing the RCEP negotiation and preparing for the signing within this year.

August 27-28

The 19th China-ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting is held online. Both sides welcome the growth of bilateral trade and investment despite the impacts of the pandemic. ASEAN became China's largest trading partner for the first time in the first half of this year. Participants are willing to strengthen trade and investment cooperation and ensure the enforcement of international rules and the WTO reform. They want to mitigate the economic and social impact of the pandemic.

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At the 23rd ASEAN Economic Ministers Plus Three Consultations on August 28, economic ministers from ASEAN countries, China, Japan, and South Korea agree to take collective actions in mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic. They want to promote economic and social resilience in the region, keep the markets open for trade and investment, and push forward the signing of the RCEP. August 28

(1) The US Department of Defense claims that China fired missiles into the South China Sea. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responds that the accusations are groundless and unreasonable. China’s drills were not targeted at any country. (2) The 4th ASEAN-HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Economic Ministerial Meeting is held online to enhance economic relations and stronger multilateral trading system and utilize the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and the ASEAN-Hong Kong Investment Agreement (AHKIA). Participants share views on a response to the economic impact of the pandemic.

August 31

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has decided to postpone a 22.5 billion baht deal to buy 2 submarines from China to next year due to public concerns about the economy amid the pandemic.

September 1

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivers a speech at the High-level Meeting of the International Seminar on the 75th Anniversary of the UN via a videoconference. He proposed 5 suggestions to safeguard multilateralism and bring the UN to a new level, including upholding the central role of the UN, observing the purposes and principles of the UN, pursuing peace and development, advocating win-win cooperation, and promoting the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

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September 2

The International Symposium on the South China Sea: from the Perspective of Cooperation is held via a videoconference and co-organized by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Institute for South China Sea Studies. Participants from ASEAN countries, Russia, and the United Kingdom attend the symposium. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sends his message to the symposium. He calls for jointly overcoming challenges and safeguarding stability in the South China Sea. China and ASEAN countries should make efforts to conclude the COC in the South China Sea. Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui delivers a keynote speech and stresses that China believes in managing the disputes of the South China Sea through dialogue and cooperation and upholds international rule of law, including UNCLOS. He says that the South China Sea arbitration case cannot solve the issue and China’s position on the case is clear and firm. The US interference creates risks in the South China Sea. China will continue to work with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace in the South China Sea. Participants agree to enhance unity and coordination, safeguard stability, and accelerate the process of the COC consultation. They call on countries outside the region not to create tensions.

September 3

The virtual Group of 20 (G20) Extraordinary Foreign Minister’s Meeting is held and chaired by Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. The meeting highlights coordination of cross-border management to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls on G20 countries to seek agreement on the removal of travel restrictions, invest in systems and practices that support safe travel, and create better coordination in preventive measures to avoid the spread of the virus. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the meeting. He proposes that G20

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cooperation should facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods, make the vaccines accessible and affordable, promote the digital economy, and support countries hardest hit by the pandemic and financial stress. Participants agree to strengthen cooperation to overcome the impact of the pandemic and revitalize the global economy. September 4

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui meets with envoys of the 10 ASEAN member countries in Beijing. He mentions that the US deliberately makes trouble in the South China Sea. China is willing to work together with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability and promote free trade and multilateralism. Both sides exchange ideas on ChinaASEAN relations, East Asia cooperation, and issues of mutual concern.

September 7

Netizens in Thailand urge people to ban the Disney movie Mulan as Liu Yifei, the actress as the title character, voiced support for Hong Kong police that clashed with demonstrators who opposed a controversial law in Hong Kong. The movie was shown in cinemas in Thailand on September 4.

September 8

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responds to an accusation by David Stilwell, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, that China has been manipulating the water flows along the Mekong River. He says the dams in Lancang River maintain the stable flow of the Mekong River and assist flood control and disaster prevention. He calls for trust, understanding, and support among Mekong countries.

September 9-12

The 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings kick off on September 9 via a videoconference. The meeting is chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivers a speech at the opening ceremony to highlight the development of ASEAN, including the progress of the Covid-19

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Response Fund, the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies, and an ASEAN comprehensive recovery plan. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Chinese side proposes a China-ASEAN initiative on public health cooperation and the establishment of a “China-ASEAN vaccine friends.” Both sides want to promote exchanges and cooperation in the post-pandemic period. To promote regional economic recovery, China will give priority to expanding the scale of currency swaps with ASEAN countries and push forward the signing of the RCEP by the end of this year. The meeting wants to further deepen the LMC and cooperation between China and ASEAN to promote sustainable development. Wang Yi says that China and ASEAN should push forward an agreement on the Plan of Action to implement the Joint Declaration on ChinaASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025). On the same day, Wang Yi attends the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. He calls on participants to coordinate the anti-epidemic and development needs, improve public health governance, strengthen cooperation on vaccine development, and promote the establishment of regional networks of fast lanes and green channels to support economic circulation. Participants are willing to adhere to unity, deepen cooperation in public health, economic and trade investment, digital transformation, food security, and so on. Wang Yi attends the 10th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on September 9. He wants to work with EAS members to battle against the pandemic, build a global community of health for all, support the role of WHO, and promote the accessibility and affordability of vaccines. The EAS should take new steps for economic recovery and safeguard regional peace and stability.

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At the EAS meeting, Wang Yi provides the basic facts of the South China Sea issue. China has sovereignty and rights over the South China Sea and follows a policy of friendship with its neighbors as well as commitment to international law, including UNCLOS. The US interferes in the territorial and maritime disputes in the region and disrupts the efforts of China and ASEAN to resolve disputes through consultation. The 27th meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is held on September 12 to promote cooperation to respond and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Participants expand cooperation to include disaster relief, the fight against terrorism and transnational crime, and cybersecurity. September 15

The World Economic Forum (WEF) holds the Special Virtual Dialogue with Global Business Leaders hosted by WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab. Premier Li Keqiang attends and delivers a speech at the Forum. He says that the international community should jointly promote the prevention and control of the pandemic and economic development. He notes that participants should refine macro policy adjustments to maintain sustainability, support multilateralism, uphold trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and restore global industrial and supply chains as soon as possible. He discusses with representatives of business leaders on international governance, global industrial chains, foreign trade, and economic cooperation.

September 16

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin stresses at the press briefing that the US tries to create a conflict on the Mekong water resources issue between China and Mekong countries. The US claims have no scientific basis. China’s hydropower stations help to maintain water flows. The runoff of the Lancang River only accounts for 13.5 percent of the total water volume of the Mekong River, having limited impact on the river. He also criticizes and accuses the US of having double standards and stated that it is groundless for

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the US to say that a Chinese company assists Cambodia in building a military base. September 18

China's State Council Information Office releases the white paper entitled "China's Armed Forces: 30 Years of UN Peacekeeping Operations" to review the country's armed forces in the UN peacekeeping operations over the past 30 years.

September 20

The Council for the Development of Cambodia, Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Company Limited (UDG) respond to US sanctions on UDG, a Chinese company developing the Dara Sakor Resort in Koh Kong Province, Cambodia. On September 15, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned the UDG for seeking and encroaching local people’s lands and destroying the environment for the project. The UDG’s project can be used as a military base.

September 21

President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Highlevel Meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN. He says that the UN should oppose unilateralism in the post-pandemic era, stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote cooperation, and aim at problem-solving and move toward tangible outcomes.

September 22

President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly and announces that China will provide another US$50 million to the UN Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, provide US$50 million to the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase 3), extend the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by 5 years after it expires in 2025, and set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to support the UN’s central role in international affairs.

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September 22-25

The 97th joint patrol on the Mekong River kicks off by China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. 106 lawenforcement officers participate in the operation with vessels.

September 24

(1) The 2nd virtual meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation is held to discuss practical measures of sharing China’s hydrological data with Mekong countries for the whole year. The meeting approves the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the Letter of Intent (LI) on the establishment of the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform. (2) State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi as a representative of President Xi Jinping attends a videoconference of World Leaders held by the UN Security Council and delivers a speech. He raises 5 proposals on improving the global governance system, including following the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, to cope with traditional and nontraditional security threats in a coordinated way, to reinforce coordination and cooperation among major countries, to maintain the international law order, and to strengthen the role of the UN.

September 28

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin urges the US to stop making groundless accusations against China on the South China Sea issue as the US State Department accused that China broke its promise not to militarize the Spratly Islands on September 27. China firmly safeguards its national sovereignty and territorial security.

October 9

The USS John S. McCain enters waters of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The PLA Southern Theater Command warns it off and urges the US to stop provocations in the South China Sea, according to Senior Colonel Zhang Nandong, a spokesperson for the command.

October 19

A group of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists gathers outside the Thai Consulate in Hong Kong to

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support protesters in Thailand demonstrating against the Thai government and monarchy. Thai protesters learn lessons and tactics of demonstrations from Hong Kong protesters, such as using umbrellas as shields, secure chat groups, and hand signals. October 21

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizes the Chinese infrastructure projects in many countries, including Laos on October 20 at a forum on the Three Seas Initiative. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian responds that the US comments are groundless and ill-intentioned. China’s infrastructure projects in Laos help the landlocked country’s development.

October 22

China’s Ministry of Water Resources signs an agreement with the Mekong River Commission (MRC) to share hydrological data with Mekong countries to help them prepare for potential floods and droughts. China will extend its current datasharing schedule to provide year-round data from 2 hydrological stations in Yunjinghong and Manan, Yunnan Province. The information includes rainfall and river level data and will be shared twice a day.

October 23

(1) Cambodian security guards disintegrate a small protest near the Chinese Embassy opposing alleged plans to support China’s military presence in Cambodia. The protest follows the accusation that the Cambodian government has a secret deal to allow China to place its military at the Ream Naval Base. (2) The PLA Southern Theater Command conducts a live-fire exercise over the South China Sea to test the naval aviation unit's combat, commanding, and logistical support capabilities.

October 28

The Thai government extends the emergency decree for another month from the end of October to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul. This is the 8th time that the state of emergency has been extended.

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October 29

The Communist Party of China (CPC) concludes the 5th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and adopts the Party leadership’s proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. China implements a new “dual circulation” development strategy to balance between development and economic security and allow the domestic and foreign markets to boost one another.

November 4

The 24th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Ministerial Conference is held online under the theme “Paving the way to more integrated, inclusive, sustainable and prosperous GMS.” Thai Deputy Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam proposes a labor mobility panel to prevent and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Participants will promote greater regional connectivity and closer trade links among GMS countries under the 2022 regional investment framework. They agree in principle to a new strategic framework for projects until 2032, including action plans to mitigate impacts of Covid19 and a draft plan on rehabilitation and response to impacts of the pandemic.

November 12-15

The 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings are held online under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN.” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the meeting. ASEAN leaders approve the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and its Implementation Plan which is the strategy to recover from the pandemic. They agree with the establishment of a regional reserve of medical supplies and the plan to set up a regional center on public health emergencies and emerging diseases. They adopt the ASEAN Declaration on an ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework and the ASEAN Strategic Framework on Public Health Emergencies. Premier Li Keqiag attends and delivers a speech at the 23rd ASEAN-China Leaders’ Meeting on

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November 12. He calls on parties to overcome the impact of Covid-19 and accelerate consultations on the COC on the South China Sea. China is willing to work with ASEAN to fight against the pandemic, improve public health cooperation, boost regional economic recovery, create highlights in the digital economy, promote sustainable development, and strengthen preparedness for risks. The meeting issues the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025) and the Initiative on Building ASEAN-China Partnership on Digital Economy. The meeting announces that 2021 will be the China-ASEAN Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation. Li Keqiang attends and delivers a speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit on November 13. He mentions that ASEAN has become China's largest trading partner and bilateral economic and industrial relationships have become closer. He calls on participants to promote regional economic recovery, advance technology, and highlight new cooperation in new fields such as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. On November 14, Li Keqiang attends the 23rd ASEAN Plus China, Japan, and South Korea Summit. He proposes that participants should strengthen public health capacity building, accelerate the construction of FTAs, facilitate the industrial and supply chains of the region, promote the digital economy and sustainable development in East Asia. The meeting adopts the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders' Statement on Enhancing ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation to Promote Economic and Financial Resilience in the Emerging Challenges. At the 15th East Asia Summit on November 14, Li Keqiang urges participants to focus on development and expand cooperation to overcome challenges amid the pandemic. They should promote vaccine accessibility and affordability. Li Keqiang urges a regional network of fast lanes of personnel exchanges and green lanes of logistics. Regarding the

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South China Sea issue, China is firmly resolved in safeguarding regional peace and stability. The meeting adopts the East Asia Summit Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation to Promote Steady Growth of Regional Economy. The 4th RCEP Leaders’ Meeting is held on November 15. The RCEP agreement is signed among its 15 participating countries at the meeting, launching the world’s largest free trade deal. The trade pact covers 2.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$26.2 trillion. Li Keqiang and other state leaders attend and witness the RCEP signing ceremony. Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan signs the agreement on behalf of China. Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit represents Thailand at the signing. The deal will come into force when 6 ASEAN countries and 3 dialogue partners ratify the deal. RCEP negotiation began in 2012 at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh. November 18

The CCSA extends the emergency decree nationwide from December 1 to January 15, 2021, to curb the Covid-19 infections in Thailand.

November 19

President Xi Jinping attends and delivers a speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Dialogues via a videoconference. He vows openness to trade and warns against protectionism in a global economy. China strives to foster a new development paradigm, maintain further opening-up, and deepen international cooperation. The Asia-Pacific should promote regional cooperation to fight against the pandemic and advance trade and investment liberalization.

November 20

The 27th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting hosted by Malaysia is held online to discuss the response to the pandemic and adopt the APEC Post-2020 Vision entitled "the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040," which replaces the 1994 Bogor Goals, to promote free trade and regional connectivity. President Xi Jinping attends the meeting and calls for a joint fight against Covid-19 and economic slowdown. He stresses that

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the region should promote openness and inclusiveness, accelerate innovation-driven growth, enhance regional connectivity, and push for mutually beneficial cooperation. November 21-22

The 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia is held via a videoconference. President Xi Jinping attends the summit and delivers a speech. He mentions that the G20 should build a global firewall against Covid-19, ensure the smooth functioning of the global economy, harness the role of the digital economy, and pursue more inclusive development. China will prioritize the strengthening of international cooperation on vaccine development and promote equal distribution. Xi Jinping stresses the need to uphold the vision of prioritizing development, advance global poverty reduction, and adopt comprehensive and balanced policies. He calls for creating a favorable international economic environment. Participants want to support developing countries to overcome the impact of Covid-19 and achieve economic recovery and growth. They also promote green and low-carbon development and reduction of carbon emissions. On November 22, Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the Leaders’ Side Event of Safeguarding the Planet of the G20 Riyadh Summit. He proposes to strengthen the response to climate change, deepen the transition toward clean energy, and protect the ecosystem with a respect for nature. The meeting adopts Leaders’ Declaration of G20 Riyadh Summit.

November 30

China officially launches the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform’s website, an online platform to share yearround hydrological data of the Mekong River with 5 Mekong countries starting from November 1. The website provides reliable forecasting and early warning services related to floods and droughts.

December 1-2

Thailand’s Mekong People’s Forum is held in Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province. The forum is a

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movement of civic groups in 8 provinces along the Mekong River in Thailand. The organizer invites the Chinese Embassy to attend the event. However, the Chinese Embassy does not send anyone to join. More than 200 people, including local villagers, conservationists, journalists, and officials of the US and Australia embassies in Bangkok attend the event. The forum aims to move its campaign to a policy level. December 3

Vietnam accuses China’s illegal excursion in the South China Sea. Hainan Island resumes cruise routes to the Paracel Islands. This action violates Vietnam’s sovereignty and international law, according to Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang. Vietnam urges China to respect its sovereignty and not to escalate tensions in the region.

December 8-11

The 100th joint patrol on the Mekong River by law enforcement officers from China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand kicks off. 4 Chinese patrol ships and 8 vessels from the 4 countries with more than 200 officers join the mission.

December 9

The 11th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting is held online and co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich. Both sides pledge joint efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability and deepen pragmatic cooperation among military forces.

December 10

The 7th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) is held with representatives of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the US. Participants exchange views on regional security issues, such as the South China Sea, cybersecurity threats, fake news, climate change, natural disasters, and discuss the impacts of the pandemic on security and the economy. The meeting adopts the Joint Declaration by the ADMMPlus Defense Ministers on Strategic Security Vision of the ADMM-Plus. Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe attends the meeting.

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December 14

The Mekong Dam Monitor, a US-funded project, announced that it will use data from cloud-piercing satellites to track and publish water levels of dams in China and other countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin responds to this issue that China welcomes constructive suggestions from countries outside the Mekong region on the development and utilization of the river, but opposes international provocation.

December 22

The USS destroyer John S. McCain trespasses into waters near the Spratly Islands. China’s PLA Southern Theater Command warns and dispels the vessel. The US’s action violates China’s sovereignty and security and disrupts peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to PLA Southern Theater Command Spokesperson Senior Colonel Tian Junli.

(C) Economic Affairs July 1

(1) Thailand’s Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking revises its forecast for the economic growth from (-3) - (-5) percent to (-5) - (-8) percent. The export expansion will decrease from (-5) – (-10) percent to (-7) – (-10) percent due to the weak purchasing power of households and the business sector, the global economic slowdown, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. (2) The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) releases the “Covid-19 and Tourism” report. It shows that the global tourism revenues will drop US$3.3 trillion due to Covid-19 restrictions. Thailand will lose US$47 billion. (3) China finishes the construction of the 832.2meter-long Yuanjiang Super Railway Bridge in Yunnan Province. The bridge will link Yuxi City and Vientiane in Laos when the China-Laos Railway is operational in December 2021. China Tiesiju Civil

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Engineering Group (CTCE) is responsible for the bridge. July 2

Pattani Province launches the Puangmanee durian season with promotions to attract Chinese markets which are interested in importing this durian variety, according to Governor Kraisorn Visitwong who presides over the opening of the durian festival.

July 3

Laos begins the construction of the Vientiane station, the largest of the 20 passenger and freight stations along the China-Laos Railway. Xiao Qianwen, General Manager of the Laos-China Railway Company Limited, and Chantoula Phanalasy, Director of Laos-China Railway Project Manager, attend the groundbreaking ceremony in Xaythany District. The railway is expected to operate on December 2, 2021. Recently, the company also provided a Chinese language training program for the first group of Laotians in Vientiane to study Chinese language and railway theory. They have to join a practical training program in Yunnan Province after they finish lessons in Laos. They will be trained as engine drivers, mechanics, train operators, and supervisors of railway maintenance.

July 7

The Thai National Shippers’ Council forecasts that the country’s export will drop 10 percent, a decrease from 8 percent from the previous forecast, due to the pandemic and the strong baht.

July 8

(1) The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) predicts that the number of foreign tourists will decrease 80 percent to 8.22 million. The total revenue will drop to 396.5 billion baht due to the flight ban during the pandemic and the economic contraction. (2) The Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance sets up a multilateral fund to support infrastructure construction projects under the BRI. The center is launched in 2019 by China’s Ministry of Finance, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and 6 other multilateral development institutions such as

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the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank. 6 countries, including China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Cambodia, and the Philippines, agreed to donate US$180.2 million to the fund. July 9

(1) The 17th China-ASEAN Expo is postponed due to the pandemic, according to the senior officials’ meeting for the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and working meeting on investment cooperation in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (2) Thailand’s Foreign Trade Department announced that cross-border trade dropped 9.7 percent year on year from January to May because neighboring countries close all border checkpoints due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Transit trade with southern China rose by 15.7 percent, a worth of 90.74 billion baht.

July 14

The data of China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) shows that the foreign trade fell 3.2 percent year on year, a worth of US$2.04 trillion, in the first half of the year. The report is better than expected as it narrowed by 1.7 percent compared with the decrease for the first 5 months. The export dropped 3 percent, while the import fell 3.3 percent. ASEAN is the largest trading partner of the country with foreign trade increasing 5.6 percent in the first 6 months. Exports to ASEAN rose 3.4 percent, while imports increased 8.5 percent.

July 16

China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that the GDP increased 3.2 percent in the second quarter of this year. The data shows that China’s economy has recovered from the pandemic. The economy contracted 1.6 percent year on year in the first 6 months. Foreign direct investment increased 8.4 percent year on year in the second quarter, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

July 19

Thailand begins to use a two-mode system to deliver agricultural and food products to China by trucking products to Vietnam, then put them into containers on trains and deliver to China. Normally, Thailand

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delivers products to China by trucks, ships, and airplanes. However, logistics worldwide are restricted due to the pandemic. Transporting by train is cheaper and faster. July 20

China and Cambodia finish the 6-month talks of the China-Cambodia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. The joint statement states that both sides expect to sign the agreement within this year. The FTA includes the BRI cooperation, goods and service trade, investment cooperation, and e-commerce.

July 21

Best Express, a Chinese logistics firm, plans to invest 300 million baht in Thailand in the second half of this year. This is a part of the company's 5-year investment budget of 5 billion baht in Thailand, starting from this year. The company sees an opportunity from the rise of logistics business in the country and Southeast Asia as customers use more online shopping platforms due to the pandemic.

July 22

(1) The Guangdong Customs reports that the foreign trade of the province decreased by 7.1 percent year on year in the first 6 months of this year. Exports dropped 8.5 percent year on year, while imports declined 5 percent. The trade volume with the ASEAN grew 6.8 percent year on year. The ASEAN remains the largest trading partner of the province. (2) The 2020 Jilin-Thailand Online Commodity Trade Fair is held in Changchun, Jilin Province. The event is hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Jilin Provincial Committee and the Asian-International Trade and Investment Association to deepen the existing trading partnership and support trading links. More than 40 deals were signed and more than 95 companies from both sides joined the event.

July 23

The provincial department of commerce of Hebei Province reports that the foreign trade of the province increased by 8 percent year on year in the first half of this year. Exports were up 1.7 percent year on year and imports grew 18 percent in the first 48 The Chronology


6 months. Imports and exports with ASEAN increased 48.1 percent. July 24

(1) The data of Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce shows that the exports were down 23.2 percent year on year in June, the lowest since July 2009. In the first half of this year, exports dropped 7.1 percent, while imports fell 12.6 percent. The trade surplus was US$1.6 billion in June and US$10.7 billion in the first 6 months. (2) The Jinan Customs reports the foreign trade of Shandong Province with BRI countries grew 4.4 percent year on year in the first 6 months. Exports to BRI countries were up 8.9 percent, while imports were down 0.7 percent. The trade with ASEAN increased 16 percent year on year.

July 27

The World Bank releases a special report entitled "China's Doing Business Success: Drivers of Reform and Opportunities for the Future." According to the report, China has made great achievements in advancing reforms to improve the business environment. There are 6 key factors to make it successful, including (1) high-level leadership and ownership of the reform agenda, (2) local policy experimentation, (3) international knowledge sharing, (4) strong enforcement of the reform agenda and accountability for results, (5) robust private sector participation and effective communication, and (6) intensive use of digital technologies and e-government services.

July 28

President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 5th annual meeting of the board of governors of the AIIB via a videoconference. He reiterates supports for multilateralism. He calls for making the AIIB a new platform for promoting development for all members and building a community with a shared future for mankind. The meeting focuses on cooperation in response to the pandemic and the economic slowdown.

August 3

Thailand’s Agricultural Economic Office reports that the agricultural gross domestic products dropped by

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5.1 percent in the first half of this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a long drought. August 6

(1) Thailand's Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry, and Banking (JSCCIB) forecasts that the country's economic outlook will drop 7-9 percent this year. The previous forecast was 5-8 percent. The Committee also cut the export outlook from a drop of 7-10 percent to 10-12 percent due to the ongoing pandemic and a strong baht. (2) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released an updated global passenger forecast. The report showed that the global passenger traffic will not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2024. The global passenger numbers will fall 55 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. It is expected to rise 62 percent in 2021.

August 7

The data of China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) shows that the country’s foreign trade was up 6.5 percent year on year in July. Exports grew 10.4 percent, while imports rose 1.6 percent. Total foreign trade in the first 7 months declined 1.7 percent year on year. The trade with ASEAN increased by 6.6 percent year on year in the first 7 months, accounting for 14.6 percent of the total foreign trade.

August 8

The ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) forecasted that the economic growth of ASEAN and its partners (China, Japan, and South Korea) will drop from 4.8 percent in 2019 to 0 percent this year due to the economic contraction since the Asian financial crisis in 1997. However, if ASEAN+3 can control the pandemic, the economic growth can grow as much as 6 percent in 2021.

August 10

The trade volume of Shaanxi Province, China, and ASEAN rose 66.3 percent year on year in the first half of this year, according to the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Commerce.

August 13

Chinese Assistant Minister of Commerce Ren Hongbin urges the US to end restrictive and

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discriminatory measures against Chinese companies to support the implementation of the Phase One Deal. August 18

Thailand's cross-border trade and transit trade fell by 9.18 percent year on year in the first half of this year due to lockdown measures and the slowing economies of neighboring countries, according to the Foreign Trade Department. Exports were down 8.6 percent year on year, while imports dropped by 9.98 percent. Transit trade with southern China rose 16 percent, worth 110 billion baht. The use of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) privileges and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by Thai exporters fell by 15.1 percent year on year in the first 5 months. The Thai-China FTA value totaled US$7.8 billion.

August 19

The 3rd batch of 5 Chinese experts travels to Myanmar to help poor villages fight against poverty. China sends 3 groups of Chinese experts to 2 villages in Myanmar under the China-Myanmar poverty reduction demonstration project since 2018. These experts help locals build drinking water facilities, improve transport and medical conditions, promote new farming practices, and animal farming.

August 20

China’s Ministry of Commerce reports that the nonfinancial direct investments in BRI countries increased by 28.9 percent year on year in the first 7 months of this year, a worth of US$10.27 billion. Chinese enterprises have signed new contracts worth US$67.18 billion in BRI countries.

August 25

(1) Chinese Vice Premier Liu He holds trade talks on the phone with US Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Both sides agree to push forward the Phase One Deal. According to their statements, they have a constructive dialogue, note the progress, and will take the necessary steps to succeed in the agreement. (2) The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) holds an open day event on the ChinaMyanmar oil and gas pipeline project under the

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theme "One Belt, One Future" to show the use of information technology, the construction site of the pipeline project, and the scenery of Myanmar. The China-Myanmar crude oil and gas pipeline has carried 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 33.12 million metric tons of crude oil by June this year, according to CNPC. August 31

The foreign trade of Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province grew 13.5 percent year on year in July and 1.6 percent in the first 7 months of this year, according to the Shenzhen Customs. The foreign trade with ASEAN rose 11.9 percent year on year in the first 7 months.

September 4

The CRRC Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems Company Limited starts the delivery of trains to Thailand. Thailand signed an agreement to order 72 trains from the company in June 2017. They will be used for two urban rail transit lines operated in 2022.

September 7

China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) reports that the country’s foreign trade reached US$421.69 billion in August, an increase of 6 percent year on year. Exports grew 11.6 percent year on year, while imports decreased 0.5 percent. Total foreign trade was down 0.6 percent year on year in the first 8 months. Exports were up 0.8 percent year on year, while imports were down 2.3 percent in the first 8 months. The foreign trade with ASEAN increased 7 percent year on year from January to August, accounting for 14.6 percent of the total foreign trade.

September 9

The China-ASEAN Institute of Financial Cooperation is established in Guangxi University (GXU) to promote China and ASEAN financial cooperation, the China (Guangxi) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the open financial gateway for ASEAN, the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and the China-ASEAN Information Port to push forward the implementation of the financial targets in the ChinaASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030.

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September 11

(1) Thailand’s Foreign Trade Department reports that the country’s cross-border trade fell 8.5 percent year on year in the first 7 months due to the closure of border checkpoints and the slowing economies of neighboring countries amid the pandemic. Exports were down 8.2 percent year on year, while imports dropped 9 percent. Transit trade with southern China rose 14.4 percent. (2) China's Ministry of Commerce reports that the foreign direct investment (FDI) into the mainland increased 18.7 percent year on year in August, worth US$12.3 billion. In the first 8 months, the FDI grew 2.6 percent year on year.

September 12

(1) Chongqing Municipality in China sees the foreign trade rose 10.3 percent year on year in the first 8 months, according to the customs. Exports grew 9.4 percent year on year, while imports were up 12 percent. The foreign trade with ASEAN increased 5.7 percent from January to August. (2) The cross-border tunnel on the China-Laos Railway is completed, according to the China Railway Kunming Group Company Limited. The tunnel is 9.59 kilometers long, with 7.17 kilometers on the Chinese side and 2.42 kilometers on the Lao side. 80 tunnels on the Yuxi-Mohan section of the Chinese part of the railway have been finished so far.

September 14

(1) The Hunan Customs reports that the province’s foreign trade rose 8.4 percent year on year in the first 8 months. Exports increased 2.1 percent year on year and imports grew 23.5 percent during the period. The foreign trade with ASEAN, the largest trading partner, was up 33 percent. (2) Power Construction Corporation of China (POWERCHINA) signs a contract with OTK Royal One, a subsidiary of Royal Group in Cambodia, to build the Royal One Commercial Complex project in Phnom Penh.

September 15

(1) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecasts that Asia's GDP will decline by 0.7 percent this year.

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The economy will contract for the first time since the early 1960s due to the pandemic. China's economy will grow 1.8 percent this year and 7.7 percent in 2021. (2) A panel of experts of WTO's Dispute Settlement Body set up in 2019 reviews the US action on the trade deal with China and announces that the US tariffs on Chinese goods were inconsistent with global trade rules. The US does not accept the decision and cites evidence showing China's unfair trade practices, while China welcomes the WTO’s decision as an objective and fair ruling. (3) The 920.3-meters bridge along the China-Laos Railway over the Nanxi River in Yunnan Province completes its final closure, according to the China Railway Kunming Group. The bridge is built by China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group. September 16

The foreign trade of Guangdong Province increased 3.5 percent year on year in August, according to the Guangdong customs. Exports were up 7.8 percent year on year, while imports were down 3.4 percent. The foreign trade with ASEAN rose 9.3 percent.

September 23

Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce reports that exports improved in August with a drop of 7.9 percent year on year, while imports dropped 19.7 percent. Exports were down 7.8 percent year on year and imports decreased 15.3 percent in the first 8 months. The ministry expects the country’s overall exports to shrink by 5-8 percent this year.

September 26

The High-level Videoconference on Poverty Eradication and South-South Cooperation on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the UN is held online. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chairs the meeting. He says that China will firmly stand with all developing countries to fight against the pandemic and make new contributions to global poverty reduction. The participants include UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, as well as foreign

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ministers or representatives from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. The meeting aims to revitalize international development partnership, deepen South-South cooperation, and support the leading role of the UN in coordinating the global implementation of the 2030 Agenda. September 28

The World Bank forecasts that China’s GDP growth will achieve 2 percent this year. The economy will grow by 7.9 percent in 2021.

September 29

The Thai government approves the Transport Ministry to increase the budget by 12 billion baht for Contract 2.3 of the Thai-Chinese High-Speed Rail project, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul. Contract 2.3 covers essential stops and runs on an advanced operating system. It is also an agreement to hire China Railway International and China Railway Design Corporation.

September 30

Yunnan Province, China opens the second expressway in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture connecting the Mengla County and Mengman, a land port on the China-Laos border to link with Laos.

October 1

The engine drivers for 2 monorail train lines arrive at the Laem Chabang Port, Chon Buri Province from China. The trains are for the Pink and Yellow lines in Bangkok. Bombardier Transportation Holding (Thailand) will supply 42 monorail carriages and their engines for the Pink Line and 30 for the Yellow Line. The engine drivers were manufactured in China by Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems (PBTS), a joint venture between Canada’s Bombardier Transportation and China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC).

October 6

World trade is expected to fall by 9.2 percent in 2020, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

October 7

Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce reports that the cross-border trade fell by 7.42 percent year on year

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in the first 8 months due to the impact of the pandemic and a slowing economy. Exports were down 7.37 percent year on year, while imports reduced 7.49 percent. Transit trade fell 1.05 percent. Transit trade with southern China increased by 13.6 percent. Only 36 of the 97 border checkpoints were open during the pandemic. October 13

(1) China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) reports that exports increased 10.2 percent year on year in the third quarter, while imports grew 4.3 percent. (2) The IMF’s World Economic Outlook reports that the global economy will contract 4.4 percent this year. The ongoing pandemic makes the outlook uncertain. China’s economy will grow 1.9 percent this year and 8.2 percent in 2021. (3) Thailand's chicken exports to China have risen 75 percent this year due to the African swine flu outbreak, according to Director of the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP) Wichuda Akaramethathip. There are 8 new registrations of Thai poultry factories in China, bringing the total to 23.

October 14

The China-Laos Railway sets up the first signal controller in Vientiane, according to the China Railway Construction Electrification Bureau Group (CRCEBG).

October 15

Thai Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit attends the 11th Pan-Beibu Gulf Economic Cooperation Forum via a videoconference. He vows to deepen economic cooperation with every province of China to boost trade and investment between the two countries and make use of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor of China.

October 16

Foreign direct investment in China grew by 5.2 percent in the first 9 months of this year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

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October 18

China's foreign trade was up 0.7 percent year on year in the first 9 months, according to the GAC. Exports grew 1.8 percent, while imports dropped 0.6 percent. The foreign trade with ASEAN increased 7.7 percent. The trade volume accounted for 14.6 percent of the total. The country's trade with countries and regions related to the BRI was up 1.5 percent in the first 3 quarters. Exports grew by 2.8 percent, while imports fell by 0.3 percent.

October 19

China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that the country's economy grew 4.9 percent year on year in the third quarter (July-September). The GDP growth reached 0.7 percent year on year in the first 9 months. The data shows a sign of the country's economic recovery. Domestic consumption has rebounded. Exports and investments have improved.

October 20

The first group of 39 Chinese visitors on a Special Tourist Visa (STV) arrives in Thailand since the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The STV allows a 90day stay in the country. Visitors can renew the STV twice. Visitors have to be quarantined for 14 days.

October 21

(1) The IMF revises the forecast for the Asia economy in 2020 that it will contract 2.2 percent. China’s growth is revised up to 1.9 percent this year as the country showed its strong recovery after the first quarter lockdown. (2) The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reports that global trade will fall by 7 percent to 9 percent year on year in 2020 as a rebound is uncertain and the pandemic disrupts economies. (3) The Chongqing customs reports that the municipality’s foreign trade increased by 11.4 percent year on year in the first 9 months of this year. Exports were up 10.3 percent and imports grew 13.3 percent. The trade with ASEAN rose 6 percent year on year, accounting for 18.1 percent of the total.

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October 22

Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce reports that exports fell 3.9 percent year on year to US$19.62 billion, while imports decreased 9.1 percent to US$17.39 billion in September. The trade surplus was US$2.23 billion. For the first 9 months, exports were down by 7.3 percent to US$172.99 billion, while imports dropped 14.6 percent to US$152.37 billion. The trade surplus was US$20.62 billion. The exports to China rebounded to 6.9 percent from September.

October 26

The second group of 147 Chinese visitors holding the STV arrives in Thailand. They have to undergo a14day quarantine and install tracking applications on their smartphones.

October 27

The Shanghai Customs reports that Shanghai’s foreign trade increased 1.7 percent year on year in the first 9 months. Exports grew 1 percent, while imports were up 2.1 percent. The foreign trade with ASEAN grew by 3.7 percent in the three quarters.

October 28

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presides over the signing of “Contract 2.3” of the Thai-Chinese High-Speed Rail Project (Phase 1 of the BangkokNakhon Ratchasima section) between the State Railway of Thailand, China Railway International Company, and China Railway Design Corporation at the Government House. The contract covers the construction of the track and electrical, signaling and communication systems, procurement of trains, maintenance, and technology transfer. The contract is worth about US$1.63 billion.

October 29

Shenzhen Customs reports that the city’s foreign trade grew 2.7 percent year on year to US$326.8 billion in the first 9 months. Exports fell 0.9 percent year on year, while imports were up 7.3 percent. The foreign trade with ASEAN increased 9 percent.

October 30

Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) revises its forecast for the GDP contraction from 8.2 percent to 7.7 percent as the country's economic partners, such as China and Vietnam have seen an economic

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recovery that supports Thai exports. It revises the export contraction from 11 percent to 7.8 percent. November 4

(1) President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech via a videoconference at the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai. He stresses that China will nurture new pacesetters of opening up, pursue creative ways to grow foreign trade, improve the business environment, and deepen bilateral, multilateral, and regional cooperation. (2) Thailand's cross-border trade, including transit trade, fell by 4.88 percent year on year in the first 9 months due to the pandemic and the slowing economy, according to the Ministry of Commerce's Foreign Trade Department. Exports decreased 4.66 percent, while imports dropped by 5.19 percent. Overall transit trade rose 3.25 percent in the January-September period. Transit trade with southern China increased 18.9 percent. As of October 28, 36 of 97 border checkpoints were open. (3) Thailand's Board of Investment reports that the foreign direct investment (FDI) applications fell 29 percent in the first 9 months because of the pandemic. Japan is the biggest investor in Thailand with 139 projects, followed by China with 129 projects.

November 6

The volume of Thai frozen and processed chicken exports fell 0.9 percent year on year in the first 8 months due to the pandemic. However, the demand has risen continually in Chinese markets as China has an outbreak of African Swine Fever and people consume chicken instead of pork, according to Head of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association Kukrit Areepakorn.

November 7

China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) reports that the country’s foreign trade increased 4.6 percent year on year in October. Exports grew 7.6 percent, while imports were up 0.9 percent in yuan terms.

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November 10

The foreign trade of Shandong Province grew by 5.8 percent year on year in the first 10 months, worth about US$266.3 billion, according to Qingdao Customs. Exports increased 13.3 percent, while imports declined 3.1 percent. The foreign trade with ASEAN grew 23.8 percent year on year. The trade with BRI countries was up 10.5 percent year on year, accounting for 30 percent of the total foreign trade.

November 11

Huawei Technologies Thailand announces plans to invest US$23 million in establishing the third data center in Thailand next year, according to Chief Executive Abel Deng. The first data center was established in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in 2018 and the second one was in Bangkok in 2019.

November 12

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) submits a letter to the Tourism and Sports Ministry of Thailand about the travel bubble plan to allow Chinese tourists from low-risk areas in the mainland to visit the country, according to ATTA President Vichit Prakobgosol. There are 22 low-risk provinces in China that have reported no new local cases for more than 150 days.

November 16

(1) Zhengzhou Customs reports that the foreign trade of China’s Henan Province rose 2.9 percent year on year in the first 10 months. Exports were down 3.7 percent, while imports grew 14.9 percent. The trade volume with ASEAN rose 3.2 percent. (2) Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) stresses that the country’s economy shrank 6.4 percent in the third quarter. The Finance Ministry signs an agreement to borrow US$1.5 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help fight the impact of Covid-19. Thai Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith signs the deal with ADB Country Director for Thailand Hideaki Iwasaki. (3) Guangdong Province's foreign trade was down 1.6 percent year on year in the first 10 months, according to the Guangdong branch of the GAC. Exports decreased 1.3 percent, while imports rose

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2.1 percent. The trade volume with ASEAN was up 7.3 percent year on year. November 17

Chinese National Development and Reform Commission Spokesperson Meng Wei reports at a press conference that China has signed 201 Belt and Road cooperation documents with 138 countries and 31 international organizations. The trade with BRI countries reached about US$963.42 billion in the first 3 quarters of this year. China’s cooperation with the BRI countries has been resilient during the pandemic.

November 18

Thailand's Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) approves tourism promotion and stimulus measures proposed by the TAT to lure back foreign tourists to Thailand. The plans include special tour packages and the approval for Thailand Elite Cardholders to invest in properties and other investments.

November 19

The roof-sealing ceremony for the Vientiane Station's main building of the China-Laos Railway is held in Vientiane. The station is the largest and most important station of the project. It is built by China Railway Construction Group Company Limited (CRCG). It has 4 platforms with 7 track lines and 2 additional platforms with 3 lines reserved. It can hold a maximum of 2,500 passengers.

November 27-30

The 17th China-ASEAN Expo is held in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Laos serves as the country of honor this year. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the ChinaASEAN Free Trade Zone. President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit via a videoconference on November 27. He says that the Chia-ASEAN relationship has grown into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. He urges participants to push more efforts to build the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, strengthen cooperation on infrastructure connectivity, speed up the development of existing economic corridors and key

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projects, and continue to develop the China-ASEAN Multimodal Transport Alliance. China and ASEAN need to deepen cooperation on the digital economy and strengthen cooperation against Covid-19. China welcomes the signing of the RCEP. Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi attends the opening ceremony, visits the exhibition halls, and meets with envoys from ASEAN countries. The Expo is held under the theme "Building the Belt and Road, strengthening digital economy cooperation." It aims to deepen cooperation in trade, digital economy, science and technology, health, and so on. 86 investment cooperation projects are signed at the Expo, worth US$40.1 billion, an increase of 43.6 percent year on year, according to China's Ministry of Commerce. The Expo sets up 5,400 booths for 1,668 enterprises. 1,956 enterprises attend the expo online. November 30

Lao Petroleum and Chemical Company Limited (Laopec), a China-Laos joint venture, launches the first phase production of an annual 3-million-ton oil refining project in Vientiane. The Laopec is the first refinery in Laos. Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong and Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone attend the online inauguration ceremony. The project helps reduce fuel imports and cut oil prices throughout the domestic market, according to Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena.

December 1

The OECD Economic Outlook forecasts that vaccination campaigns, health policies, and government financial support will lift the world economy by 4.2 percent in 2021. China's growth will increase to 8 percent in 2021 and 4.9 percent in 2022.

December 2

Huawei Technologies (Thailand) signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 5G smart hospital with the Faculty of Medicine of Siriraj

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Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand to establish a smart platform and enhance innovative medical services. December 5

Thailand becomes the world's second-largest manufacturer and exporter of rubber gloves behind Malaysia during the pandemic, according to Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAT) Director-General Nakorn Takkawipat. Thailand exported more than 20.5 billion pairs of gloves from January to October this year, an increase of 22 percent year on year. The top 5 importers of rubber gloves from Thailand were the US, the UK, Japan, China, and Germany.

December 8

The Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) forecasts that Thai exports will grow 3-5 percent in 2021 due to the RCEP, Covid-19 vaccine progress, and China’s economic recovery.

December 10

ADB’s ASEAN Region’s Outlook for 2021 forecasts that ASEAN will grow 5.2 percent in 2021. The report downgrades the GDP forecast for Southeast Asia in 2020 from -3.8 percent in September to -4.4 percent. Thailand’s economy will grow 4 percent in 2021. China’s will grow 7.7 percent next year.

December 11

The ADB funds US$9 billion to help developing countries in Asia to have access and delivery of vaccines, according to ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. The Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVEX) will provide support for the procurement and transporting of vaccines from the place of purchase to developing countries.

December 15

The Guangdong Customs reports that the province's exports rose 10.7 percent year on year in November, while imports decreased 5.4 percent. The foreign trade volume with ASEAN was up 6.6 percent year on year in the first 11 months.

December 16-18

The key Central Economic Work Conference is held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping reviews the country's economic work in 2020, analyzes the current situation, and arranges the economic work for 2021. The specific tasks for 2021 include building the new

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development paradigm that domestic and foreign markets reinforce each other, tackle challenges, and promote reforms and opening-up in an all-around way. December 21

(1) China's State Council Information Office releases a white paper entitled "Energy in China's New Era." The paper states that China promotes energy cooperation with partners in the BRI, builds a silk road with green energy, improves energy infrastructure connectivity, and facilitates wider global energy access. (2) China Railway 11 Bureau Group Company Limited and China Railway 23 Bureau Group Company Limited, subsidiaries of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), win a US$415 million contract to build civil engineering projects for the China-Thailand high-speed railway, including building railway beds, bridges, and railway stations for the first phase from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.

December 22

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) holds a public hearing in Nakhon Ratchasima for the second phase of the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed railway project. The public hearing provides information to the local community. The EIA also gives additional information about the impact of the railway crossing. 185-kilometer of the second phase route will be built at ground level and 171-kilometer will be elevated. The railway crossings, including 120 railway bridges, 25 vehicle bridges, 23 U-turn bridges, and 84 underpasses will be built to reduce traffic accidents. The plan is to build 5 stations as follows: Bua Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima, Ban Phai in Maha Sarakham, and 3 others in Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai.

December 23

(1) The World Bank forecasts that China’s GDP will rise to 7.9 percent in 2021 as the country improves consumer and business confidence and labor market conditions.

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(2) The Bank of Thailand (BOT) projects the country’s economy will contract 6.6 percent in 2020 instead of 7 percent as forecast previously due to improvements in private consumption and exports. The growth in 2021 is cut from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent. The economic recovery remains highly uncertain. (3) Thailand’s Commerce Ministry forecasts that the country’s exports will shrink by 7 percent in 2020 and recover to a growth of 4 percent next year. Exports were down 3.65 percent year on year in November, while imports shrank 0.99 percent. Exports contracted 6.92 percent year on year in the first 11 months, while imports dropped 13.7 percent. Exports to China were down 8.9 percent. December 26

The Shanghai Customs reports that the city’s trade with ASEAN remains strong. Exports were down 4.1 percent year on year in the first 11 months, while imports increased 6.1 percent. Vietnam is the city’s largest trade partner from January to November, accounting for 27.4 percent of total trade with ASEAN.

(D) Socio-cultural Affairs July 8

Chinese netizens support the Thai government's approval of a draft bill to legalize same-sex unions. It is closer to becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to allow same-sex unions to have most of the rights of married couples, including assets and liabilities and children adoption.

July 21

Lao Asia Pacific Satellite Company Limited (LAOSAT), a China-Laos joint venture, signs an agreement with the Research Institute for Education Science, the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports to transmit programs for schools via Lao National TV Channel 8 starting from September 1.

August 4

The China Cultural Center in Bangkok launches a Chinese-Thai bilingual song “Hello!” to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic 65 The Chronology


relations between China and Thailand. The song was composed in 1999 by Chinese former editor-in-chief of Thailand Today magazine Liu Zhenning and Chinese composer Liu Ke. The song will be translated into Thai by the Bangkok Chinese Cultural Center and Thailand’s KKS Entertainment. August 30

The ASEAN-China Center (ACC) and Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries co-host the ASEAN Culture and Tourism Online Exhibition (ACTOE) on the official website of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) to promote ASEAN-China cooperation and people to people exchanges. Embassies and organizations of 14 countries, including Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand, participate in the exhibition.

September 14October 6

The 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) kicks off. Participants call for strengthening international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN Office Chen Xu urges the international community to uphold multilateralism, strengthen unity, and jointly address global challenges. Participants note that developing countries are faced with obstacles to the right to development. Developed countries should not attach political requirements with their development assistance commitments. The Chinese side calls on all countries to follow the UN Declaration on the Right to Development as a guide.

September 17-20

The 2020 ASEAN-China Belt and Road Tourism Culture Exchange Week is held both online and offline at the Guiyang International Conference and Exhibition Center in Guiyang City, Guangzhou Province to show products and handicrafts from various countries and discuss opportunities and possible cooperation involving the digital industry.

September 22

President Xi Jinping pledges at the general debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly via a videoconference that China aims to have a carbon emission peak by 2030 and achieve carbon

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neutrality by 2060. China will support the Paris accord. October 9

A cross-border medical platform is launched in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to enhance medical cooperation and exchanges between China and ASEAN countries. The platform provides medical services for patients from ASEAN countries and medical financing services covering 96 countries and regions.

October 13

China is elected as a member of the Human Rights Council for 2021-2023 at the 75th United Nations General Assembly.

October 20

The ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship (ACYLS) 2020 is launched to enhance people-topeople exchanges between China and ASEAN. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, and ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General Kung Phoak attend the virtual opening ceremony.

October 21

The Lancang-Mekong Vocational Education Alliance Forum is held in Kunming, Yunnan Province. The forum releases the report on the international cooperation development of the Lancang-Mekong Vocational Education Alliance. There are 9 training bases in the border areas of Yunnan Province so far. They provide free training and courses in the Chinese language, law, health, and practical skills to cross-border workers.

October 22

The 5th Meeting of Cultural Ministers of ChinaASEAN is held to discuss the brand influence of the China-ASEAN Cultural Forum and promote ChinaASEAN cultural cooperation. Chinese Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Zhang Xu attends the meeting and introduces China’s cultural measures to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

October 25

The opening ceremony of the 15th Chinese Film Festival in Bangkok and the 2020 China-Thailand Film Exchange Week is held at the China Cultural

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Center in Bangkok to promote cultural exchanges, friendly relations, and film cooperation between the two countries. Audiences can use the online platform of the Center to watch films online during the festival. The China-Thailand Film Exchange and Cooperation Online Seminar is held on the same day to discuss the development of Chinese and Thai films. October 31November 2

The 3rd Lancang-Mekong International Film Week is held in Kunming, Yunnan Province to support the development of the film industry and cultural exchanges in the Lancang-Mekong region. The duration of the event is limited to 3 days due to Covid-19.

November 2

The “2020 Lancang-Mekong TV Week with Myanmar Theme Day” is opened in Kunming, Yunnan Province to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of China-Myanmar relations and promote media cooperation. The TV week includes an exhibition on media cooperation, online media forums, screening of TV series from LMC countries, and 14 documentaries from Myanmar.

November 23-29

The 2nd China-ASEAN TV Week announces 25 representative communication cases. The cases are opened on Monday evening in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. They include a contest for singing Chinese and Vietnamese songs and a classic TV drama on "A Dream of Red Mansions" in the Myanmar language. Part of the programs is shown on televisions in China, Myanmar, and Laos as well as online platforms during the event. The event aims to promote talks and cooperation and people-topeople exchanges, according to the Chinese Deputy Head of the National Radio and Television Administration Meng Dong.

November 24

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui attends the 2020 Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Media Online Summit hosted by People’s Daily in Beijing. He calls on participants to jointly combat the pandemic, revives the economy, strengthen peopleto-people bonds, upholds openness and

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inclusiveness, and promotes the LMC and the ACMECS, the GMS, and the MRC. The media play an important role to promote understanding, friendship, and cooperation among LMC countries. Media representatives from LMC countries exchange views on cooperation to fight Covid-19 and revitalize the economy. November 24-25

The 3rd China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum is held in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to support the WHO to play a leading role in global health governance, improve the China-ASEAN health cooperation mechanism, and deepen cooperation in responding to public health emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The event is organized online and offline by China’s National Health Commission (NHC), the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the regional government of Guangxi.

December 8

The 15th China-ASEAN Cultural Forum is held in Guiling, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to focus on the protection of cultural heritage and tourism development. More than 200 officials, cultural experts, and scholars from China and ASEAN countries exchange their experiences in cultural heritage protection. The event is a part of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo held in November in Nanning.

December 12

President Xi Jinping attends the Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the UN, the UK, and France via a videoconference. He stresses that China will further its commitment to tackle the global climate challenge. China will lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65 percent from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and install the capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts. Xi makes 3 proposals. He calls on parties to close ranks and make new advances in climate governance, raise ambition and foster a new architecture of climate governance, and boost

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confidence and pursue a new approach to climate governance that highlights green recovery.

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Part II Selected Documentation


(II) Selected Documentation (July-December 2020) July (A) Remarks by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the 5th Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjdt_665385/zyjh_665391/t180 1603.shtml Released on: July 28, 2020 Honorable Governors, Heads of Delegation, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, On the occasion of the opening of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), I wish to extend, on behalf of the government and people of China and in my own name, hearty congratulations on the convening of this meeting and warm greetings to all the delegates representing AIIB members. In late 2013, I proposed on China's behalf the establishment of the AIIB. The initiative is designed to develop infrastructure and connectivity in Asia and deepen regional cooperation for shared development. On 16 January 2016, the AIIB was officially launched. In the ensuing four years or more, the AIIB has followed the operating model and principles of multilateral development banks and acted as a truly international, rule-based and high-standard institution. It has got off to a good start. From the 57 founding members to today's membership of 102 spanning the six continents of Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America and Oceania, the AIIB has grown from strength to strength and provided nearly US$20 billion in infrastructure investment to its members. With more good friends and partners getting on board for higherquality cooperation, the AIIB has established itself in the world as a new type of professional, efficient and clean multilateral development bank. In the face of COVID-19, the AIIB has moved promptly to set up a COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility to support its members in containing the virus and reviving their economies. This is a typical example of the AIIB's power of action. The global response to COVID-19 has made it clear that mankind rise and fall together in a community with a shared future. Mutual support and cooperation 73 Selected Documentation


in solidarity are the only way for mankind to overcome crises. To address issues emerging in the course of economic globalization, countries should pursue more inclusive global governance, more effective multilateral institutions, and more robust regional cooperation. In this context, the AIIB may grow into a new platform that promotes development for all its members and facilitates the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. To make that happen, I would like to suggest the following: First, let us aim at development for all and make the AIIB a new type of multilateral development bank that promotes development across the world. Peace and development remain the call of our times. For countries to develop together, infrastructure connectivity serves as an important physical foundation. The AIIB should commit itself to serving the development needs of all its members and providing more high-quality, low-cost and sustainable investment for both traditional and new types of infrastructure. This will give renewed impetus to economic and social development in Asia and beyond. Second, let us keep breaking new ground and make the AIIB a new type of development platform progressing with the times. Innovation holds the key to our future. As a new member of the global economic governance system, the AIIB is well-placed to adapt to changes and act accordingly. By constantly updating its development philosophy, business model and institutional governance and by providing flexible and diverse development financing products, the AIIB could help enhance connectivity, promote green development and boost technological advance. Third, let us strive for excellence and make the AIIB a new type of highperformance institution for international cooperation. High standard and high quality must be ensured in the development of the AIIB. While following international standards and respecting the general law of development, the AIIB should keep in mind the actual development needs of its members, thus creating best practices for international development cooperation. Fourth, let us stay open and inclusive and make the AIIB a new paradigm of multilateral cooperation. Under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the AIIB needs to respond to adjustments and changes in the global economic landscape and engage more development partners in cooperation. It needs to provide public goods for our region and beyond, push for regional economic integration, and help make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, 74 Selected Documentation


China always supports and adheres to multilateralism, and pursues development with the rest of the world in the spirit of openness and mutuallybeneficial cooperation. China will continue working with other members to support the AIIB and make it a success, and contribute more to the global response to risks and challenges and the pursuit of shared development. I hope the AIIB will live up to its mission and our expectations and prove worthy of our times. To conclude, I sincerely wish this Annual Meeting a complete success. Thank you.

August (B) Vientiane Declaration of the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders’ Meeting For detail see: http://www.lmcwater.org.cn/cooperative_achievements/import ant_documents/files/202008/t20200827_162732.html Released on: August 24, 2020 (C) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/wjdt_665385/zyjh_665391/t180 8937.shtml Released on: August 24, 2020 Your Excellency Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Colleagues, I am delighted to meet you via video link for the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders' Meeting. I wish to thank our co-chair the Lao PDR and Prime Minister Thongloun for the tremendous efforts made for the meeting. We meet today under the theme of "Enhancing Partnership for Shared Prosperity". President Xi Jinping recently called for making global governance more inclusive, multilateral frameworks more effective and regional cooperation more active. Drinking water from the same river, we, the LMC countries, are close as one family living in a community with a shared future. Enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation is both conducive to our own interests and contributing to others' success, as it will boost our economic and social development and people's well-being, and cement the foundation for regional prosperity and stability. 75 Selected Documentation


The Chinese believe that the supreme good is like water; water nurtures all living things without competing with them. The launch of the LMC has been motivated by a river, which is both an important part of our cooperation and an inspiration for the LMC spirit of friendship and mutual benefit. Over the past four years, the LMC has grown rapidly and entered a period of allround development, in which notable progress has been made in institution building, strategic planning, financial support and practical cooperation. The LMC has become a new fountain of strength for regional development and delivered real benefits to people of our countries. We have brought the cooperation mechanisms on water resources onto a fast track. We held the first Ministerial Meeting on Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation and the first Water Resources Cooperation Forum. China directly provided flood-season hydrological data of the Lancang River to the Mekong countries and offered timely updates on upstream flow changes. Despite its own difficulties, China increased outbound water flow in the drought season to help downstream countries mitigate droughts. Solid cooperation has also been carried out under the Water Resources Cooperation Center, the Environmental Cooperation Center and the Global Center for Mekong River Studies. We have strengthened economic cooperation and trade ties, which gave a strong boost to our economic growth. Drawing from the special credit line for industrial capacity and equipment manufacturing cooperation, the concessional loans for foreign aid and preferential export buyers' credit, China has supported over 40 major projects including the Siem Reap New International Airport, the Kyaukpyu deep-water port and the Vinh Tan Coal-fired Power Plant. Chinese companies are actively involved in building the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone, the Rayong Industrial Zone and the Saysettha Development Zone, generating tax revenues and jobs for host countries and achieving mutual benefit. We have put people first in the LMC and increased their well-being. The LMC Special Fund is heavily invested in improving people's lives and has sponsored over 400 programs in health, education, poverty reduction and women's welfare. The Fund has supported 40,000-plus training opportunities for people in the Mekong countries, bringing out the region's potential of human resources. Faced with COVID-19 since early this year, we have pulled together and supported each other in combating the virus and reviving regional growth. In the first half of this year, China's trade with and investment in the Mekong countries grew by 8.7% and 33.5% respectively, bucking the trend of global slowdown. Mekong countries saw their agricultural exports to China rise by 21.2% over the same period last year. Tracks are being laid along the China-Laos 76 Selected Documentation


Railway at a pace of one kilometer per day. Construction of the expressway linking Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville and other key projects has been resumed. The above progress has helped regional countries get their economic and social development back to normal. Colleagues, In the context of a fluid and complex international situation and severe shocks to the global and regional economies, we face the common task of sustaining the good momentum of our cooperation to help tackle risks and challenges and achieve shared progress. To this end, China wishes to propose the following: - We need to take our cooperation in water resources to a new high. The legitimate rights and interests of all countries in developing and utilizing their water resources as appropriate should be fully respected. Meanwhile, we need to accommodate each other's interests and concerns, and advance cooperation by building consensus. China is ready to provide more help to the best of its ability for the Mekong countries to make better use of water resources. Starting from this year, China will share Lancang River's hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries. China will work with your countries to establish a Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform to help us better tackle climate change and natural disasters such as floods and droughts. We need to hold the Ministerial Meeting of Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation and the Water Resources Cooperation Forum on a regular basis, fully implement the Five-Year Action Plan on Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation (2018-2022) and deliver the cooperation projects on dam safety and flood early warning to enhance our capacity for integrated river basin management and water resources management. - We need to expand trade ties and connectivity cooperation. China is ready to further synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with your development strategies for deeper cooperation among us. The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor runs through western China and connects Southeast Asia with the Eurasian continent. By harnessing the transportation routes over both land and sea, the Corridor is exerting a positive impact on the interconnected development across different regions. Greater synergy between the LMC and the New Trade Corridor will make trade routes more convenient and enable the leveraging of more resources from western and southwestern China and other ASEAN countries, and thus channel more inputs to the Mekong countries. This will help optimize the allocation of resources, keep industrial and supply chains stable, and spur coordinated development. 77 Selected Documentation


China is ready to work with the Mekong countries to fully implement the CoChairs' Statement on Cooperation of Synergizing the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor adopted at the meeting, and inject new impetus into regional development. We also need to work toward signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement within this year to raise regional economic integration to a higher level and jointly uphold free trade. We need to ensure the success of the China-Laos and the China-Thailand railways as part of the regional transportation arteries linking the south and the north. Industrial cooperation should be boosted, including expeditiously drafting the Five-Year Development Plan for LMC Cross-Border Economic Cooperation and intensifying Multi-Nation Multi-Park cooperation. Financial cooperation should be deepened to provide strong, sustainable financial support for connectivity. With COVID-19 control as a "new normal", we need to build a network of "fast tracks" and "green lanes" across the region to facilitate the flow of people and goods, and keep industrial and supply chains stable. The Internet economy buoyed by epidemic control needs should be further developed. We should advance innovation in digital technology and expand digital connectivity to fuel the digital transformation and upgrading of our economy and society. - We need to deepen cooperation on sustainable development. We need to implement the Three-Year Action Plan on Agricultural Cooperation (20202022) at a faster pace and ensure the success of the LMC Bumper Harvest projects. We need to disseminate and share technologies on crop processing and agro-product storage, upgrade the agro-product quality and safety systems, and build agro-industrial parks to strengthen our sub-region's competitiveness in agriculture. China welcomes more quality agro-products, livestock and byproducts from Mekong countries. We also need to expedite the implementation of the Lancang-Mekong Environmental Cooperation Strategy, and step up cooperation to tackle climate change, improve air quality, and protect biodiversity. - We need to upgrade cooperation on public health. China will set up a special fund for public health under the framework of the LMC Special Fund, and 78 Selected Documentation


continue to provide material and technical support to Mekong countries to the best of our ability. Once developed and deployed in China, COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to Mekong countries on a priority basis. We need to carry out information sharing and joint responses in major public health emergencies, and strengthen cooperation in early warning on communicable diseases. Public health projects such as the Joint Control Action for Tropical Diseases, Materia Medica and Chinese Acupuncture-Moxibustion benefiting Mekong countries will be taken forward. International solidarity and cooperation is crucial for the global fight against COVID-19. China will work with Mekong countries to support the World Health Organization (WHO) in better playing its role. - We need to strengthen cooperation on people's livelihood. China will work with Mekong countries to jointly implement projects on disaster prevention and mitigation, sanitation and health in rural areas, and infant and young child nutrition and health to benefit more people and communities. The integrated development of underdeveloped communities and business start-ups in ethnic regions will be promoted through cooperation programs. We need to revitalize tourism by holding events like the Lancang-Mekong Mayors' Culture and Tourism Forum, exploring flexible ways such as "cloud tourism", and fully capitalizing on our multi-ethnic culture and world heritage sites. This will foster a new format for the growth of tourism alongside regular COVID-19 response. - We need to uphold the spirit of openness and inclusiveness. We will strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between various cooperation frameworks. The LMC's interaction and cooperation with the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) will be facilitated, including experience sharing and joint programs. We will actively explore cooperation with Japan, the ROK, the EU and other third parties. China supports ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation. By promoting Lancang-Mekong cooperation, we hope to contribute to ASEAN's community building and deepen the China-ASEAN strategic partnership. Colleagues,

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This year, the Chinese government has scaled up macro policy response to cushion the shock of COVID-19. While going all out to contain the virus, we lost no time in reopening the economy. Our measures to help businesses get through the tough times and reinvigorate the market are paying off. Thanks to these efforts, we have achieved significant progress in both COVID-19 response and socio-economic development. The economy is steadily recovering. Business activities are picking up month by month. Growth in the second quarter exceeded expectations. Economic structure is improving. The digital and intelligent transformation of industries is notably speeding up. Reform and opening up are further deepening. Given the strong resilience and latitude of the Chinese economy, and with hard work, we will be able to deliver positive growth for the whole year. China's development will create even more cooperation opportunities for Mekong countries and the rest of the world. Colleagues, Running through nearly 5,000 kilometers, the Lancang-Mekong River admits countless streams along the way and nourishes all people living on its banks. To strengthen Lancang-Mekong cooperation requires the same open and inclusive spirit and the combined efforts from all sectors in order to usher in a brighter future for people in the sub-region. China welcomes our new co-chair Myanmar. We look forward to working with the Mekong countries to deepen and expand Lancang-Mekong cooperation, and provide stronger impetus for the development and prosperity in our sub-region and beyond. Thank you. (D) Full text of Co-chairs’ Statement on Cooperation of Synergizing the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor of the 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting Source: http://www.lmcchina.org/eng/2020-08/25/content_41449869.html Released on: August 24, 2020 We recalled the Sanya Declaration of the First MLC Leaders' Meeting on March 23, 2016, the Phnom Penh Declaration of the Second MLC Leaders' Meeting and the Five Year Action Plan for MLC (2018-2022) endorsed on January 10, 2018, which committed to expand and deepen mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation and promoting the economic and social development of the countries along the Mekong-Lancang River, enhance the well-being of people of 80 Selected Documentation


all member countries, narrowing the development gap in the region, and build a community of shared future of Mekong-Lancang countries for peace and prosperity. We recognized the MLC as a new sub-regional cooperation mechanism featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits among the six countries, which is committed to the cross-border economic and development cooperation among countries in the region, through the promotion of trade and investment; We noted that the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor initiative would materialize multi-dimensional connectivity between Southeast Asia and Eurasia through the Western region of China. It aims to become a comprehensive international trade corridor integrating regional production linkages and supply chains, through land and sea connectivity and customs clearance facilitation; We acknowledged the importance of shared cooperation in the MLC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor to enhance economic, trade and investment cooperation among the Mekong-Lancang countries, promoting smooth trade and sustainable investment, improving the level of the regional supply and industrial chain, and building a strong, inclusive, sustainable and competitive sub-regional economy. We acknowledged the opportunities to building leverage between the MLC Member States' national development strategies, especially in infrastructure development and connectivity, and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor to promote economic cooperation and enhance connectivity and development among Member States, the MLC sub-region and beyond. To support the synergy between the MLC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, and pledged to lend policy support through necessary resources allocation: 1. We reaffirm our commitments to promote cooperation on connectivity, trade, investment and production capacity, by enhancing trade facilitation, further exploring land and sea connectivity facilities, carrying out various forms of trade and investment promotion activities and building more resilient and sustainable regional supply and industrial chain with a view to promote high-quality livelihood and sustainable development of the Mekong-Lancang region. 2. We will enhance cooperation in digital economy, human resource development as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in order to effectively navigate the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic, to boost employment and resume production and economic recovery. 81 Selected Documentation


3. Relying on the existing mechanisms and platforms such as the Joint Working Groups on MLC key priority areas and the past Senior Official Meeting for the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, we will promote the synergy between the MLC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. 4. We task the Global Center for Mekong Studies (GCMS) to undertake a thorough study on the potential benefits from aligning and synergizing the MLC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor with a vast market. The result of which should be presented to the respective MLC Senior Officials' Meeting and Foreign Ministers' Meeting to prioritize areas of cooperation to be endorsed by the MLC Leaders at the 4th MLC Summit. 5. We will further deepen our cooperation among Mekong-Lancang countries under the Belt and Road Initiative enhancing the synergy of the MLC and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor with the aim of supporting the building of ASEAN Community. 6. This document was adopted by Lao PDR and China as the Co-chairs of the Third MLC Leaders' Meeting on 24 August 2020.

September (E) Joint communiqué of the 53rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2020/09/FINAL-Joint-Communiqueof-the-53rd-AMM.pdf Released on: September 9, 2020 (F) Chairman’s Statement of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10+1 Session with China Source: https://asean.org/storage/2020/09/Final-Chairmans-Statement-ofthe-PMC-Plus-One-Sessions-with-China.pdf Released on: September 9, 2020 Chairman’s Statement of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10+1 Session with China 9 September 2020, Viet Nam 1. The ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10+1 Session with the People’s Republic of China was held on 9 September 2020. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, and H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. 82 Selected Documentation


2. The Meeting noted with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the 2016-2020 Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEANChina Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. Noting that the current Plan is due to be completed this year, the Meeting welcomed efforts to conclude the negotiations on the new Plan of Action for the period 2021-2025 that will guide both sides in further strengthening the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations in the next five years. 3. The Meeting reiterated support to the priorities of ASEAN this year in advancing a “Cohesive and Responsive” ASEAN under Viet Nam’s Chairmanship and welcomed the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN: Rising Above Challenges and Sustaining Growth, adopted at the 36th ASEAN Summit on 26 June 2020. The Meeting underlined the need to strengthen regional solidarity and maintain ASEAN Centrality to respond effectively to current and future challenges as well as harness opportunities including those brought about by digital transformation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). 4. The Meeting recognised the unprecedented challenges posed by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the region and the world and underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and other public health emergencies. The Meeting also highlighted the need for joint collaboration on scientific research, development, and production of vaccines and medicine that are affordable and accessible to all, whilst building and maintaining resilient, open, and connected supply chains and supporting a sustained economic recovery. Towards this end, ASEAN Ministers welcomed China’s pledge to support the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and looked forward to China’s support to the ASEAN Regional Reserves of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergency once it is established. The ASEAN Ministers also encourage support from China in ASEAN’s efforts to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and the development of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. 5. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as the key code of conduct governing interState relations in the region, underscored its relevance to the wider region and recognised its contribution to promoting regional peace, stability, and security. 6. The Meeting underscored the importance of maintaining ASEAN Centrality and unity in the evolving regional architecture and reiterated their commitment to supporting an ASEAN-centred regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based, built upon ASEAN-led mechanisms, strengthening the efficiency of and promoting mutually-reinforcing synergy between the ASEANled mechanisms, including the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East 83 Selected Documentation


Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). The Meeting underscored the importance of multilateralism, regionalism and international law in contributing to global and regional peace, stability and prosperity. The ASEAN Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and looked forward to China’s cooperation with ASEAN through ASEAN-led mechanisms to promote mutual trust and confidence as well as to contribute to peace and prosperity in the region. 7. The Meeting welcomed the progress made towards the full conclusion of the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. The Ministers looked forward to the signing of a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial agreement by the end of this year to demonstrate the firm commitment of ASEAN and its partners to upholding an open, inclusive, well-functioning and rules-based multilateral trading system. 8. The Meeting supported deepening defence exchange and cooperation between ASEAN and China. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed the successful holding of the joint maritime exercise among ASEAN countries and China in Qingdao in April 2019, the completion of the first exchange program for ASEAN and Chinese young and middle-aged officers and military think tanks in China in October 2019, and the 10th ASEAN-China Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok in November 2019. The Meeting reiterated the importance of cooperation in combating transnational crimes and addressing other nontraditional security issues through mechanisms including ASEAN-China Ministerial and Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crimes (AMMTC and SOMTC+China) Consultations and the ASEAN Senior Official on Drug Matters (ASOD)+China Consultations, and looked forward to the effective implementation of the ASEAN-China Work Plan on Cooperation in the Field of Non-Traditional Security Issues (2019-2023). The Meeting noted the Global Initiative on Data Security put forward by China, and agreed to explore the establishment of an ASEAN-China Cyber Dialogue mechanism to exchange views on policy coordination in cyber and data security. 9. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN-China cooperation in mitigating the impact of COVID-19, as underlined at the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 on 20 February 2020 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, and the Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 on 14 April 2020 via videoconference, as well as the Special ASEAN-China Transport Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 by on 16 July 2020. ASEAN and China continued to strengthen cooperation through ASEAN platforms and mechanisms, including regular, timely and transparent sharing and exchanges of situation updates, technical information and experiences in response to the outbreak, as well as sharing experiences in prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment, and 84 Selected Documentation


other aspects of national responses. ASEAN welcomed China’s commitment to keep markets open for trade and investment, and to strengthen the resiliency and sustainability of regional supply chains especially for essential goods such as food, commodities, medicines and medical supplies. ASEAN appreciated China’s commitment that its COVID-19 vaccines once developed will be provided to ASEAN countries on a priority basis. ASEAN also appreciated China’s support including its committed financial contribution to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, including an exclusive allocation of the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund to support programs in public health sector as well as the provision of medical supplies and equipment to ASEAN Member States. The Meeting underscored the need to strengthen cooperation in public health including exploring the establishment of an ASEAN-China liaison mechanism for public health emergencies. 10.The Meeting noted the importance of the digital economy to regional resilience which had been underscored by the COVID-19 outbreak. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed the launching ceremony of the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation conducted on 12 June 2020 via videoconference under the theme of “Combating COVID-19 through Joint Efforts and Cooperation through ICT and Digital Development” and expressed appreciation for the Messages of Congratulations delivered by H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam as the ASEAN Chair 2020, and H.E Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, at the launching ceremony. The Meeting also looked forward to discussions on the List of Activities for the ASEAN-China Year of Digital Economy Cooperation including China’s Initiative on Building ASEAN-China Partnership on Digital Economy and its work plan to explore cooperation in digital economy, smart manufacturing, 5G, big data, and smart city. 11.The Meeting reaffirmed the commitment to further strengthen ASEAN-China economic cooperation, including through, among others, supporting the multilateral trading system and enhancing regional economic integration frameworks. The Meeting welcomed the entry into force of the Upgrading Protocol under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) as well as the implementation of the enhanced rules for trade in goods under the protocol. The Meeting looked forward to the continued discussions on the other aspects of the future Work Programme under the protocol as well as cooperation in new areas including e-commerce, non-tariff barriers and MSMEs to further enhance the FTA. Furthermore, the Meeting underlined the need for ASEAN and China to work together to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. In this regard, the Meeting reaffirmed the commitment of ASEAN and China to facilitating trade and investment in order to maintain regional and global supply chain as underlined in the ASEAN-China Economic Ministers' Joint Statement on Combating the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Enhancing the ACFTA Cooperation issued on 29 May 2020. 85 Selected Documentation


12.The Meeting welcomed China’s proposal for the East Asia Summit (EAS) Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation to Promote Steady Growth of Regional Economy to be adopted at the 15th East Asia Summit in November this year, with a view to contributing to ensuring stable and sustained growth of the region. 13.The Meeting recognised the importance of deepening regional connectivity by, inter alia, enhancing synergies between the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC 2025) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and looked forward to the implementation of ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Synergising between the MPAC 2025 and the BRI adopted by the Leaders at the 22nd ASEANChina Summit in November 2019 in Thailand. In this regard, the Meeting encouraged the early convening of a meeting between ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC) and Chinese Working Committee of the ChinaASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Committee (CWC-CACCC) to discuss priority areas and projects. The Meeting also looked forward to working towards the full liberalisation of the ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement (AC-ATA), which will further enhance regional connectivity. 14.The Meeting agreed to explore an ASEAN-China Partnership on Blue Economy as envisaged in the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 and reiterated at the 22nd ASEAN-China Summit. 15.The Meeting reaffirmed the commitment to closer people-to-people exchanges including through education, tourism and media, with a view to promoting mutual trust and understanding between the people of ASEAN and China. The Meeting agreed to further leverage the role of the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund and noted with appreciation the on-going implementation of the ASEAN-China Young Leaders’ Scholarship (ACYLS). 16.The Meeting exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and concern. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea and recognised the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of upholding international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. The Meeting reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation. The Meeting further reaffirmed the need to pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. The Meeting emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and selfrestraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, that 86 Selected Documentation


could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea. 17.The Meeting underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety. The Meeting welcomed on-going efforts to promote the implementation of the DOC, including confidence building measures and exploring practical maritime cooperation initiatives. The Meeting noted the conduct of the ad-hoc video conference of the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. The Meeting also took note of the Paper on “Best Practices and Non-Binding Guidelines for Cooperative Activities on Marine Environmental Protection in the South China Sea”, initiated by Thailand. The Meeting further encouraged ASEAN and China to optimize the use of this Paper as appropriate and on a voluntary basis. The Meeting warmly welcomed the continuously improving cooperation between ASEAN and China, and were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) that is consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, within a mutuallyagreed timeline. The Meeting acknowledged efforts undertaken by ASEAN and China for the step-by-step resumption of the COC negotiations, including continuing the second reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text in spite of the evolving pandemic situation. The Meeting emphasised the need to maintain and promote an environment conducive to the COC negotiations, and thus welcomed practical measures that could reduce tensions and the risk of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation. 18.The Meeting welcomed the proposal to designate 2021 as the ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation with key areas including poverty alleviation, disaster prevention and mitigation, climate change and environmental protection, noting that the issues concerning sustainable development in all dimensions are crucial and ASEAN-China cooperation would contribute to the implementation of UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Meeting looked forward to concrete projects and programmes under the Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation, including through the collaborative work of the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) in Thailand. The Meeting welcomed China’s proposal to establish a ministerial meeting mechanism on disaster management with ASEAN to better cope with natural disasters. In this connection, the meeting emphasised the need for ASEAN and China to enhance cooperation in areas related to sustainable development which may include sustainable water resources management, degradation of the environment, food security, and livelihoods of the poor and poverty eradication.

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19.The Meeting agreed to undertake consultation and coordination in exploring the establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and China. The Meeting also looked forward to the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations in 2021. (G) Chairman’s Statement of the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2020/09/Final-Chairmans-Statement -of-21st-ASEAN-Plus-Three-Foreign-Ministers-Me....pdf Released on: September 9, 2020 (H) Chairman’s Statement of the 10th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2020/09/Final-Chairmans-Statement -of-the-10th-East-Asia-Summit-Foreign-Ministers-Meeting.pdf Released on: September 9, 2020 (I) Video Address by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Video Meeting Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1814042.shtml Released on: September 9, 2020 Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Colleagues, This year marks the 15th anniversary of the EAS. This regional framework is standing at a new historical starting point. Our most pressing task this year is to further build consensus on jointly combating COVID-19, bolster cooperation on reviving growth and safeguard peace and development in the region. - We need to create new impetus for the battle against COVID-19. Nothing is more important than containing the virus and saving lives. All countries should follow a science-based approach, oppose politicizing the virus, support the role of WHO, intensify health policy communication and anti-epidemic coordination, and work together to build a global community of health for all. China has engaged in an emergency humanitarian action on a scale unseen in the history of the People's Republic, and has provided assistance of high-demand supplies to over 150 countries and international organizations. This action will continue in light of the needs of other countries.

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Going forward, China would like to co-host with Indonesia and Vietnam the EAS Health Experts Meeting on COVID-19 to share latest diagnostic, therapeutic and containment experience. We will expand the coverage of public health programs to enhance our resilience against health risks. China will provide support to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and work with ASEAN for the regional reserve of medical supplies for public health emergencies. The key to COVID-19 response at the current stage is the research and development, production and distribution of vaccines. China is carrying out vaccine cooperation with other regional countries on multiple fronts. We will share the vaccines with other countries through various means as they become available in order to deliver on President Xi Jinping's pledge of making China's vaccines a global public good. We EAS members should harness our comparative strengths and form a synergy to promote the accessibility and affordability of vaccines and build a strong regional firewall against COVID-19. - We need to take new steps for economic recovery. Forecast of the International Monetary Fund suggests that East Asia may be the only region achieving positive growth this year. We must work together to make East Asia a stable source of growth in the post-COVID world. We should pursue open development, especially enhancing scientific and technological cooperation and division of labor, to upgrade our industrial and value chains. We should stick to free trade, uphold multilateral trading rules, and develop a high-standard regional free trade network. We should continue to pursue win-win and all-win, and reject zero-sum rivalry to make the pie of cooperation bigger and advance the greatest possible common interests. China's growth returned to the positive territory in the second quarter of this year. We are fostering a new development architecture with domestic circulation as the mainstay and mutual reinforcement of domestic and international circulations. China will open its door even wider. Its mega-sized domestic market and release of the potential in domestic demand will open up greater space for other countries' cooperation with China and provide a stronger underpinning for regional and global growth. China suggests releasing a "Statement on Cooperation for Steady Growth of the Regional Economy" at the EAS Summit this year, to galvanize efforts toward 89 Selected Documentation


signing the RCEP before the end of the year and increase the effectiveness of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization. China is ready to work with other regional countries to craft plans for economic recovery and put in place a regional network of "fast tracks" and "green lanes" to facilitate the flow of people and goods and foster an enabling environment for economic development in our region. - We need to provide firm safeguards for regional peace and stability. East Asia has long maintained a sound development momentum. This is attributable to the fact that our region has an ASEAN-centered East Asian cooperation architecture, promoted the ASEAN Way of consensus building, and developed sound interactions between major countries in the region. The recent ASEAN foreign ministers' statement on the importance of maintaining regional peace and stability once again reflected the shared desire for peace, development and cooperation. China, as ASEAN's strategic partner and amicable, close neighbor, will continue to firmly support ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation, firmly advance the vision of cooperation for win-win results, and firmly safeguard peace and stability in the region. EAS members need to follow the shared aspirations of regional countries and respect their legitimate pursuits. EAS members need to uphold multilateralism with East Asian features, adhere to the basic principles for regional cooperation, and make more positive contributions to enduring peace and prosperity in East Asia. Colleagues, The South China Sea issue was raised at each EAS Foreign Ministers' Meeting in recent years, and each time, it was certain non-regional countries that would deliberately play the issue up and make waves. I suspect this year would be no exception, and things could go even further this time. The new development this year is that the United States, motivated by its own political needs, has openly abandoned its promise of not taking sides on disputes over sovereignty and directly interfered in the territorial and maritime disputes in the region. In the first half of this year alone, the US sent nearly 3,000 sorties of military aircraft and some 60 naval vessels to the South China Sea, including, in many cases, bombers and dual carrier operations. 90 Selected Documentation


Repeatedly flexing its muscles, the US has reinforced its military deployment, barging into waters in disputes, disputes to which the US is not a party, and deliberately heightening the risk of regional conflict. Such acts are becoming the biggest factor fueling militarization in the South China Sea. The US has also been causing disturbances to COC consultations, disrupting the efforts of China and ASEAN countries to resolve disputes through consultation and seeking to pit regional countries against one another. The purpose of these moves is to destabilize the South China Sea and the larger region to create an excuse for pushing the US Indo-Pacific strategy. These moves neither serve the interests of countries in the region, nor meet the trend of our times. They are becoming the most dangerous factor jeopardizing peace in the South China Sea. Regarding the various US smears against China's position, I will just lay out a few basic facts here: First, China's sovereignty and sovereign rights over the South China Sea Islands have solid historical and legal grounds. Under international law, UNCLOS included, the historic rights of countries should be respected. The Chinese government officially published the dotted line in the South China Sea in 1948 to further make clear that the South China Sea Islands are Chinese territory. In July 2016, China published a government statement which clearly set out China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. China's claims have been consistent. They have not changed, and will not change. They have not expanded, yet nor will they contract. The allegation that China claims all waters within the dotted line as its internal waters and territorial sea is totally unfounded. It is a deliberate attempt to confuse different concepts and distort China's position. Second, China follows a policy of pursuing amity and friendship with its neighbors, and has been working to play a constructive role on the South China Sea issue. As early as in 2002, China signed the DOC with ASEAN countries, committing to resolve disputes by peaceful means, through dialogue and consultation by parties directly concerned, and not to conduct activities that would complicate or escalate the situation, or resort to the threat or use of force. China has all along kept to this shared commitment. In recent years, China has actively advanced consultations on the COC, taking it as an upgrade of the DOC. We wish to develop a set of substantive and effective rules, to provide a stronger underpinning for peace in the South China Sea. 91 Selected Documentation


China has the capability, and the need, to explore oil and gas resources in the South China Sea on its own. However, we have never drilled a single oil well in the disputed waters. Instead, we have persistently called for "pursuing joint development while setting aside disputes". Under this framework, we recognize the energy needs of other littoral states, and are ready to seek win-win and allwin. China's construction activities on some islands and reefs in the past few years are both to improve the living conditions there, as public goods for the South China Sea, and to meet the need of safeguarding China's own security. Faced with the rising military pressure from non-regional countries, we certainly have the right of self-preservation as a sovereign state. Third, China is committed to observing international law, UNCLOS included. China was an important contributor to the conclusion of UNCLOS. After the Convention entered into force, there appeared overlapping claims to maritime rights and interests. We maintain that parties, without prejudice to their positions, seek acceptable solutions through diplomatic dialogue and consultation in accordance with law. As is known to all, UNCLOS has no jurisdiction over territorial disputes. As for disputes over maritime delimitation, the Chinese government has issued a policy statement in 2006, excluding the disputes from the compulsory dispute settlement procedures under relevant UNCLOS provisions. China's refusal to accept or participate in an arbitration conducted without the consent of parties concerned is totally justified and has full legal basis. Peace and stability is China's highest strategic interest in the South China Sea. It is also the common strategic objective of China and ASEAN countries. The South China Sea is not an arena for geopolitics, nor should it become a wrestling ground for major-country rivals. We hope that non-regional countries, the US included, will fully respect the wishes and aspirations of regional countries, instead of being bent on stoking tensions and seeking one's selfish interests. Colleagues, Cooperating on cross-border water resources is a global challenge. At the recent Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting, China took the initiative and announced that it will share Lancang River's hydrological data for the whole year with Mekong countries starting from this year.

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China will also actively engage in cooperation projects on dam safety and flood early warning to enhance the region's capacity for integrated river basin management. China is working with the Mekong countries to turn the challenge surrounding cross-border water resources into a highlight of transnational cooperation, to serve the well-being of people in the region and contribute to global and regional governance. On the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China is committed to the denuclearization of the Peninsula, to peace and stability on the Peninsula and to dialogue and consultation in seeking a resolution. The situation on the Peninsula is broadly stable. That said, DPRK-US dialogue is still stalled. The crux of the problem is that the US has not responded to the DPRK's legitimate and justified concerns on security and development. The DPRK and the ROK are the host countries on the Peninsula, and improved relations between the two sides are vitally important. China supports all remarks and actions that help preserve the momentum of dialogue and de-escalation on the Peninsula, and will continue to play a constructive role in facilitating a political settlement of the Peninsula issue and upholding enduring peace and stability in the region. On the issue of the Rakhine State, China has all along called for dialogue and consultation between Myanmar and Bangladesh for early repatriation of the displaced persons. China has proposed a three-phase approach to the issue and provided multiple rounds of humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and Bangladesh. We hope the two sides can overcome the impact of COVID-19 and make early, proper arrangements on the repatriation. China will continue to provide constructive assistance. Colleagues, As a leaders-led strategic forum, the EAS is for communication and cooperation at the strategic level. It is not a forum to interfere in other countries' internal affairs, still less should it be an arena for attacks against the political system of others. Hong Kong and other relevant affairs are China's internal affairs. Noninterference into others' internal affairs is a basic norm governing international relations, and an important provision in the UN Charter. All countries are 93 Selected Documentation


obligated to observe this principle. In judging a country's political and legal systems, it is the people of the country concerned that have the best say, not the governments or politicians of other countries. International surveys on public opinion show that the approving rates for China's governing party and the Chinese government by the Chinese people are both high on the global rankings. This is the most powerful rebuttal to the smears and attacks against China. Colleagues, Upholding the sound momentum of East Asian cooperation and deepening cooperation against COVID-19 and for development is the call of our times and our historical responsibility. China is ready to work with all parties for deeper strategic communication, mutual trust and coordination. We hope that the EAS will play an active and constructive role to this end. Thank you! (J) Chairman’s Statement of the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2020/09/Final-27th-ARF-ChairmanStatement_as-of-13-September-2020-clean.pdf Released on: September 12, 2020

November (K) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 23rd China-ASEAN Summit Source: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202011/13/WS5fad6e7ca31024ad 0ba93c17.html Released on: November 12, 2020 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Colleagues, It is a great pleasure to meet you all again. I would like to thank the Vietnamese government and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for your hard work in putting this meeting together. I look forward to our in-depth discussion on China-ASEAN cooperation and common development into the future.

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This has been an unusual year for the world as COVID-19 seriously affected the development and external interactions of all countries. Either in combating the coronavirus or recovering the economy, we must stay the course of openness and cooperation. In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed that China will join hands with all other countries to create opportunities in opening-up and tackle difficult problems through cooperation. Since the start of COVID-19, China and ASEAN have taken the lead in conducting regional anti-epidemic cooperation. We have met online several times and discussed in-depth ways for tackling the immediate challenge. Thanks to our joint efforts, we have overcome the impact of the pandemic and resumed the growth of China-ASEAN economic cooperation and trade. In the first three quarters, China-ASEAN trade reached 481.81 billion US dollars, up by five percent year-on-year, making ASEAN China's largest trading partner. China's industry-wide foreign direct investment in ASEAN topped 10.72 billion US dollars, jumping 76.6 percent year-on-year. These figures speak volumes about the strong foundation and potential of our cooperation. Such achievements are a further testament to the growing maturity and stability of China-ASEAN relations after three decades of development. Among ASEAN's dialogue partners, China has been number one on many fronts. China was the first to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, the first to forge strategic partnership with ASEAN, the first to start FTA negotiations with ASEAN, and the first to give unequivocal support for ASEAN centrality in East Asian regional cooperation. China and ASEAN working in concert has been a key underlying factor behind the strong momentum of China-ASEAN cooperation and its important role in ensuring regional stability and prosperity. First, we have pursued the path of solidarity and development by upholding good neighborliness and friendship. China and ASEAN are permanent neighbors and close partners, and our people enjoy a deep bond of friendship. In times of adversities, from the two financial crises, to major natural disasters such as tsunamis and SARS and to the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, we have always stood together and looked out for each other in the spirit of a community with a shared future. Second, we have pursued the path of common development by promoting winwin cooperation. China-ASEAN cooperation is open, inclusive and delivers benefits to both sides. Seeing each other's development as crucial opportunities, we have promoted integrated and interconnected development by synergizing development plans and strengthening connectivity, and advocated multilateralism and free trade. These common endeavors have made the pie of shared interests bigger; they have not only facilitated our own development, but 95 Selected Documentation


also injected a strong impetus into the stable economic development of the region and beyond. Third, we have pursued the path of peaceful development by adhering to dialogue and consultation. Peace and stability are the preconditions for development and prosperity. It is natural for neighbors to sometimes run into frictions. But, if handled properly, these frictions will not disrupt the course of development. We all believe that countries should respect each other, seek common ground while putting aside differences and settle differences and disputes through friendly consultations. Such shared commitments have fostered a regional environment of peace and stability. Fourth, we have pursued the path of coordinated development by putting people first. For us, the fundamental interests of the two billion people of China and ASEAN countries are always the top-order priority. In the face of COVID-19, we have cared deeply about life and livelihood, extended a helping hand to those most in need and made joint efforts to protect the life, security and health of all our peoples. We have also facilitated practical cooperation to safeguard and enhance peoples' well-being in light of their real needs. Colleagues, As the pandemic continues to spread across the world, global recovery will be a difficult and tortuous process. Rising protectionism and unilateralism have put the global governance system and multilateral institutions in jeopardy. Economic and social development at the regional and international levels face serious challenges. It is encouraging to see that the pandemic situation has largely stabilized in East Asia and is turning for the better. Countries in our region are reopening economies in an orderly manner with normalized containment measures in place. More and more positive factors indicate a steady return to economic and social progress. Last month, the Communist Party of China (CPC) convened the Fifth Plenum of its 19th Central Committee and adopted the Recommendations of the CPC Central Committee on Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Goals for 2035. The Recommendations proposed that China embrace a new development philosophy for high-quality development and move expeditiously to forge a new development paradigm. As China strives to expand domestic demand, we will pursue opening-up at a higher level. This will enable us to better match the two huge markets of China and ASEAN, bring out greater dynamism from within our economies, and contribute to regional economic recovery and sustainable development. As China's close 96 Selected Documentation


economic and trading partner, ASEAN will be the first to benefit from this development strategy. China has always regarded ASEAN as a priority in our neighborhood diplomacy. We firmly support ASEAN's community-building, support ASEAN's efforts in strengthening its centrality in regional cooperation, and support ASEAN's greater role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture. We are ready to work with ASEAN to cement good-neighbourliness, uphold multilateralism and free trade, and push for more concrete outcomes in various areas of our cooperation by implementing the Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, and the recently finalized Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025). These joint efforts will not only boost development on both sides, but also facilitate economic recovery within the region and safeguard regional and global peace and stability. To achieve this goal, I propose that China and ASEAN work together in the following areas: First, we need to defeat COVID-19 together and upgrade public health cooperation. As there appears to be no end in sight to the pandemic, vaccine R&D will be key to a complete victory against the virus. China is reaching out to several ASEAN countries on vaccine R&D and production cooperation, and will actively consider ASEAN countries' needs when our COVID vaccines are developed and deployed. This will be China's concrete action to promote vaccine accessibility and affordability. China is ready to hold more "Friends of Vaccines" activities in collaboration with the ASEAN Committee in Beijing or through other channels to promote information sharing and cooperation. We would like to launch the Liaison Mechanism for Public Health Emergencies with ASEAN at an early date, earnestly implement the China-ASEAN Cooperation Program on Public Health Management, and ensure the success of the third China-ASEAN Health Cooperation Forum. We will carry out more practical cooperation projects with ASEAN, including the China-ASEAN Human Resources Training Program of Health Silk Road, the China-ASEAN Training Program for Public Health Executives and other similar programs to help ASEAN countries build capacity. We support ASEAN in establishing the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies. China offers to lead efforts in setting up an APT reserve of essential medical supplies to pool resources from different quarters and optimize the distribution and utilization of emergency response supplies in our region. We will continue to support WHO in playing its role, enhance international cooperation and joint pandemic response, and work for a global community of health for all. 97 Selected Documentation


Second, we need to focus on economic cooperation and trade and boost regional economic recovery. China actively supports ASEAN in adopting and implementing the Comprehensive Recovery Framework and steadily reopening the economy. We welcome the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). It will be an important step for regional countries to uphold the multilateral trading system and build an open world economy, which is vital to deepening regional economic integration and stabilizing the global economy. China is ready to work with ASEAN to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the full establishment of the China-ASEAN FTA and release a report on its 10-year development. Going forward, we need to further implement our free trade agreement and the upgrading protocol, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the region. China will import more high-quality agricultural products from ASEAN and encourage Chinese businesses to increase investment in ASEAN. We also welcome your active participation in the 17th China-ASEAN Expo to share in our market opportunities. China wishes to further leverage the bilateral "fast tracks" and build a regional "fast track" network. Our two sides need to further synergize the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with ASEAN's development plans, hold the meeting of the Connectivity Cooperation Committee at an early date to discuss priority cooperation areas and projects, and steadily advance the China-Laos Railway, the China-Thailand Railway, the Jakarta-Bundung Railway and other major projects. China has completed the first stage of fund-raising of the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperation Fund II, totaling one billion US dollars. The Fund will be officially established and put into operation as soon as possible to support ASEAN's major projects in such fields as infrastructure, energy and resources, and boost regional economic and trade exchanges. Third, we need to create highlights in digital economy and foster new sources of growth for cooperation. The importance of digital economy has been further revealed in the context of COVID-19. ASEAN has adopted the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025, and China is formulating a national plan on IT application for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). On such basis, our two sides need to leverage the opportunities of the Year of Digital Economy Cooperation to synergize digital development strategies and boost infrastructure development and transformation in this field. We need to intensify cooperation on innovation in e-commerce, smart city, big data, 5G and other areas, and promote joint R&D, technological exchanges and human resources development. In this connection, China welcomes the release of the Initiative on Building China-ASEAN Partnership on Digital Economy. Now what is needed is to work out follow-up plans to put it into practice.

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China has put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, and it would be useful for our two sides to establish a China-ASEAN Cyber Dialogue mechanism to share experience and enhance capacity building cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity and digital governance. We need to release the Plan of Action on a Closer Partnership of Science, Technology and Innovation for Future (2021-2025) as early as possible. China hopes to make the China-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation a regular one and stands ready to host its second meeting in 2021 for in-depth communication and exchanges on scientific and technological innovation. Fourth, we need to promote sustainable development and strengthen preparedness for risks. Pursuing sustainable economic and social development is our shared objective. China welcomes the decision to make 2021 the ChinaASEAN Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation and stands ready to step up cooperation on ecological conservation, environmental protection, disaster prevention and mitigation, climate change, and poverty reduction. China will ensure the success of the China-ASEAN Social Development and Poverty Reduction Forum as a platform for us to share experience on digitally enabled poverty reduction. We look forward to the early adoption and implementation of the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan (20212025), and stand ready to hold the China-ASEAN High-level Forum on Green and Sustainable Development. We also welcome your active participation in the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) to be held next year in Kunming. China welcomes the establishment of a China-ASEAN Ministers' Meeting on Disaster Management and expects the first meeting to be held as early as possible. China is ready to work with ASEAN to build a Partnership on Blue Economy. We look to work with you to put it into practice in an expeditious manner. China will make good use of the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Fund and other resources to support early harvest projects in relevant fields. The Lancang-Mekong cooperation and China and BIMP-EAGA cooperation are important components of China-ASEAN cooperation. We will encourage greater synergy between these cooperation mechanisms and the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor to help facilitate ASEAN integration and promote balanced and coordinated development of the region. Our two sides need to further enrich cooperation in other areas. To build up cooperation on defense and non-traditional security issues, China will continue to hold the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting, the exchange programs for Chinese and ASEAN military think tanks and young and middle-aged officers, and the joint naval exercise of China and Southeast Asian countries. We will continue to work for a direct hot line between our defense departments and will convene the second "Security for Prosperity" China-ASEAN Ministerial Dialogue on Law Enforcement and Security Cooperation in China next year. 99 Selected Documentation


Our two sides need to keep working closely for the approval and implementation of the Outreach Program on Revised Rules of Origin under CAFTA Upgrading Protocol and the program on building ASEAN Tourism Digital Platform, as part of Chinese assistance. Next year, China will contribute another 10 million US dollars to the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund to support the China-ASEAN Young Leaders Scholarship and other signature projects on cultural exchanges. This will provide impetus to social and cultural cooperation, the third pillar of China-ASEAN relations. Colleagues, The South China Sea is the shared home for countries in the region. The situation there has on the whole been stable. This is attributable to the fact that China and ASEAN countries, bearing in mind the larger interests, have actively managed differences with the "dual-track" approach, deepened cooperation, fully and effectively implemented the DOC and steadily advanced the COC consultations. Over the past 18 years, the DOC has served as a guide for the parties to enhance dialogue, trust and cooperation. As an upgraded version of the DOC, the COC will be a more substantive, effective and operable document that provides further institutional safeguards for peace and stability in the South China Sea. China remains firmly committed and determined to conclude the COC consultations at an early date. We call on all parties to overcome the impact of COVID-19, think creatively, and accelerate the consultations in a flexible and pragmatic way. By so doing, we will demonstrate to the international community that we have the wisdom and capability to properly manage the situation in the South China Sea and safeguard its peace and stability. China will positively consider convening face-to-face consultations in China, as soon as the COVID-19 situation allows, to advance the second reading of the COC. Safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea is the shared aspiration of countries in the region, and dialogue is the right way forward to resolve disputes. Colleagues, Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. Our friendship and cooperation, which is fully established, will move toward greater maturity as we both enter an important period of development. Taking the 30th anniversary as an opportunity, we proposed elevating our relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership. China will stand in solidarity with ASEAN countries to address the difficulties head on. Together, we will usher in even brighter prospects for the China-ASEAN strategic partnership and contribute even more to peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region. 100 Selected Documentation


Thank you. (L) The Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025) For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2012/05/ASEAN-China-POA-20212025.pdf Released on: November 12, 2020 (M) Speech by Premier Li Keqiang at the 23rd ASEAN Plus China, Japan, and South Korea Summit Source: http://english.www.gov.cn/premier/speeches/202011/15/content_W S5fb084e2c6d0f7257693fc2e.html Released on: November 14, 2020 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Colleagues, It gives me great pleasure to see all of you again via video link. I wish to thank the government of Vietnam and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for your thoughtful arrangements. In April, we held a Special ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit on COVID-19. Since then, all parties have been actively implementing its outcomes, which has bolstered both our response against the virus and economic recovery in the region. Such progress has highlighted APT’s important role as the main channel of East Asian cooperation. APT cooperation was initiated in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. Over the years, countries in the region have followed the trend of economic globalization and regional economic integration and deepened practical cooperation in various fields. Today, APT cooperation is underpinned by a multitiered framework covering wide-ranging areas. A number of crisis response mechanisms including the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) and the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) have been established. A broad vision has been outlined for an East Asian Community. All this has contributed to stability and prosperity in East Asia, fostered a regional culture of unity, coordination, inclusiveness, and openness, and brought benefits and hope to our peoples. With COVID-19 raging unabated and economic globalization facing headwinds, economic integration in East Asia is confronted with new challenges. Meanwhile, it remains our shared aspiration to pursue enduring prosperity and stability in 101 Selected Documentation


the region, and it serves our common interests to pursue interconnected development and shared opportunities. APT countries’ COVID-19 response has produced initial results. Business activities as well as industrial and supply chains are coming back gradually. Existing mechanisms and channels for regional cooperation are functioning smoothly. As relevant international agencies projected, East Asia is expected to be the only region to post positive growth in 2020. The resilience of East Asian countries has enhanced our confidence and capacity to overcome challenges. Colleagues, APT countries are a vital force for the economic development of the East Asian region. We need to enhance communication and coordination and promote greater harmonization of policies and rules. More resilient and vibrant APT cooperation will boost the economic recovery of our region and lay a solid foundation for its development in the long run. In this connection, I would like to make the following proposals: First, we need to work more closely on COVID-19 response and strengthen public health capacity building. Facing a second wave of infections worldwide, vaccines are a powerful weapon for us all. Four Chinese vaccines are currently in Phase III clinical trials, and China is collaborating with a number of countries on R&D, production, and procurement. China has joined COVAX and is ready to advance international vaccine cooperation. We will take into account the needs of countries in the region, and work for the accessibility and affordability of vaccines. China welcomes the official launch of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies (RRMS). We will work with other parties for the setting-up of an APT Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies and enhance its coordination with the RRMS. Next year, China will host the APT Tabletop Exercises for Public Health Emergencies. We look forward to your participation. We will also encourage the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other international financial institutions to support COVID-19 response efforts of regional countries. Second, we need to accelerate the building of FTAs and deepen integrated development of East Asia. Accounting for nearly a third of the global GDP, APT countries are important engines of the world economy. Highly integrated and complementary, we all have a stake in each other’s success. In the first three quarters, even under COVID-19, China’s trade with ASEAN, Japan, and the ROK have all held basically steady. It is especially worth noting that, after eight years of hard work, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be officially signed by the relevant parties. As the most promising FTA covering 102 Selected Documentation


the largest population and most diverse membership, the RCEP will be yet another important milestone in regional economic integration following the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community. It accommodates the broadest possible interests, conditions, and priorities of different countries. Embodying the spirit of multilateralism, the RCEP sends a clear message of East Asian countries working together for shared prosperity and will make important contributions to regional development and global recovery. China will, as always, support ASEAN centrality and work for early entry into force of this FTA to facilitate the flow of goods, technologies, services, people, and capital in this region and foster a unified regional system of economic and trade rules. China will work vigorously with all parties to ensure sound implementation of the RCEP and enable businesses and people of the region to benefit as early as possible from this successful outcome. Third, we need to facilitate the smooth functioning of the industrial and supply chains of the region and make East Asia’s industrial system more competitive. Over the past 50 years and more, a well-connected and sophisticated industrial system that draws on the strengths of different parties has gradually taken shape in East Asia, playing an important role in spurring economic growth of regional countries and enhancing regional competitiveness. Under the current circumstances, all parties must step up coordination for early restoration and smooth functioning of the region’s industrial and supply chains. China proposes that, with effective containment measures in place, a regional network of “fast tracks” and “green lanes” be established in a phased manner to facilitate the flow of people and goods. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are an indispensable link in the industrial chain. The Secretariat of APT SME Service Alliance is now officially operational in China, and the Executive Board of the APT Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism has successfully met for the first time to further support MSMEs. Taking a long view, we need to leverage the unique strengths of East Asia, including its many emerging economies, full-fledged industrial chains covering low, medium, and high ends of production, sufficient population dividends, and enormous markets. By working together, we will build an open, smooth, safe, and stable regional production system in East Asia, which will serve to raise its overall competitiveness and resilience, foster regional economic circulation, and contribute to the steady growth of the world economy. China is ready to discuss with all parties cooperation on supply chain finance and enhance the use of local currencies in trade and investment. The Joint Study on 10+3 Cooperation for Improvement of Supply Chain Connectivity has been completed and will provide useful policy guidance for the regional production system. 103 Selected Documentation


Fourth, we need to seize the opportunities of the digital economy and make East Asia the land of innovation. COVID-19 has given rise to the contactless economy, online economy, and low-carbon economy. We need to embrace the trends of digital, Internet-based, and smart development, harness the extensive scale of East Asian markets, promote cooperation in Internet-plus, big data, 5G, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, smart cities, and other fields, and pursue integrated growth of “online” and “offline” economies in order to share development opportunities and expand space for growth. We hope all parties will uphold market principles and create a fair, equitable, non-discriminatory, and predictable business environment for cooperation among enterprises. China has put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security in the hope of enhancing data governance cooperation with all parties and jointly forging a cyberspace featuring peace, security, openness, cooperation, and order. We may also explore greater financial innovation by harnessing financial technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence, which will make the financial sector better able to serve the real economy and the general public. We need to explore the design of diversified supporting facilities for the regional financial safety net and make the CMIM more effective and readily available. The role of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office will be further enhanced, and the Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility better utilized. Fifth, we need to focus on cooperation in social and livelihood areas to realize sustainable development in East Asia. COVID-19 has disrupted our efforts and eroded the gains in poverty alleviation. For China, this year is the year for winning a decisive victory against extreme poverty. While relieving poverty in our country, we will continue to do our best to help meet the poverty reduction needs in ASEAN countries. China will implement the projects under the East Asian Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction (phase II), including building small-scale infrastructure and public service facilities in poverty-stricken areas and demonstration and capacity building programs for livelihood improvement. We will continue to hold the APT Village Leaders Exchange Program and facilitate the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration. All these will contribute to realizing balanced development in the region. Parties need to work together to promote post-COVID green recovery. China proposes conducting climate change cooperation among coastal cities and developing an APT platform for exchanges between coastal cities. Communication and dialogue will be stepped up on the prevention and treatment of marine plastic debris, and China will continue to host the APT Clean Energy Roundtable Dialogue. To increase our region’s capability for disaster management and emergency response, China proposes holding the APT 104 Selected Documentation


Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management at an early date. China is also ready to carry out more cooperation programs on health, environmental protection, and disaster relief under the “China-Japan-ROK plus X” model. East Asia cannot achieve greater prosperity and progress without a peaceful and stable international environment. As a close neighbor of the Korean Peninsula and a responsible major country, China supports the positive efforts by the ROK to improve inter-Korean relations. China is ready to work with other regional countries and play a positive role in realizing lasting peace in the region. Colleagues, The sudden onslaught of COVID-19 has seriously impacted China’s economy. GDP dropped by 6.8 percent year on year in the first quarter of this year, and the unemployment rate rose notably. In response, China has adopted a coordinated approach to control the virus and promote economic and social development. A host of measures were promptly taken to reopen the economy, support businesses, sustain jobs, and protect people’s livelihood to minimize the impact of COVID-19. Starting from April, China’s economy has been recovering month by month. GDP grew by 0.7 percent year on year for the first three quarters. It is worth noting that the employment situation has been basically stable, with 8.98 million new urban jobs created, close to fulfilling this year’s projected target, and the surveyed urban unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in September. On the whole, China’s employment and economic fundamentals have remained stable, which is a testament to the strong resilience and tremendous potential of China’s economy, and the timely, strong, and well-calibrated macro policies we have implemented. This year is the final year for the implementation of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. All the goals laid out in the Plan are expected to be met on schedule, and the task of building a moderately prosperous society will soon be completed. Last month, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee was successfully held. The plenum adopted the Recommendations of the CPC Central Committee for Formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Goals for 2035, drawing up a new blueprint for China’s development in the coming years. From next year on, China will begin a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country and enter a new stage of development. China has set out to foster a new development paradigm that aims to promote both domestic and international circulations. We will give greater importance to 105 Selected Documentation


boosting domestic demand and energizing the domestic market, and place greater emphasis on international cooperation and opening-up. With a 1.4 billion population and a middle-income group of over 400 million, China is the world’s most promising market. Going forward, China will pursue a higher level of opening-up across the board, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and improve the management system combining pre-establishment national treatment and the negative list for the access of foreign investment. We will protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign businesses in accordance with the law and foster a level playing field where all businesses, domestic or foreign, are treated as equals. China, a big market open to the whole world, will provide more development opportunities for its neighbors and for all in the world. East Asia is our shared home; we must all take care of it and build it into a better place. I am confident that with our concerted efforts, East Asia will emerge from the pandemic at an early date and embrace an even brighter future. Thank you. (N) Ha Noi Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit Source: https://asean.org/storage/2020/11/29-Ha-Noi-Declaration-on-the -15th-Anniversary-of-the-EAS-FINAL.pdf Released on: November 15, 2020 HA NOI DECLARATION ON THE FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE EAST ASIA SUMMIT WE, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America, met via videoconference on 14 November 2020, under Viet Nam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit; REAFFIRMING the 2005 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the East Asia Summit in setting the broad vision, principles, objectives and modalities of the East Asia Summit, our commitment in the 2010 Ha Noi Declaration on the commemoration of the Fifth Anniversary of the East Asia Summit to cooperate in priority areas of the EAS, the 2011 Bali Declaration on the Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations, and the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the

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10th Anniversary of the East Asia Summit outlining our efforts to strengthen our cooperation for promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region; NOTING that our region and the world are facing unprecedented challenges, including growing tensions as well as current and emerging non-traditional and transboundary challenges, in particular public health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic; EMPHASISING the importance of mutual trust and confidence, enhanced dialogue and cooperation and a multilateral approach in addressing challenges in order to strengthen the regional multilateral architecture to tackle pressing common regional and global issues, and to support a regional and international order anchored in international law, thus contributing to community building in the region; SUPPORTING ASEAN’s unity and centrality in the ASEAN-led mechanisms, and REAFFIRMING ASEAN as the driving force within the East Asia Summit, working in close partnership with the other participating countries, in which we strive to promote strategic trust and ensure transparent, predictable and responsible behaviour; EMPHASISING that the East Asia Summit, sitting at the apex of the ASEANcentred regional architecture, will continue to be a Leaders-led forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia, thus contributing to ASEAN Community-building efforts, and building on ASEAN’s unity and centrality to promote coherence with mutuallyreinforcing ASEAN-led processes such as the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) as well as the various ASEAN initiatives on wider regional cooperation, which are integral components of the open, inclusive, transparent and evolving regional architecture; STRESSING the need to further enable the EAS as an effective platform to deal with existing and emerging transnational and transboundary challenges as well as strengthening multilateralism; NOTING with satisfaction the establishment of regular engagement between the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR) and the non-ASEAN Ambassadors of East Asia Summit participating countries in Jakarta to discuss the implementation of Leaders’ decisions as well as exchange information on regional development cooperation initiatives and security policies and initiatives; 107 Selected Documentation


LOOKING FORWARD to the timely and effective implementation of Leaders’ decisions and the full implementation of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the East Asia Summit Development Initiative (2018-2022), including discussions on evolving regional architecture through relevant arrangements, including that of the East Asia Summit Ambassadors in Jakarta, and other ASEAN-led frameworks and mechanisms, in conformity with the EAS participating countries' obligations under international law and in accordance with their respective domestic laws, regulations, and policies; SATISFIED with the significant progress and achievements of the East Asia Summit over the past fifteen years, including substantial cooperation in addressing common challenges in the region while DESIROUS of further strengthening the East Asia Summit’s role in advancing an integrated and prosperous East Asia; DO HEREBY DECLARE on the fifteenth anniversary of the East Asia Summit: 1. To further strengthen the East Asia Summit, sitting at the apex of the ASEANcentred regional architecture, as a Leaders-led forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability, economic prosperity in East Asia, and socio-cultural cooperation for regional resilience; 2. To reaffirm the East Asia Summit’s strong commitment to multilateralism founded on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and based on international law, which are the indispensable foundation of a more peaceful and prosperous world; 3. To strengthen the East Asia Summit process so it remains relevant, constructive and effective over time by retaining the informal nature of the East Asia Summit while encouraging interactive discussions among Leaders on issues of common concern as well as collaborative efforts for mutual interest; 4. To improve the efficiency of East Asia Summit work processes, including EAS ministerial and senior officials’ mechanisms with better preparation, follow-up and timely responses; 5. To enhance practical actions and comprehensive collaboration in the priority areas of East Asia Summit cooperation, and responses to challenges of mutual concern, as well as carry out periodic reviews of areas of cooperation, reflecting current priorities, challenges and interests; 6. To enhance the role of the East Asia Summit in strengthening regional capacity on preparedness and response to communicable diseases and 108 Selected Documentation


emerging/reemerging infectious diseases including public health emergencies and pandemics; and in mitigating their social and economic consequences; 7. To underscore the importance of the East Asia Summit in further strengthening regional economic cooperation and economic relations among the East Asia Summit participating countries; 8. To enhance the East Asia Summit’s role in promoting effective synergy among connectivity initiatives in the region, including the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 with the support and contribution from ASEAN’s external partners; 9. To support ASEAN’s efforts in narrowing the development gap within ASEAN, including through the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan IV (2021-2025), and promoting sustainable development cooperation in the region; 10. To promote coherence with other ASEAN-led mechanisms which are mutually reinforcing, through fostering synergy among the mechanisms and avoiding duplication of work; 11. To recognise the contributions of the regular engagement between the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN and the non-ASEAN Ambassadors of East Asia Summit participating countries in Jakarta in the past five years, encourage its continuation as the East Asia Summit Ambassadors’ Meeting in Jakarta, through regular meetings, and further strengthen its work, including by developing any processes, as necessary, in consultation with relevant senior officials, to guide its work in discussing the implementation of Leaders’ decisions as well as exchanging information on regional development cooperation initiatives and security policies and initiatives, and the discussions on the evolving regional architecture; and 12. To further strengthen mechanisms to coordinate the implementation of Leaders’ decisions and East Asia Summit initiatives, with the support of the East Asia Summit Unit at the ASEAN Secretariat. ADOPTED on the Fourteenth of November in the Year Two Thousand and Twenty. (O) The Summary of the RCEP Agreement For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/2020/11/Summary-of-the-RCEPAgreement.pdf Released on: November 15, 2020

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(P) The Legal Text of the RCEP Agreement For detail see: https://rcepsec.org/legal-text/ Released on: November 15, 2020 (Q) Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1832612.shtml Released on: November 16, 2020 We, the Heads of State/Government of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam – Australia, China, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, met virtually on 15 November 2020, on the occasion of the 4th RCEP Summit. We were pleased to witness the signing of the RCEP Agreement, which comes at a time when the world is confronted with the unprecedented challenge brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. In light of the adverse impact of the pandemic on our economies, and our people's livelihood and well-being, the signing of the RCEP Agreement demonstrates our strong commitment to supporting economic recovery, inclusive development, job creation and strengthening regional supply chains as well as our support for an open, inclusive, rules-based trade and investment arrangement. We acknowledge that the RCEP Agreement is critical for our region's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will play an important role in building the region's resilience through inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery process. We note that the RCEP Agreement is an unprecedented mega regional trading arrangement that comprises a diverse mix of developed, developing and least developed economies of the region. As an agreement that would cover a market of 2.2 billion people, or almost 30% of the world's population, with a combined GDP of US$ 26.2 trillion or about 30% of global GDP, and accounts for nearly 28% of global trade (based on 2019 figures), we believe that RCEP, being the world's largest free trade arrangement, represents an important step forward towards an ideal framework of global trade and investment rules. We also note that the RCEP Agreement is the most ambitious free trade agreement initiated by ASEAN, which contributes to enhancing ASEAN centrality in regional frameworks and strengthening ASEAN cooperation with regional partners. With 20 Chapters, the RCEP Agreement, as a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement, includes areas and disciplines that were not previously covered in the existing free trade agreements between ASEAN and non-ASEAN countries participating in RCEP. 110 Selected Documentation


Aside from the specific provisions that cover trade in goods and services, and investment, RCEP also includes chapters on intellectual property, electronic commerce, competition, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), economic and technical cooperation and government procurement. We are confident that the RCEP Agreement would open a vast range of opportunities for businesses located in the region especially in terms of market access given the level of liberalisation for trade in goods and services and investment. We agreed that the opportunities accruing from the RCEP Agreement and its full potential can only be realised once the Agreement enters into force. Towards this end, we task our officials to expedite respective domestic ratification procedures for the early entry into force of the Agreement, which will take place when at least six ASEAN Member States and three non-ASEAN signatories deposit their instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval with the Agreement's Depositary. We have also asked Ministers to develop RCEP as a platform for dialogue and cooperation on trade and economic issues affecting the region and to report to us regularly. We are committed to ensuring that RCEP remains an open and inclusive agreement. Further, we would highly value India's role in RCEP and reiterate that the RCEP remains open to India. As one of the 16 original participating countries, India's accession to the RCEP Agreement would be welcome in view of its participation in RCEP negotiations since 2012 and its strategic importance as a regional partner in creating deeper and expanded regional value chains. In this regard, we welcomed the "Ministers' Declaration on India's Participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)" affirmed by the RCEP Ministers, as attached. (R) Chairman’s Statement of the 37th ASEAN Summit For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/43-Chairmans-Statement-of-37thASEAN-Summit-FINAL.pdf Released on: November 18, 2020 (S) Chairman’s Statement of the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/47-Final-Chairmans-Statement-ofthe-23rd-ASEAN-China-Summit.pdf Released on: November 20, 2020 (T) Chairman’s Statement of the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/44-Final-Chairmans-Statemen t-of-the-23rd-APT-Summit.pdf Released on: November 20, 2020

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(U) Chairman’s Statement of the 15th East Asia Summit For detail see: https://asean.org/storage/45-Final-Chairmans-Statement-ofthe-15th-East-Asia-Summit.pdf Released on: November 20, 2020 (V) Remarks by President Xi Jinping at the Opening Ceremony of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Source: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1836117.shtml Released on: November 27, 2020 Your Excellencies Leaders of Participating Countries, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends, As the 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) open today, I wish to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and also in my own name, a hearty welcome and warm greetings to all the guests attending in person or via the Internet. This year's CAEXPO, themed "Building the Belt and Road, Strengthening Digital Economy Cooperation", aims to deepen China-ASEAN cooperation on the digital economy, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and inject new vitality into the economic and social development of both sides. China and ASEAN countries, connected by the same mountains and rivers, share close affinity and a longstanding friendship. In 2013, I announced an initiative for China to work with ASEAN countries for a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and for a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. We are glad to note that, seven years on, China and ASEAN enjoy growing connectivity, deepening economic integration, robust business ties, and closer people-to-people exchanges. The China-ASEAN relationship has grown into the most successful and vibrant model for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and an exemplary effort in building a community with a shared future for mankind. When confronted by the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 this year, China and ASEAN have helped each other and took on the challenge in solidarity. We have reached important consensus in many respects, including sharing experience on COVID-19 response, ensuring medical supplies, conducting joint research and development of vaccines, and keeping the regional industrial and supply chains stable. At a crucial stage in China's fight against the coronavirus, ASEAN countries promptly provided invaluable support and selfless assistance to China. Once the situation began to ease on its domestic front, China sent expert 112 Selected Documentation


teams to ASEAN countries, offered material and technical assistance, shared containment experience, and speedily opened "fast tracks" and "green lanes" to facilitate the flow of people and goods. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, Our world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century. It is moving toward greater multi-polarity, economic globalization and cultural diversity, and is becoming increasingly information-oriented. Never before have the destinies of people in different countries been so closely connected. At the same time, however, the world is faced with growing uncertainties and instability. The world economy is sluggish; unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise; cyber security issues, major infectious diseases, climate change, and many other non-traditional security threats continue to spread; and the international order and global governance system are being challenged. Under the new circumstances, China continues to regard ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy and a key region in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China supports ASEAN's community-building, supports ASEAN centrality in East Asian cooperation, and supports ASEAN in playing a bigger role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture. China will work with ASEAN to advance all-round cooperation under the guidance of the Strategic Partnership Vision 2030. Such efforts will help maintain the good momentum for development and prosperity in our region and cultivate a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. For that to happen, let me make the following suggestions on what we need to do: First, we need to enhance strategic mutual trust and further synergize our development plans. China will work with ASEAN to advance our wide-ranging cooperation in the coming five years in line with the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025). China will also work with ASEAN to implement the China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Synergizing the Belt and Road Initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025. To be specific, more efforts will be made to build the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, strengthen cooperation on infrastructure connectivity including railways, highways, ports, airports, power and communications, speed up the development of existing economic corridors and key projects, and continue to develop the China-ASEAN Multimodal Transport Alliance. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. China will work with ASEAN on the planning and organization of commemorative events and take our strategic partnership to a higher level. 113 Selected Documentation


Second, we need to elevate economic and trade cooperation and facilitate an early and full recovery of the regional economy. China will enhance coordination with ASEAN countries, and take the 10th anniversary of the full establishment of the China-ASEAN FTA as an opportunity to further implement our free trade agreement. China welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and looks forward to its early entry into force. China will work with ASEAN countries 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. Provided that all necessary COVID-19 containment protocols are duly observed, steps should be taken to facilitate the movement of people and goods. We also need to further deepen and substantiate Lancang-Mekong cooperation and China-BIMP-EAGA cooperation. The CAEXPO should be used fully as a platform with a bigger role to play in promoting all-round economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN and in the entire East Asia. Third, we need to enhance innovation in science and technology and deepen cooperation on the digital economy. This year is designated the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation. China will work with ASEAN countries to seize the opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation. We should tap into our complementarity and pursue mutually beneficial cooperation. We could create more highlights of cooperation in such areas as smart city, 5G, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, big data, blockchain and telemedicine, and strengthen the protection of data security and policy communication and coordination, as these efforts will help nurture new drivers for the social and economic development of our two sides. China will work with ASEAN on the China-ASEAN Information Harbor to advance digital connectivity and build a digital Silk Road. Fourth, we need to strengthen cooperation against COVID-19 and enhance capacity building in public health. China stands ready for policy dialogue on public health with ASEAN to improve cooperation mechanisms. It is important that we join forces in fighting the coronavirus and step up information sharing and cooperation on the production, development, and deployment of vaccines. When its COVID-19 vaccines are available for use, China will actively consider the needs of ASEAN countries. China will provide financial support to the COVID19 ASEAN Response Fund, and work with ASEAN in developing the Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies and launching a Liaison Mechanism for Public Health Emergencies with ASEAN. China will act on the China-ASEAN Human Resources Training Program of Health Silk Road (2020-2022) to train for ASEAN countries 1,000 administrative and specialized personnel in the health sector, in a bid to help deliver higher quality public health services in the region. China will work with ASEAN countries and other members of the international community through greater solidarity and 114 Selected Documentation


cooperation to support the World Health Organization in playing a leadership role and to build a global community of health for all. Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, China has secured major strategic achievements in coordinating COVID-19 response and economic and social development. It is the first major economy in the world to resume growth. The recently concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted recommendations for formulating China's 14th five-year plan. The plenum underscored that China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects within the set time frame, and will embark on a new journey next year toward fully building a modern socialist country. Based on a scientific analysis of the new stage of China's development, we will stay committed to the new development philosophy, and actively foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. China will stay as committed as ever to further opening-up, and seek greater synergy through the interplay of its domestic and world economies. China will fuel a worldwide recovery with its own economic rebound, and countries around the world, ASEAN members included, will all benefit from it. Looking ahead, China-ASEAN cooperation will enjoy still greater prospects. The CAEXPO and CABIS are a results-oriented platform for us to advance regional economic integration. I hope this year's gathering will enable China and ASEAN countries to find more business opportunities, reap more fruits, and usher in a brighter future of prosperity. To conclude, I wish the CAEXPO and CABIS a full success. Thank you.

December (W) The Joint Declaration by the ADMM-Plus Defense Ministers on Strategic Security Vision of the ADMM-Plus For detail see: https://admm.asean.org/dmdocuments/2020_Dec_7th%20ADM M-Plus_10%20Dec%202020_1.%20JD%20Final.pdf Released on: December 10, 2020 (X) Full text of President Xi Jinping’s 2021 New Year speech Source: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202012/31/WS5fedbdc2a31024ad 0ba9fe76.html 115 Selected Documentation


Released on: December 31, 2020 Comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen, greetings to you all! The year 2021 is arriving. From China's capital Beijing, I extend my New Year wishes to you all! 2020 was an extraordinary year. Facing the sudden coronavirus pandemic, we put people and their lives first to interpret the great love among humans. With solidarity and resilience, we wrote the epic of our fight against the pandemic. During the days when we addressed the hardships together, we saw the heroic spirit of marching straight to the frontlines, holding posts with tenacity, taking responsibility to get through thick and thin, sacrifices with bravery, and touching moments of helping each other. From medical workers to the people's army, from scientific researchers to community workers, from volunteers to those who built the projects, from seniors to youths born after the 1990s and 2000s, numerous people fulfilled their missions at the cost of their lives and protected humanity with sincere love. They pooled their drops of strength into tremendous power and built an iron wall to safeguard lives. Many figures marched ahead without hesitation, many relays were accomplished hand in hand, many scenes showed touching moments, all these vividly illustrate the great spirit of fighting against the pandemic. Greatness is forged in the ordinary. Heroes come from the people. Every person is remarkable! Our sympathy goes to all the unfortunate ones infected with the coronavirus! We salute all the ordinary heroes! I am proud of our great motherland and people, as well as the unyielding national spirit. Only in hard times can courage and perseverance be manifested. Only after polishing can a piece of jade be finer. We overcame the impact of the pandemic, and made great achievements in coordinating prevention and control and in economic and social development. The 13th Five-Year Plan has been accomplished in full. The 14th Five-Year Plan is being comprehensively formulated. We are accelerating the pace to set up a new pattern for development, and are deeply implementing high-quality development.

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China is the first major economy worldwide to achieve positive growth, and its GDP in 2020 is expected to step up to a new level of 100 trillion yuan. China has seen a good harvest in grain production for 17 years in a row. China has seen breakthroughs in scientific explorations like the Tianwen-1 (Mars mission), Chang'e-5 (lunar probe), and Fendouzhe (deep-sea manned submersible). Construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port is proceeding with vigor. We also defeated severe flooding. With the military and civilians heedless of danger and difficulty, and standing in unity, we managed to minimize the damage of the floods. I inspected 13 provincial-level regions and was glad to see people carefully implementing coronavirus prevention and control measures, racing against time to resume work and production, and sparing no efforts to advance innovation. Everywhere were vibrant scenes of confident, resilient people making the most of every minute. In 2020, China made the historic achievement of establishing a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieved decisive success in eradicating extreme poverty. We launched the final assault on the fortress of entrenched rural poverty, and cracked this "hardest nut." Through 8 years, under the current standard, China has eradicated extreme poverty for the nearly 100 million rural people affected, and all the 832 impoverished counties have shaken off poverty. These years, I have visited 14 contiguous areas of dire poverty. The unremitting efforts of the folks and the wholehearted contribution of the poverty-eradication cadres often come to my mind. We still need to stay tenacious like a bamboo deeply rooted in the rocks, keep our feet on the ground, and work hard to paint a magnificent picture of rural vitalization, and steadily march ahead towards the goal of common prosperity. This year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, among others, and 30 years of the development and opening-up of Pudong in Shanghai. As I stood on the southern coast as the spring tide surged and on the colorful bank of the Huangpu River, my mind was filled with a myriad of thoughts. Pilot trials have become models and leading forces, and explorations to innovate have become leading forces of innovation. The opening-up and reform has created miracles of development. In the future, we should further deepen reform 117 Selected Documentation


and expand opening-up with greater courage, and create more "Stories of Spring." We are not alone on the Great Way and the whole world is one family. After a year of hardship, we can understand more than ever the significance of a community with a shared future for mankind. I had many phone calls with friends from the international community, both old and new, and attended many "cloud conferences." What we discussed most was staying united to combat the pandemic. We still have a long way to go in pandemic prevention and control. People from all over the world should join hands and support each other to early dispel the gloom of the pandemic and strive for a better "Earth home." 2021 will see the 100th birthday of the Communist Party of China. Its 100-year journey surges forward with great momentum. Its original aspiration remains even firmer one hundred years later. From Shikumen in Shanghai to the South Lake in Jiaxing City, the small red boat (where the first CPC congress concluded) bore the great trust of the people and the hope of the nation. The boat has sailed through turbulent rivers and treacherous shoals, and has voyaged across violent tidal waves, becoming a great ship that navigates China's stable and long-term development. The CPC bears its eternal great cause in mind, and the centenary only ushers in the prime of life. We adhere to putting people at the center, stay true to our original aspiration, keep our mission well in mind, break the waves and sail out for our journey ahead, and we will certainly realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. At the historic crossroad of the "Two Centenary Goals," the new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country is about to start. The road ahead is long; striving is the only way forward. We have strived, broken through brambles and thorns, and crossed ten thousand rivers and thousands of mountains. We will continue to strive, march ahead with courage, and create brighter glory! At just this moment, the festive lanterns have been lit, and family members gather for reunion. The New Year is coming. I wish our land to be splendid, our country to be prosperous, and our people to live in peace. I wish you all a harmonious, smooth and auspicious year, full of happiness! Thank you! 118 Selected Documentation


Part III Selected Analysis


(III) Selected Analysis (July-December 2020) Coronavirus Update (A) The global politics of virus vaccines It is clear now that Thailand's de facto strategy for handling the coronavirus pandemic is to minimise local infections and wait for a safe and effective vaccine. The recent discovery of just one Thai in a Bangkok suburb who tested positive sent the country into near-panic mode after 100 days of zero local transmissions, similar to the case of an Egyptian military official who visited Rayong province in July and tested positive thereafter. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has succeeded both in keeping Thais safe and also perpetuating a "zero" mindset among them. For better or worse, this means Thailand has to hope, pray and pay more attention to the increasing politicisation of vaccine development abroad. So far in the anti-Covid fight, countries with effective public health systems have stood out. While virus-handling strategies have varied, they are correlated with degrees of openness. Countries with open strategies where outbreaks have been relatively contained and consequently reopened, are seen in much of Europe and Asian countries such as Taiwan and Singapore. Thailand and New Zealand, on the other hand, remain closed and caught in a trap of their own making. Having brought the virus under control with single digit or zero daily local infections, popular expectations are fixated on keeping the virus away at all costs. Both these countries have imposed quarantine rules so strict as to deter foreign visitors and in so doing, devastated local hospitality-related industries. Yet other countries have seen runaway infections, notably India, Brazil and the US. The Worldometer coronavirus table of 215 countries and territories says it all, akin to a global league ranking in reverse order, with those worst-hit and most poorly managed at the top. It may well turn out that countries in the middle with a moving mix of objectives between public health and safety, and economic reality, will re-emerge in better shape. For instance, Singapore, a small country with more than 57,000 infections and just 27 deaths, with more than one third of its 5.8 million population tested, is open to business as much as possible, with tight quarantine and hygienic standards. The Singapore approach has been to deploy its public health resources to cope with infections while maintaining a robust recovery rate and keeping the death toll down. 121 Selected Analysis


Over time, the island state is likely to emerge from the Covid-19 period readier to move on with better prospects for herd immunity before and after an acceptable vaccine becomes available. Somehow the extremes of having uncontrollable outbreaks or flattening infections to zero or single-digits may not be a long-term optimal answer. Somewhere in the middle of tolerating infections for economic activity and livelihoods while upholding recoveries and minimising deaths may ultimately prove most effective under fluid virus conditions and shifting priorities. Those countries that have lived with the virus more widely and effectively will stand in better stead to move on. All countries have now staked their collective future on a coronavirus vaccine. While the contagion is unabated, the Covid-19 pandemic has elicited and politicised a race for a safe and effective vaccine. Russia has reportedly come out with a vaccine and rapid inoculation of the front lines of its workforce, such as healthcare workers and teachers. Other countries in the vaccine hunt feature China, the US, and the United Kingdom. As with the pandemic, major countries are competing with each other when opportunities for collaboration and cooperation behove their common and collective interests. Even entrenched allies, such as the US and UK, are apart on vaccine development, not together. Vaccine prospects have already been shaped into geopolitical instruments with geoeconomic benefits. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, for instance, pledged vaccine sharing in doses and in expertise to Southeast Asian countries at the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit on Aug 24. On another front, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi promised vaccine access to Africa at a recent meeting with his Moroccan counterpart. Premised on its discovery and mass production, China's vaccine offensive follows its "mask diplomacy" earlier this year when Beijing offered face masks and medical equipment to Southeast Asia and beyond after China brought the pandemic under control in March. Although viewed with reservations, China's ongoing vaccine diplomacy is intended to shore up support for its pre-virus geostrategic position, especially its Belt and Road Initiative, and post-virus patronage and goodwill to support future geostrategic projections. The US and other major powers do not currently have the wherewithal to match China's manoeuvres. When the US comes up with a vaccine, it will likely focus on health recovery efforts at home where political polarisation has been raw and visceral in a presidential election year which coincides with the Covid-19 period. 122 Selected Analysis


The European Union also has its hands full with internal virus controls and containment to think far beyond this. Any vaccine from the UK will likely be used in the country and perhaps in the EU before it is made available to Southeast Asia and other regions without vaccine development capacity. Japan in the era after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea, in view of the constant North Korea threat, are too preoccupied at home and the immediate neighbourhood to engage in vaccine diplomacy of their own. So if Russia's vaccine version succeeds and is followed by China's, then geoeconomic advantages will likely accrue much less to the West than to Beijing and its growing clout. Finally, size, regime types, and growth models may matter more in the international politics of vaccine development than earlier anticipated. Naturally, economies with critical mass and large domestic markets will have an advantage. Yet China's 1.4 billion population and India's 1.2 billion people, as alluded to earlier, stand in stark contrast. Larger markets alone are an insufficient condition without consumer buying power and virus containment. The Covid-19 outbreak and contagion year is pivotal because China's real GDP may surpass that of the US in 2020. In any event, Covid-19 means that this superpower economic eclipse will take place sooner than many had calculated. It will be asked widely and debated fiercely whether China's single-partydominant authoritarian political system with a state-led capitalist economy is superior than the Western varieties of democratic systems with market economies. While all economies suffer in varying degrees from the coronavirus pandemic, China's may end up suffering less during Covid-19 and benefiting more after the virus gives way to a vaccine. As it waits for an anti-virus jab, Thailand needs to reach out in all promising directions where a workable vaccine is accessible and affordable. Written by: Thitinan Pongsudhirak Source: Bangkok Post Published: 11 September 2020 The author is a professor and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science, he earned a PhD from the London School of Economics with a top dissertation prize in 2002.

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Foreign Affairs (B) Engagement key to Sino-Thai ties Gone are the days when policymakers could sit back and relax to watch SinoThai relations moving ahead in autopilot mode. These days, Thailand and China have to intensify mutual engagement and consultation at all levels to ensure there is no room for misunderstandings that could lead to diplomatic wrangles. Last week, both countries commemorated the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Messages from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai to Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made it clear that relations are rock-solid as they continued to say zhong-tai yi jia qin, meaning "Thailand and China are family". However, while this family is getting stronger by the day, ties within it are getting more complex and sophisticated. They have to overcome common new challenges -- visible or invisible -- as they move towards a post-Covid-19 world and new expectations. Over the past six months during the pandemic, the two countries set a new path for closer cooperation in public healthcare and raised the importance of health on their bilateral agenda. Both sides reiterated their determination to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and vowed to continue efforts to rejuvenate the economy and boost sustainable development in the region. Both Gen Prayut and Mr Li also pledged to further elevate the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Partnership to "new heights and frontiers". Indeed -- apart from the oft-quoted reference about the 3,000-fold increase in bilateral trade since 1975 -- in the past decade, significant new developments in the Sino-Thai cooperation are highly visible, both in security and strategic matters, as well as in people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Six years ago, Thailand adopted a new national security strategy and decided to diversify its sources of arms procurements, instead of depending solely on the United States. Purchases of Chinese submarines and other weapons systems reflect the shifting attitude of the Thai military on the global security environment. While most US allies have rejected Huawei's 5G technology due to security concerns and pressure from Washington, Thailand has embraced it. Furthermore, specialised exercises with China have also increased markedly, indicating mutual benefit and growing trust. Security cooperation has also increased with other East Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, as well as Asean. 124 Selected Analysis


Another phenomenon has been the ever-growing people-to-people and cultural exchanges, including through the media sector. Thailand has 16 Confucius Institutes -- the most in Asean. In 2013, Chinese visitors began to travel southward to mainland Southeast Asia. Last year, a total of 11 million Chinese tourists -- an average of 30,137 per day -- visited Thailand, representing the highest level of people-interaction of any Asian nation with China. This has led to a new trend -- as the number of Chinese wanting to stay in Thailand increases, pockets of new Chinese communities have sprung up in major cities. These pockets are home to young, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial Chinese youths who see Thailand as a land of opportunities. Education cooperation has also been strengthened. Thailand is a popular destination for Chinese students. Back in 1980, there were only three Chinese students enrolled in Bangkok, according to Professor Fu Zhengyou from Chulalongkorn University's Confucius Institute. Now, the figures have jumped to over 30,000 students throughout the country, while nearly one million Thais are currently studying putonghua, or standard Mandarin. Because of Thailand's dwindling younger population, many universities in Thailand are struggling in the face of shrinking enrolments. Over the years, they have invited foreigners to invest in order to prevent bankruptcies. At present, investors from China have saved several universities and higher educational institutes in Bangkok and other provinces. Another upward trend is the expansion of Chinese media in Thailand. These days Thai audiences can learn more about China and its international profile directly. According to the Department of Public Relations, there are 33 registered correspondents from eight Chinese media agencies in Thailand, including Xinhua News Agency, which offers a Thai-language news service, and People's Daily. Japan still has the highest numbers of correspondents here, totalling 175 from 21 agencies. Recently, this zhong-tai family has come under strong pressure that would test the bond of their friendship. The intensifying US-China trade war that has now permeated all imaginable fields and the Covid-19 pandemic have further widened the Sino-US schism. Under these circumstances, it is extremely difficult for allies and friends of the two superpowers to position themselves in a balanced way. Since President Donald Trump came to power, the US has been pressuring its friends to be more visible in supporting Washington's positions in all matters. Essentially, without saying the word, what the Trump administration is implying that it is the time for US allies to choose a side and pay back what the US has 125 Selected Analysis


done for them. At this point, the US is widely perceived as a declining power, which has withdrawn from international commitments. Within the Indo-Pacific, the five US allies -- Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Thailand -- are under a lot of stress as they are all facing the same dilemma. On one hand, they depend on the US security umbrella, but on the other hand they also have extremely strong economic ties with China. Indeed, with the exception of Thailand, the four allies have all succumbed one way or another to Washington's wishes. As is well-known, both Australia and Japan have been quite accommodating to the US demands. They are seen as the US' most trusted security partners, often taking up the front seats in Indo-Pacific forums to support US security policy and liberal democratic values. With previous American administrations, Canberra was able to maintain foreign policy independence while doing economic transactions with China. But with Mr Trump's, that would be difficult to execute -- so when push come to shove, Canberra has to pick a side. So does Japan, which has to do the US' bidding on the ground, criticising China on democracy and human rights issues. Its stakes are even higher as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a close personal rapport with Mr Trump, giving an extra layer of pressure. President Xi Jinping's planned visit to Japan has been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak but Tokyo's latest move has jeopardised prospects for a future visit. South Korea wants to keep an equal distance between the US and China. President Moon Jae-in has used his personal rapport with Kim Jong-un to improve inter-Korean ties, much to the chagrin of the US. Seoul wants to ensure that Pyongyang will not abandon the ongoing peace process and dialogue. But Seoul's diplomatic overtures depend very much on Washington's acquiescence. All things considered, this family has still a lot of in-house cleaning to do in the coming years. As we move towards the 50-year mark, there is an urgent need to bridge the gap between the young and older generation about Sino-Thai friendship. Otherwise, external influencers in all forms could break into the family's house and ransack its pillar. Foreign Minister Don stated succinctly that for stronger and harmonious Sino-Thai ties, they must be guided by "three Ms" -- mutual respect, mutual interest and mutual benefit. Written by: Kavi Chongkittavorn Source: Bangkok Post Published: 7 July 2020 The author is a veteran journalist on regional affairs.

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(C) Why ‘Asian Era’ will be globally embraced The prelude of an Asian Era has begun. About 100 years ago, Japanese scholar Okakura Tenshin, Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and Chinese scholar Liang Qichao all called for Asianism. A century has passed during which numerous thinkers have conceived of Asia's rise. Now, the Asian Era is coming. The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on November 15 brought together ASEAN nations, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand into one of the most diverse and populated trade blocks on Earth. It marks a new age for Asian regional cooperation that features multilateralism and trade liberalism. In terms of the global recovery process during the postpandemic era, this new configuration can accomplish many things. By 2025, China's GDP is expected to catch up with or even surpass that of the US. India may surpass Germany to become the world's fourth-largest economy. European countries will be falling into a depression unseen in 500 years since Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan started his global voyage in 1520. The US' status as the world's largest economy will be nearing its end. For the first time, three Asian countries will be among the four major economies in the world. From the perspective of national governance, East Asian countries, which put emphasis on order in their culture, show more efficiency in fighting against the pandemic, compared with European countries and the US, which purportedly value freedom more. Therefore, Asian countries are also revitalizing their economies faster than other parts of the world. It is anticipated that by 2030, Asia will, "contribute roughly 60 percent of global growth." Asia's revival and the rise and fall of great powers in the region over the past five centuries is a different story. Asian leaders do not aspire to construct an "Asian alliance," let alone build an "Asian empire" to replace the US. Nor to do something as grandiose as to "save the world" like some missionary. By contrast, the goal of leaders from Asian countries, especially East and Southeast Asia, tends to focus on domestic affairs. They strive to satisfy the needs of the public in light of their national situations. Asian countries advocate "learning by doing" and excel in exploiting external capital, talents, experiences and lessons. Since the 1990s, East Asia has maintained peace and cooperation for three decades. It has seen the fastest growth in terms of investment and trade. Japan and South Korea have made full use of state capitalism to promote export-oriented economics. ASEAN members

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have solidified and become an important part of the multi-polar world. Since joining the WTO in 2001, China has learned how to allocate global resources. Among the seven continents in the world, Asia is the largest, has largest population and the oldest civilizations. It is also the continent with the most complex ethnicities, religion, geography and history. So far, this complexity has prevented Asia from establishing any community associated with "integration." There is no single currency like the Euro, nor is there a unified intra-continental political organization like the European Union, African Union, or the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. It lacks an economic integration organization like the North American Free Trade Agreement. Even the Asian Games, in which all members on the continent are supposed to take part in, had been incomplete by the absence of Turkey and Israel. No one expected that this puzzle of many places would gradually become a respectable entity unto itself. However, we can expect that the code of conduct of Asians will become increasingly respectable in the post-pandemic era. Asian values that are more conducive to human development will find growing global appeal. This will be the case with countries like China, Japan and South Korea as these Asian countries demonstrate they can strike delicate balances between the government and market, mercantilism and justice, rights and responsibilities, freedom and self-discipline - as well as individuals and society. As Indian American scholar Parag Khanna says in his new book, The Future Is Asian, "in the 19th century, the world was Europeanized. In the 20th century, it was Americanized. Now, in the 21st century, the world is being irreversibly Asianized." There are another two books that I also recommend. One is The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East, written by Kishore Mahbubani, former dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore. Another is Easternization: Asia's Rise and America's Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond written by Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs columnist for the Financial Times. The "Asian Era" will increasingly be understood and embraced globally. Chinese people are driving progress in their own way. Since 2013, China has put forward the Belt and Road Initiative and the vision of "a community with shared future for mankind." We have every reason to believe that China is advancing the "Asian Era" in the right direction. Surely, the prologue to the "Asian era" has been a long one in the making. Yet this reminds me of the spirit of perseverance of Yu Gong, a figure from an ancient Chinese story called The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains, or Yu Gong Yi 128 Selected Analysis


Shan in Chinese. In the story, the 90-year-old Yu Gong's perseverance and hard work to remove the mountain in front of his house along with his descendants moves a God, who finally orders the mountains separated. I believe Asian countries also have Yu Gong's spirit. The "Asian Era" has started and will for sure have its ultimate arrival in the annals of history. Written by: Wang Wen Source: Global Times Published: 30 November 2020 The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Political Affairs (D) No end to South China Sea disputes without code of conduct A series of events, ranging from social unrest in the United States, Hong Kong and much of Europe to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 15.6 million people and killed over 630,000 of them, should prove that 2020 has so far been a very difficult year to navigate. The South China Sea has not been spared the nail-biting tension of 2020. As claimant states are preoccupied with efforts to fight the pandemic, numerous worrying incidents have occurred within the maritime territory, exacerbating the animosity among the states. The presence of external actors has added strain to the geopolitical turmoil. Violations of sovereign rights form one of the most pressing issues in the South China Sea. The biggest incident so far was the West Capella standoff after Malaysia started an oil and gas survey in late 2019 within the Malaysia-Vietnam Joint Defined Area. The operation of the West Capella drillship prompted Beijing to dispatch several China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels to trail, and harass, the drillship and its supply vessels. Vietnam also scrambled some of its maritime militia into the area to observe the drillship. Meanwhile, Malaysia doubled-down on its initial move by deploying the Royal Malaysian Navy’s KD Jebat, a 2,270-ton guided missile frigate, to protect the West Capella’s operation. At one time the Malaysian warship forced a CCG vessel to stand down. 129 Selected Analysis


Beijing has simultaneously initiated a showdown with Malaysia at the Luconia Shoals, where CCG vessels maintain a near-constant presence off the coast of Sarawak. At the culmination of it all, China sent its survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8, along with a flotilla of coast guard and paramilitary vessels. In response to the standoff, the US maintained a presence there for a month with an array of multi-day patrols involving the US Navy, and a flyby of US Air Force bombers. On top of that, the US conducted five Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea in the first half of the year “to challenge the unilateral claims of China on the entirety of the South China Sea, and to maintain the act of innocent passage by any ships on the high seas” and held a joint military exercise with Australia in April. Another incident pitted China against the Philippines at Commodore Reef in February. It started when Philippine Navy corvette BRP Conrado Yap encountered a People’s Liberation Army Navy corvette during a patrol mission in the area. As the Philippine Navy radioed the PLA Navy to “continue to their next destination”, the PLA Navy insisted that the Commodore Reef area was a sovereign territory of China. BRP Conrado Yap later identified that the PLA Navy had their weapons “aimed” toward the Philippine Navy. This incident not only amounts to a violation of Philippine’s EEZ but also to the illegal use of threat in high seas, which is in direct breach of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, to which China is a party. The rising tension caused a spillover effect on Indonesia, with CCG vessels constantly seen trespassing into Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone from December 2019 to January 2020. The turmoil has gone unabated when the negotiation of the Code of Conduct (CoC) in South China Sea has been put on hold, mostly because of the pandemic. The talks on the CoC, however, have been subject to criticism in the first place. One American scholar commented that the current draft, passed in September 2019, had “very little ‘agreed’ upon.” Some points are still very contentious, such as dispute settlement procedures, and fishing and seabed management. Meanwhile, a Singaporean scholar said that, as the negotiation was suspended, Beijing was consolidating its presence amid the COVID-19 outbreak. As ASEAN member states have their hands full in dealing with the pandemic, Beijing wants to raise its leverage in the negotiation when it restarts. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is another source of disputes among claimant states in the South China Sea. A fleet of more than 300 Vietnamese fishing vessels ventured into Chinese waters around February 2020. Some 130 Selected Analysis


vessels were identified to operate with their transponders switched off. Several Chinese analysts suggest that some vessels were there to spy on Chinese military facilities. Several cases of illegal fishing were also identified venturing into Indonesian waters. An incident in March saw Indonesian authorities capture five Vietnamese fishing vessels and detain the 68 crew members. In the following month, two Vietnamese fishing vessels were seized in the North Natuna Sea. There seems to be no indication that the situation in the South China Sea will simmer down anytime soon. With the US set to hold an election in November, President Donald Trump cannot afford to back down against China’s assertive behavior within the South China Sea. This will encourage emboldened Southeast Asian claimant states to fight further aggression, as the Philippines has demonstrated in its decision to suspend termination of its Visiting Forces Agreement with the US. It only shows that claimant states need support to stake their claims within the area. With the CoC negotiation stagnating in these pressing times, there will be a lot clutter to clean up before any agreement could be pushed forward between the South China Sea littoral states. Written by: Gilang Kembara Source: The Nation Thailand Published: 27 July 2020 The author is a researcher at Department of International Relations, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia. The original article was published in CSIS Commentaries.

(E) Flow facilitator Information sharing platform will mark milestone progress in water resources cooperation between China and Mekong River countries Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and the state leaders of Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam attended the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Leaders' Meeting via video link and issued the Vientiane Declaration on Aug 24. China promised to share its Lancang River hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries and establish a Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform, representing China's latest measure to offer the public goods of hydrological data to Mekong countries and help them 131 Selected Analysis


tackle the droughts that have occurred with increasing frequency in recent years. Since its inception, the LMC has always prioritized cooperation on water resources. As the upstream country, China provides 16 percent of the water to the downstream countries during rainy seasons, while this number rises to over 24 percent during droughts. For the Mekong countries affected by the tropical monsoon climate, the water melting from China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is instrumental to coping with droughts. It's generally acknowledged that upstream countries can utilize the river water independently, which is the cause for the lack of drive for whole-basin water resources cooperation. However, China in practice has always played a positive role in Mekong-Lancang water resources cooperation and helped the Mekong countries' development by providing the public good of water resources. This started in 1996 when China and Cambodia became dialogue partners of the Mekong River Commission (MRC), initiating the process of water resources cooperation promoted by the six countries. In 2002, China and the MRC signed the first document on hydrological data sharing, in which China committed to offer daily upstream river discharge and rainfall updates in rainy seasons to the MRC to help them improve their water management and flood warning systems and so reduce life and property losses. In 2008 and 2013, two follow-up documents were signed. In 2013, China renewed its data sharing cooperation with the MRC, increasing the frequency of the information exchange and extending the period of hydrological data sharing by 30 days, starting on June 1 until Oct 31. Under the previous agreement, China had shared its hydrological data from June 15 to Oct 15 every year. Up to now, 23 cooperation dialogues have been held between China and the MRC, and China has been providing floodseason hydrological data to the MRC for free for 17 consecutive years, making a positive contribution to flood prevention, drought control and disaster mitigation in upstream regions. With the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform, the LMC will put in place a new institutional platform for China to offer a water resources public good to Mekong countries. China has been dedicated to prioritizing water resources cooperation and set up the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center in partnership with the other five countries. The Ministerial Meeting on Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation was held and saw the approval of the proposal list for Mekong-Lancang Cooperation projects. In December 2019, the Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Center invited the MRC secretariat to become an observer of the joint working group and the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding. What's more, China also pledged to utilize $200 million from the fund for South-South cooperation on a priority basis and it is setting up a special fund of $300 million 132 Selected Analysis


for Lancang-Mekong cooperation with the aim of ensuring a financial guarantee for water resources cooperation within the drainage basin. Extreme weather in the Mekong region has become more frequent in recent years due to global warming. Seasonal droughts are causing more and more damage, threatening the sustainable development and people's well-being in the region. To help Mekong countries better respond, China promised at the 2010 MRC summit to increase outbound water flow in dry seasons. When Southern Vietnam suffered the worst drought in a century in 2016, China overcame its own difficulties of severe water shortages and initiated emergency water distribution of the Lancang cascade hydropower stations to release water downstream. In 2019, the Mekong River experienced its lowest water level since records began due to drought, causing huge economic losses to Thailand and other downstream countries. Against this backdrop, China once again discharged water from the dams in upstream regions to help them fight the drought. At the recent third LMC Leaders' Meeting, Premier Li made the solemn pledge to offer timely updates on upstream flow changes and to share year-round upstream hydrological data, which means that the data shared will not just include the flood-season, but will also cover the drought-season. Such public good offered by China represents a milestone progress in Mekong water resources cooperation and will bring it to a new level. Accurate and reliable hydrological information will help Mekong countries make better decisions on flood and drought prevention, promote a well-coordinated and mutually-supportive cooperative architecture among the natural resources management departments of China, MRC and downstream countries, and thus boost water utilization efficiency during droughts. The Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation Information Sharing Platform will enhance more scientific and regulate joint research on the Mekong River, help explore new ways and methods of water resources cooperation, minimize misunderstanding due to information asymmetry and boost mutual trust among the six countries. Li's pledges have responded to the Mekong countries' expectations for China's greater role in water resources cooperation and demonstrated China's sense of mission and responsibility as the upstream country. The "Chinese proposal "of water resources management in the Mekong region will lay a solid foundation for the whole-basin water resources cooperation in the future. The LMC is motivated by the river and will flourish because of the river. The public good offered by China will take institutional water cooperation in the Mekong region onto a fast track, help relevant countries better implement the Five-Year Action Plan on Lancang-Mekong Water Resources Cooperation (2018133 Selected Analysis


22) and enhance the capacity for integrated river basin management and water resources management. At the same time, the mutual trust and understanding nurtured during water resources cooperation between China and the Mekong countries are likely to expand to other areas of cooperation and cement more solid region coordination, thus helping the Mekong countries deliver the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Written by: Zhai Kun and Deng Han Source: China Daily Published: 1 September 2020 Zhai Kun is a professor at the School of International Studies and the deputy dean of the Institute of Area Studies at Peking University. Deng Han is a PhD of the School of International Studies at Peking University. The authors contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.

(F) Cambodia makes its own way, not a US lackey The Cambodia-US relationship has become turbulent recently. Chad Roedemeier, Information Officer at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, reportedly expressed disappointment on October 7 that Cambodian military authorities chose to demolish the maritime security facility at Ream Naval Base which the US believes is "a sign of US-Cambodia relations." The Ream Naval Base gained international attention last year when the US media alleged that China and Cambodia had signed an agreement that would allow China's armed forces to use part of the base. Also on October 7, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen refuted these US remarks by saying the dockyards would be open to all, adding: "If one foreign navy ship can make a port visit here then ships from other countries can do the same." In his speech, he also posed a question to countries that have been critical of Cambodia's acceptance of Chinese aid, saying he would consider stepping down from office if any of his critics can name a country that can replace China's assistance in terms of building infrastructure. It is true that China-US competition in Southeast Asia is heating up. Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia are facing increasing pressure to "pick a side" in this coin toss. Obviously, claims that Cambodia is "abandoning the US and picking China" are not true. But the existing nuances and rifts between Cambodia and the US make such claims indeed justified. First of all, the US assertion that Cambodia is abandoning the US and picking China is a misreading of Cambodia's consistent foreign policy. Based on 134 Selected Analysis


historical lessons and strategic needs, the Cambodian government has firmly pursued a policy of permanent neutrality and non-alignment since the 1990s. Meanwhile, it has also upheld a policy of friendly exchanges with other countries in the world, including China and the US. Comparing Cambodia's exchanges and cooperation with China and the US, the Southeast Asian country has realistic reasons for "shifting its strategic focus to China." There are three main reasons for the disharmony in Cambodia-US relations. For one thing, the US always pays lip service to support Cambodia. Although it has stepped up its arms sales and technology transfers to Southeast Asia, military assistance to Cambodia has been relatively tiny. Second, US assistance to Cambodia often comes with various conditions, ranging from political development, foreign exchanges to human rights. In this way, the US hopes to interfere in Cambodia's internal affairs. As a result, Phnom Penh and other Southeast Asian capitals have frequently had wars of words with Washington on issues relating to internal affairs and human rights. Third, over the past few years, due to "democratic" concerns, the US has tightened sanctions on Cambodia, suspended visas to some Cambodian officials, and reduced or even threatened to interrupt aid to Cambodia. Meanwhile, the further development of the China-Cambodia traditional friendship and boosting of ties (in terms of both quantity and quality) in the new era have enabled Cambodia to reap lots of benefits. Comprehensive economic and trade cooperation between China and Cambodia was restored and developed again after 1993. Statistics suggest that the scale of China-Cambodia trade increased rapidly afterward. China has kept its position as Cambodia's largest trading partner and source of investment for many years. In 2010, China and Cambodia established a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. President Xi Jinping visited Cambodia in 2016, and since then the development of China-Cambodia relations has stepped into a new era. This requires Beijing and Phnom Penh to strengthen strategic cooperation while steadily advancing the development of bilateral relations. Today, China is striving to achieve its two centennial goals, and Cambodia is in a critical period to promote its Industrial Development Policy (2015-2025). Under the Belt and Road Initiative and especially the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism, China and Cambodia are continuously strengthening cooperation in many fields. These entail cooperation on international production capacity, economic and trade investment, infrastructure construction, energy resources and defense exchanges. 135 Selected Analysis


In this respect, the contrast between China and the US for Cambodia is clear and distinct. The twist and discord in the Cambodia-US relationship has made Cambodia adhere to a neutral and non-aligned foreign policy - with a shift more toward China. Nonetheless, this move does not echo what the US means by saying that Cambodia is "abandoning the US and picking China." Written by: Ge Hongliang Source: Global Times Published: 11 October 2020 The author is a senior research fellow of the Charhar Institute in China and the deputy dean of the ASEAN College of Guangxi University for Nationalities.

(G) How to defuse South China Sea tensions? South China Sea seems to be a flash point for possible conflicts between China and the US. It will be a testing ground for the future of China-US geopolitical ties. Will it be a strategic rivalry, a competition within a rules-based framework, or cooperation? What are the possible signs now? Military competition has become increasingly tense between China and the US. And it's very likely to involve the South China Sea. US Congressional Research Service argued in February 2020 that general potential US goals for US-China strategic competition in the South China Sea may include fulfilling US security commitments in the Western Pacific, including treaty commitments to the Philippines and so on; maintaining and enhancing the US-led security architecture in the Western Pacific; maintaining a regional balance of power favorable to the US and its allies and partners; defending the principle of peaceful resolution of disputes; preventing China from becoming a regional "hegemon." This is quite official. China and the US have different definitions of concepts, such as offense or defense, regarding China's construction on islands and reefs, and the "militarization" of the South China Sea. Moreover, the shift in the balance of power between the two and a subsequent misperception of the other's intentions are driving those differences to extremes. The US, I believe, wrongly perceives China's actions in the South China Sea as posing threats to its strategic interests. China senses that US' actions, claimed or actually done, are provocative and dangerous. Against this backdrop, US President Donald Trump's administration has planned 136 Selected Analysis


more robust measures to curb China's growing influence in the South China Sea. Unilateral actions by some claimants are a factor of instability in the South China Sea. A small number of countries may push ahead with oil and gas exploration activities in blocs which they have claimed. The second reading of the ASEAN-China Single Draft Code of Conduct in the South China Sea Negotiating Text has started. But differences have emerged among claimants over various issues, including who and what the code of conduct should regulate, whether or to what extent it should be legally binding, and so on. Legal disputes over the South China Sea islands have also become intensified. What steps should be taken? How should we manage the South China Sea and its related issues? As Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said, the US, not China, might be the problem in the future. Since the US brought the South China Sea affairs into the great power competition and strategic rivalry from 2010 onward, it is uncertain if efforts by China and ASEAN countries to build a rules-based framework in the South China Sea through code of conduct negotiations will succeed. The US, in this case, has played the role of a peace breaker rather than a peace builder. So we do hope the first step is for the US to reverse its role. Honestly, peace in the South China Sea serves the best interests of China, the US and ASEAN members. China and the US have been working to build consensus and a crisis management mechanism to avoid direct conflict. This is quite urgent now. We need actionable crisis management mechanisms. However, as mounting US military exercises and activities keep tensions with China high in the South China Sea, rules of behavior for the safety of the air and maritime encounters by the two need to be workable. It will be a test. The absence of security cooperation mechanisms is the main pitfall for security challenges in the region. Mechanisms such as ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, ASEAN Regional Forum are, to my eyes, inadequate for that purpose. So it is necessary for countries in the South China Sea to formulate legally binding and operational rules for security at sea in order to increase the political costs for parties which violate the rules. Issues to be addressed regarding security cooperation mechanisms in the South China Sea should include conflicts of sovereignty and security interests among claimants, maritime conflicts triggered by conflicts or crisis, the growing interests and aspirations of extraterritorial powers - with the US in particular. How can we manage that? Long-term mechanisms for crisis prevention should also be put in place. Regional peace and stability represent the best security interest for everyone involved in the South China Sea. Littoral countries of the 137 Selected Analysis


South China Sea, including Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, are keen to maintain regional stability. This needs, of course, a cooperative relationship with China. It is unrealistic to believe that resolutions for the disputes over the South China Sea could be reached in the short term. Whatever solutions we offer now, the parties concerned differ considerably in their approaches of resolving disputes. They carry a deep mutual distrust. So, overall cooperation would help build a mutual trust for collaborative resolutions. More importantly, bilateral and multilateral communication and liaison mechanisms, including emergency hot lines, the security code of conduct, and the rules of engagement, will help better manage possible conflicts that seem to loom on the horizon. Written by: He Yafei Source: Global Times Published: 21 October 2020 The author is former vice foreign minister of China. The article is an excerpt of his speech during 2020 US-China Dialogue, held by US-based Just World Educational and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

(H) China-US rivalry on Mekong mainland Unlike other key foreign policy areas where President-elect Joe Biden will likely change the course left behind by outgoing President Donald Trump, the Mekong River region in mainland Southeast Asia represents a low-hanging fruit where continuity from Washington carries consensus. As China has dominated the Mekong space by operating a string of upstream dams and controlling downstream river resources, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam as adversely affected riparian countries have looked for ways and means to mitigate and counterbalance Beijing's aggressive freshwater offensive. All the incoming Biden administration has to do is to keep its eye on the Mekong and work with like-minded partners to keep mainland Southeast Asian countries from becoming Beijing's uncontested front yard. Until recently, the Mekong mainland comprising the CLMTV -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam -- was considered a subregion. Three decades ago when China's development trajectory started, the Mekong region was cultivated by Japan through the Asian Development Bank, conceptualised and manifested under the Greater Mekong Subregion. But over the years, China has effectively stolen Japan's thunder as its 11 dams (among several dozens more in the works) started hogging water upstream. To stamp its authority and make its Mekong supremacy a fait accompli, Beijing has marginalised the first-generation 138 Selected Analysis


Mekong River governance framework by coming up with the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) in 2016, overshadowing the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and Mekong agreement from two decades earlier. Lest it is overlooked, the Mekong space is akin to the South China Sea. On land, China is trying to unilaterally control and manipulate water supplies to downstream countries through dam construction and operation, resulting in water volatility and periodic droughts in lower Mekong countries, which in turn are forced to rely on China's initiatives and goodwill. In the sea, China has unilaterally built and weaponised a slew of artificial islands. Whether by hogging water inland or building land in the sea, Beijing is playing by its own rules. For the Mekong mainland, now a full-fledged and fast-growing region in its own right, with the CLMTV now accounting for a 250-million strong market and a combined GDP of nearly US$1 trillion (30.3 trillion baht), confronting and countering China's geographically advantaged dam diplomacy is a tough proposition. Vietnam, as outgoing Asean chair this year, has succeeded in prioritising the Mekong region into an Asean concern. In the past, all Asean member states had to pay attention to the South China Sea but not so for the maritime countries when it was about the Mekong. Now both the South China Sea and the Mekong mainland equal pegging on the Asean agenda, with China as the common denominator. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic this year, the Trump administration has pressed hard and upped its game in the Mekong mainland by upgrading the decade-old Lower Mekong Initiative from the government of former president Barack Obama into the Mekong-US Partnership last September. The continuity and expansion of LMI into the launch of the Mekong-US Partnership is a renewed commitment to mainland Southeast Asia, buffered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tough talk on China and his call for Asean to stand up to Beijing. In view of the new occupant at the White House, the CLMTV countries and their maritime Asean neighbours will be watching carefully whether Mr Biden will adopt the foreign policy outlook and orientation of Mr Obama in 2008-16 and whether he will retain some or reject most of the policy legacy under President Trump's one-term government. Consolidating its Mekong programmes in a pandemic year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang China pledged vaccine-sharing in doses and in expertise to CLMTV at the third (LMC) summit in August. China's vaccine development has evidently been sharpened into geopolitical instruments with public health and geoeconomic benefits. Premised on its discovery, mass production and delivery, China's vaccine offensive follows its "mask diplomacy" earlier this year when Beijing offered face masks and medical equipment to the region after China brought the pandemic under control in March. 139 Selected Analysis


Although viewed with reservations, China's ongoing vaccine diplomacy is intended to shore up support for its pre-virus geostrategic position, especially its Belt and Road Initiative, and post-virus patronage and goodwill to support future geostrategic projection in both mainland and maritime regional domains. At the most recent LMC summit, China offered to share hydrological data with downstream Mekong countries, thereby circumventing the MRC's role. The MRC and the CLMTV have had to dance to China's tune in the absence of countervailing alternatives, thereby stamping and cementing China's position and upstream leverage. The move also rendered the LMC as the only game in town when it comes to the Mekong region. Downstream countries have supported Thailand's revival of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (Acmecs), a dormant Mekong area cooperation project from 2003. But Thai domestic polarisation and instability has impeded a fuller focus on pitching Acmecs as a competing frame of governance vis-à-vis the LMC. For the Mekong region, Vietnam will likely be the most US-leaning, while Cambodia and Laos will be more pro-Beijing, with Myanmar and Thailand keeping proximity and distance vis-à-vis China at the same time. As a US treaty ally, Thailand stands out for its pivot to China under a military-backed regime since its military coup in 2014, but this trend could change directions if a genuinely democratic system comes into place as per the demands of the protesting youth movement. Similarly, for Cambodia, if the younger generation and oppositional supporters can rise up, Prime Minister Hun Sen's "all-in" approach to China may go on a different path. But for the foreseeable future, the Mekong mainland is likely to gravitate further into China's orbit. This is why the Mekong downstream riparian countries would welcome other major external partners to counter China's upstream monopoly. The region still has a bad aftertaste from the Obama years where the eloquently announced "pivot", later renamed "rebalance", strategy turned out weak without backed-up muscle. Despite his mercurial and top-down style, President Trump's trade and technology war and posture towards Beijing was followed through with deeds and action, yielding leverage to Asean states. The LMI and Mekong-US Partnership are two successive steps in the right direction for the Mekong region, not a hard act to follow in a win-win for Washington and CLMTV capitals. Written by: Thitinan Pongsudhirak Source: Bangkok Post Published: 27 November 2020 The author is a professor and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science, he earned a PhD from the London School of Economics with a top dissertation prize in 2002.

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Economic Affairs (I) China-ASEAN partnership bucks global recession and fragmentation trend It is no surprise that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has emerged as China's largest trading partner, surpassing the EU, and its 10 member states have become important destinations of investment in the Belt and Road Initiative. The initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21stCentury Maritime Silk Road, which China proposed in 2013 to improve connectivity and cooperation on a transcontinental scale. Several factors have contributed to the bilateral trade continuing to grow even in the first half of 2020, when the world was haunted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the shadow of recession. The stable and growing relationship between China and the bloc has been the bedrock for the improved economic ties. The relationship goes back to 1991 when they established dialogue relations and ASEAN accorded China full dialogue partner status five years later. In 2013, their relationship was elevated to strategic partnership. China has also formed different kinds of partnerships with ASEAN member countries, like the all-round cooperation partnership with Singapore and comprehensive strategic partnerships with Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. The upgrading of diplomatic ties shows enhanced mutual trust, willingness to cooperate, strategic consensus and integration of their development interests. Fruitful collaboration After the Asian financial crisis of 1997, China and ASEAN initiated multi-level cooperation mechanisms such as the ASEAN-plus free trade agreements, with China as well as with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the Greater Mekong Subregion economic cooperation between six countries that share the Mekong River—China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. Also, after China and ASEAN agreed on establishing a free trade area in 2002, economic and trade cooperation has increased. The free trade area was launched in 2010, and in 2015, they agreed to upgrade it. In 2017, China-ASEAN trade volume exceeded $500 billion, and in 2019 it crossed $600 billion. In the

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first half of 2020, the figure topped $299 billion despite the COVID-19 fallout, increasing 5.6 percent year on year. The two sides have formulated multiple policies to enhance economic cooperation and restore economic growth during the COVID-19 response. Chinese President Xi Jinping maintained communication with ASEAN leaders and reached important agreements. Unlike Western countries' attempts to stigmatize China over the pandemic, ASEAN countries showed solidarity not only by providing medical assistance but also through special gestures like Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen paying a visit to China in February. China also reached out to ASEAN by sending medical supplies and medical experts once the epidemic was brought under control at home. It held video meetings with ASEAN countries to share control and prevention experience while fast tracks were initiated between it and Indonesia, Cambodia and Myanmar to ensure the movement of people and flow of goods. The growth of China-ASEAN trade will play a key role in regional development and global economic recovery. East Asian countries' economies have performed relatively well in today's sluggish world economy. With COVID-19 still uncontrolled in most countries, the global economy has been weakened with major economies such as the U.S., Germany and France predicted to contract this year. But China's economy is poised to grow and ASEAN economy is expected to recover next year. Meanwhile, ASEAN and China, Japan, the ROK, Australia, New Zealand and other countries are negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement in the Indo-Pacific region that will create the largest trade bloc in the world. The RCEP will be an important stabilizer for economic development against the global recession, leading the growth of the Asia-Pacific economy and vitalizing China-ASEAN economic cooperation and regional prosperity. Moreover, China-ASEAN cooperation is an example of building a community with a shared future for humanity. Xi put forward the idea of a China-ASEAN community with a shared future in 2013 during his visit to Indonesia, where he expressed China's willingness to be ASEAN's good neighbor, friend and partner. Laos signed an action plan with China for building a community with a shared future in 2017 and in 2019, Cambodia followed suit. China and Myanmar also reached a similar agreement during Xi's visit to Myanmar in January. 142 Selected Analysis


Challenges ahead Going forward, the cooperation might encounter some difficulties as the external environment continues to deteriorate. The main reason is the U.S. continuously stirring up regional tensions in recent months. It not only broke into the 12-nautical-mile limit of South China Sea islands and reefs that are Chinese territory but also roped in its allies and partners to undertake military exercises in the South China Sea. The military maneuver disturbed the situation and added new challenges to the relationship between China and ASEAN countries. The U.S. has also intensified its containment of China in the economy, politics, technology, security and other areas, forcing ASEAN to choose sides between China and the U.S., which is another major challenge. In addition, a prolonged economic contraction and the pandemic will also create uncertainty in bilateral cooperation. For example, because of the pandemic, people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN have been restricted and are unlikely to return to normal in the near future. But the foundation of bilateral cooperation remains solid and both China and ASEAN aspire for cooperation, development and prosperity. All members in the partnership are developing countries, which means economic and social development is high on their agenda. Their strategic consensus to improve economic cooperation and boost regional integration will give momentum to bilateral ties, which have kept moving forward despite the deliberate U.S. disturbance and pressure. Besides cooperation in traditional trade and infrastructure, the two sides are also set to deepen collaboration in 5G, smart city and e-commerce, which will provide new growth engines for their ties. Written by: Luo Yongkun Source: Beijing Review Published: 10 August 2020 The author is assistant director and associate research professor at the Institute of Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

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(J) RCEP to deepen China-ASEAN economic cooperation The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) was officially signed by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN countries on Nov 15, after eight years of negotiations, marking the creation of the largest free trade area (FTA) in the world. The signing of RCEP demonstrates the willingness and determination of member states to promote free trade and multilateralism in the context of prevailing trade protectionism, unilateralism and anti-globalization. This will not only inject strong impetus into regional and global economic recovery, but also deepen comprehensive economic cooperation between China and ASEAN. Stimulated by prosperous trade and investment between China and ASEAN, economic cooperation between the two sides has shown great vitality. At present, the accumulated two-way foreign direct investment (FDI) stock of China and ASEAN has exceeded $223 billion. The bilateral trade increased from $292.8 billion in 2010 to $641.5 billion in 2019. China has been ASEAN's largest trading partner since 2009 and ASEAN replaced the US as China's second-largest trading partner in 2019. Despite the impact of the pandemic, China-ASEAN bilateral trade has maintained steady growth this year. From January to November this year, the total value of bilateral trade has amounted to approximately $620 billion. It is highly likely that ASEAN will surpass the EU as China's largest trading partner for the first time. Moreover, it is foreseeable that there are more new opportunities for China-ASEAN communication and cooperation in trade, industry, interconnection and finance when the RCEP agreement officially takes effect. First, the RCEP helps strengthen the connectedness between China and ASEAN, which both have the most economic viability in the region. The populations of China and ASEAN are 1.4 billion and 650 million respectively, making them largest markets for consumption and regions with greatest economic potential in the world. The average economic growth rate of ASEAN countries from 2000 to 2019 exceeds 5 percent, higher than the world average of around 3 percent. In contrast to continued shrinkage of the global FDI, the FDI in ASEAN countries has consistently increased in the past three years, reaching $149.5 billion in 2019, accounting for 11.5 percent of the global total, reflecting the confidence of global investors in regional prospects. At the same, the Chinese economy has also maintained long-term stable growth. From 1978 to 2017, China's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 9.5 percent, doubling every eight years, which is much higher than the average annual growth rate of 2.9 percent for the world economy in the same period. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) states in its supplementary report Asia Development Outlook 2020 released on Dec 10 that Chinese economic recovery is currently faster than expected, and the Chinese economic growth forecast of 2020 has been raised from the previous forecast of 144 Selected Analysis


1.8 percent to 2.1 percent, and it is predicted that Chinese economy will grow by 7.7 percent in 2021. With the signing and implementation of the RCEP, it will speed up the connection between the two "super-large-scale" markets and increase the level of market integration within the region. China and ASEAN will become important growth engines for the Asia-Pacific region as well as for the global market, contributing regional dynamics to global economic recovery. Second, the RCEP helps accelerate the construction of industrial chains and value chains in the region. Despite the fact that the RCEP members have different development stages, their economic structures are highly complementary, leaving much potential for cooperation. The RCEP will provide more market access for goods, services and investment among member states, strengthen industrial division and cooperation, improve the mutual integration of supply, industrial and value chains. In particular, the RCEP adopts the criteria of rules of origin through accumulation mechanisms, which will help eliminate the existing "Spaghetti Bowl Phenomenon". The rules of origin are a cornerstone for the existence and development of FTA. Before the RCEP, there were various free trade agreements between regional states at both bilateral and multilateral levels. Different preferential treatments and rules of origin adopted in each agreement led to more and more complicated provisions about the rules of origin. The RCEP has solved this problem. It will effectively eliminate trade barriers, enhance the resilience of China-ASEAN supply chains and industrial chains, and promote the construction of China-ASEAN value chains to achieve efficient collaboration. Third, the RCEP helps deepen China-ASEAN cooperation in the digital economy. The digital economy of ASEAN countries has exciting prospects. According to the E-Conomy SEA 2020 released by Google, Temasek and Bain & Company on November 10, 2020, despite the challenging economic environment, the Internet industry and digital economy in Southeast Asia maintains steady growing, with a total estimated value reaching 100 billion US dollars in 2020 and exceeding 300 billion US dollars in 2025. The 2019 Digital Economy Report released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in September 2019 indicates that China and the US are both in a leading position in the development of the digital economy and have advantages in technology and platforms. In the recent years, government officials, scholars and entrepreneurs in ASEAN countries have paid close attention to the "digital divide" between "under-connected countries" and "hyper-digital countries", hoping to accelerate digital transformation and deepen cooperation with China in fields such as information infrastructure. Chinese advanced technology has hence been the warrantee for China-ASEAN cooperation in this regard.

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In the RCEP agreement, it is clearly stated that the development of digital trade will be treated with a more open attitude. The Chapter 12 lists specific provisions on e-commerce. This is the first time a comprehensive and high-level multilateral e-commerce rule has been reached in the Asia-Pacific region. This will provide institutional guarantees for China-ASEAN cooperation in ecommerce. Stepping into the post-pandemic era, the value of the digital economy and its role in promoting the economy will be further highlighted. The digital economy and e-commerce are expected to become new foci for China-ASEAN cooperation in the future. Written by: Cai Zhenwei and Xu Xiaodong Source: China Daily Published: 29 December 2020 The authors are research fellows at National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Socio-cultural Affairs (K) China announced new climate goals. But it can’t quit coal just yet. China's President Xi Jinping announced new climate targets during his Sept. 22 address to the U.N. General Assembly, including the nation's plan to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China's international climate leadership seems to be in direct conflict with Beijing's continued promotion of fossil fuel projects at home and abroad, however - so why did Xi make this announcement? Here's what you need to know about its political and scientific implications. - The timing of China's announcement is strategic It's a big year for the 2015 Paris agreement - by year-end 2020, countries are supposed to submit their second round of "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDCs), as well as their long-term strategies. Current NDCs target the 2025-2030 time frame, while long-term strategies target mid-century goals. Both are self-designed pledges tailored to each country's circumstances. Xi's announcement suggests that, administratively, China expects to fulfill both 2020 requirements on time, a goal few other countries will probably meet. China is also on track to achieve its original Paris goals ahead of schedule. This lends some new credibility to China's claim to climate leadership.

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China is finalizing its 14th Five-Year Plan, which analysts anticipate will include new climate and energy targets for 2021-2025 that build upon those in previous Five-Year Plans. Since the Paris agreement has minimal enforcement mechanisms, it essentially relies on domestic policy to back up the goals pledged internationally. The 2020 Paris agreement deadline coincides with China's domestic planning horizon, effectively giving the international community a look under the hood to understand how China plans to meet its international goals. - External politics may factor into China's plans Making this announcement before the U.S. election could be a sign that China anticipates scaled-up U.S. pressure and demands on climate action if Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins in November. A new U.S. NDC would come sometime in 2021 at the earliest, so an early announcement from China would preclude the possibility of another round of coordinated U.S.-China climate targets, giving Beijing more autonomy this time. The announcement may also appease the European Union. The EU has been increasing bilateral engagement with China in an attempt to fill the void left by the United States, which has dramatically reduced cooperation with China on energy and climate over the past four years. During a mid-September leader's summit, the EU urged China to "to strengthen its climate commitments in terms of peaking carbon dioxide emissions and setting the goal of climate neutrality domestically," and agreed to launch a new high-level dialogue in advance of the COP 26 major international climate summit, which has been postponed until November 2021. China faces an uphill battle to reduce its carbon emissions Beijing relies on high-level climate and energy goals to compel local governments to act. National targets become provincial targets, which become municipal-level targets, and so on - and meeting these targets affects the evaluation of local officials. Sometimes this can create perverse incentives, such as the time people were left without heat in the winter so provinces would not violate national coal heating restrictions. But on the whole, targets are important levers in what is still primarily a top-down political system. Without stringent climate targets, local governments under pressure to stimulate the economy after the covid-19 slowdown will face few constraints on energy demand or infrastructure approvals. Despite calls for a green recovery, China's post-outbreak stimulus focuses primarily on promoting high-carbon energy and infrastructure projects. China 147 Selected Analysis


has an estimated 249.6 gigawatts of coal power capacity under construction or in the planning stages - more than the entire coal capacity of the United States (246.2 GW) or India (229 GW). This includes 40.8 GW of new coal capacity proposed in the first-half of 2020 alone, of which 17 GW is already permitted for construction. Despite rampant overcapacity and low utilization rates in existing plants, as well as record low prices for the renewable energy technologies that China leads the world in deploying, pressure to boost GDP figures combined with antiquated pricing mechanisms means that officials are pushing through approvals for projects that make little economic sense. China has also played a prominent role in supporting coal-fired plants elsewhere. Increasingly, China has become the lender of last resort as countries such as Japan and South Korea join other countries and multilateral banks in restricting overseas coal investments. Studies have found that the majority of China's overseas energy investment is going to finance coal plants, and these plants tend to use less efficient technology than the plants they are building at home. Increasingly, however, China is under pressure to undertake more dramatic changes in its domestic and overseas coal activities - the EU, for example, urged that Beijing place a moratorium on building new plants at home and abroad, and Biden has vowed to make similar demands if elected. What does this mean for the global climate? The Climate Action Tracker estimates that China's pledge of climate neutrality by 2060 could reduce global temperature by about 0.2 to 0.3°C by the end of the century - that would be the single biggest reduction ever estimated by this European modeling tool, which translates country pledges into climate impacts. As the world's largest carbon emitter and energy consumer, China transitioning away from a carbon-based energy system would have a huge global impact. Of course, there are all sorts of methodological issues with making estimates of the impact of climate goals on global temperature - especially China's goals, which as my research has shown, tend to operate with their own set of metrics and assumptions. And there are many ways to interpret what carbon neutrality might actually mean for China. Ultimately, having a long-term goal for carbon neutrality is only meaningful today if it influences action now. For China, phasing out fossil fuel use in key sectors - and keeping the economy growing - will require far more ambitious measures. Meanwhile, making this pledge buys China some increased leverage 148 Selected Analysis


in the climate negotiations, and perhaps even some global goodwill at a time of mounting concern over China's actions at home and abroad. Written by: Joanna Lewis Source: The Nation Thailand Published: 30 September 2020 The author is provost's distinguished associate professor of energy and environment and director of the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program at Georgetown University. She is the author of "Green Innovation in China: China's Wind Power Industry and the Global Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy" (Columbia University Press, 2015).

(L) Women’s rise epitomizes China’s development In the last week of 2020, I led a team to the China-Vietnam border area to do field research in various port cities of South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Coincidentally, many of the deputy mayors of these cities who received us were female. This made me reflexively want to write about changes in China beyond the perspective of men. These female deputy mayors left me in awe. One has two children, the younger one only 10 months old, but she accompanied us until the midnight. Another has been working along the border for many years. When she occasionally goes back home, her kid sometimes doesn't recognize her. The third one had to drive back home for two hours after we finished a dinner. Working women have more concerns than men. This is especially so for women working in officialdom. But in recent years, the number of female officials has been steadily increasing. At the end of the 1970s, there were about 420,000 female civil servants in China. By 2017, the number was nearly five times to almost 1.9 million, taking up 26.5 percent of all Chinese civil servants nationally. That same year, 52 percent of newly employed civil servants in central departments were female. Women's participation in politics is an important measure of the social status of women and civilization. China's progress in this regard is not far behind European countries and the US. In terms of education and culture, increasing numbers of Chinese women have played more important roles in high-tech areas, including high energy physics, aerospace engineering, artificial intelligence, and chemical materials. According to the China Women's News, in 2018 the number of female high-tech workers had reached 36 million, or 40 percent of that sector's total labor force. This ratio is almost the same as developed countries.

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In social and legal domains, the status of females in many regions of China has surpassed those in Western countries. In the workplace in China, males and females are paid the same when performing the same job in the same organization. Furthermore, Chinese employees in many regions can receive maternity and paternity leave. There are over 100 separate laws and regulations to protect women's rights and interests. In 2018, there were 3,080 maternal and child healthcare institutions nationwide, making it one of the top 10 countries with the highest levels of maternal and child health performance, according to a ranking by the World Health Organization. In China, it has become common for women to take charge of household finances. Statistics from 2019 shows that China's labor participation rate stood at 76 percent, and its female labor participation reached 70 percent. By contrast, this was only 50 percent in France, 58 percent in the US, and 28 percent in India. Chinese women tend to have more to balance than their counterparts in many countries. In nearly half Chinese households, females do most of the housework. A Chinese mother not only has to be a good employee, wife, and daughter, but also has to be a qualified chef, baby-sitter, driver, accountant and even psychologist. I feel that China's development speed is moving faster than most countries because Chinese women work harder than women in other countries. Chinese men are often taunted by the public by the rise of powerful women. For example, in the Olympic Games, most of China's medals are won by female athletes. In three traditional ball games (soccer, basketball, and volleyball), the men's teams of China are all weak. But women's sports teams have won many gold and silver medals. Of course, to affirm the progress of Chinese women is not to say that the status quo of Chinese women's development has been impeccable. In China, a large number of female problems still exist, such as preferences for sons, left-behind women in rural areas, the lack of female education, domestic violence, and threats to women's health. These are exactly what China needs to improve in the future. By discussing the neglected rise of Chinese women, this column intends to remind my English readers of a new angle: females as key variables to the rise of the Chinese state. Western observers tend to criticize China more than recognize the improvement of China. Just as the West usually ignores China's contribution to poverty alleviation, climate change, infrastructure, and global governance, they also pay no attention to the improvement of Chinese women. 150 Selected Analysis


This reminds me of Sheryl Sandberg's book Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. One of the world's most successful working women has inspired women to "be more open to taking risks." In fact, this advice applies to everyone. Written by: Wang Wen Source: Global Times Published: 28 December 2020 The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

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ARCID CHINA UPDATE SERIES 1. ARCID China Update Volume 1, No. 1 (January-June 2018) 2. ARCID China Update Volume 1, No. 2 (July-December 2018) 3. ARCID China Update Volume 2, No. 1 (January-June 2019) 4. ARCID China Update Volume 2, No. 2 (July-December 2019) 5. ARCID China Update Volume 3, No. 1 (January-June 2020) 6. ARCID China Update Volume 3, No. 2 (July-December 2020)

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