The 21st ASEAN-China Summit was held in Singapore on 14 November 2018. Chaired by H.E. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, the meeting was attended by all Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States and H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. This was the 15th anniversary of the Asean-China strategic partnership.

China, the first country signing the strategic partnership with ASEAN, is the biggest trade partner of the grouping, while ASEAN is the third largest partner of China. iStock/NOW!JAKARTA

Both sides welcomed the activities held by ASEAN and China to commemorate the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation 2018. It adopted the Joint Statement on ASEAN-China Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation.

ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s support for the ASEAN Smart Cities Network. It welcomed the substantive progress made in the implementation of the 2016-2020 Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and agreed to further implement the Plan of Action to enhance effective cooperation in wide-ranging areas.

The summit noted that over the past fifteen years, the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership has deepened cooperation between ASEAN and China and further strengthened relations, contributing to regional peace and prosperity. In this regard, it adopted the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, which will chart the future direction to further advance the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership to new heights by forging closer cooperation for mutual benefit.

It agreed to further promote trade, market access, investment, and tourism flows. And noted that in 2017, China remained ASEAN’s largest trading partner with total merchandise trade at USD 441.6 billion. China also rose from being ASEAN’s fourth largest external source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to third largest, with FDI flows amounting to USD 11.3 billion in 2017.

The ASEAN Leaders welcomed China’s support for the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025. We welcomed further exploration of synergies between MPAC 2025 and the Belt and Road Initiative. We looked forward to the implementation of such cooperation in an open, inclusive, transparent and mutually beneficial manner. We also looked forward to enhancing cooperation on infrastructure with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Silk Road Fund. To enhance air connectivity, we looked forward to working towards the full liberalisation of the ASEAN-China Air Transport Agreement (AC-ATA), including a new Protocol 3 to expand Fifth Freedom Traffic Rights between ASEAN and China under the intra-package of Protocol 2, which will facilitate greater people-to-people and economic linkages and further enhance regional connectivity.

It noted that the China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week continued to be an important platform for fostering educational and cultural cooperation and exchanges.

It  underscored the important role and contribution of the ASEAN-China Centre in promoting trade, investment, tourism, education and cultural cooperation between ASEAN and China for mutual benefit. ASEAN Leaders also welcomed China’s establishment of the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF) Project Management Team, which will facilitate the implementation of cooperation activities and projects under the Fund. We noted the outcomes of the two Working Group

Meetings on “ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030” and “ASEAN-China E-commerce for Regional Growth and Cooperation” by the Network of ASEAN-China Think-Tanks (NACT) in Beijing and Singapore respectively this year.

It discussed and 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. It also welcomed the continued improving cooperation between ASEAN and China and were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on a mutually-agreed timeline.


  1. China, the first country signing the strategic partnership with ASEAN, is the biggest trade partner of the grouping, while ASEAN is the third largest partner of China.
  2. Trade volume between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China hit a record high in 2017, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
  3. Bilateral trade totalled US$514.8 billion last year, up 13.8 percent year on year. China’s exports to ASEAN countries reached US$279.1 billion in 2017, up 9 percent year on year, while imports grew 20 percent year-on-year to stand at US$235.7 billion.



 Adapted from This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine March 2019 issue “Architecture, Property, and Design”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.

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The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta