Visit by ASEAN ministers shows willingness to cooperate with China rather than serving US interests
Published: Mar 28, 2022 11:41 PM
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin Photo:

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that foreign ministers from Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar will visit China from Thursday to Sunday at the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. 

The upcoming visit of the four foreign ministers from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) not only reflect China's intimate relations with its neighboring countries, but the high expectation from all sides to promote China-ASEAN cooperation, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a regular press conference on Monday.

"As important ASEAN members, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar are China's friendly neighbors and important partners in promoting high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China has kept in contact with ASEAN members to deepen cooperation on anti-pandemic measures and development restoration since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic," Wang emphasized. 

Earlier in March, the planned special summit between the US and ASEAN from March 28 to March 29 was reportedly postponed. 

To visit China while delaying the meeting with the US shows ASEAN's willingness to talk with China rather than the US, experts said. 

"While the former truly and sincerely helps them boost economic development and solve practical problems through win-win cooperation, the latter doesn't really care about their current situations but just wants to use them to contain China without bringing them tangible benefit. Obviously, ASEAN members know that," Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Monday.

Wang talked about China's expectations for the visit, saying China wishes to work with ASEAN to implement the results and common understanding reached last year at the special summit of the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and to promote global development initiatives.

"China will also fully exchange views with the ministers on the current regional and international situation, infusing more positive energy into regional stability and world prosperity," Wang added.

Experts also mentioned that ASEAN tried to avoid the meeting with the US partly because of the Ukraine crisis. "ASEAN doesn't want to choose the US side on the Ukraine crisis, which it believes would only add more tension that could escalate the situation," Qian added.