V. China's Participation in Major Multilateral Mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific Region
1. China-ASEAN Cooperation
China regards ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, and firmly supports ASEAN's integration and community building as well as its centrality in regional cooperation. Following the principles of mutual respect,equality,good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation, China and ASEAN have further strengthened strategic dialogue, enhanced political mutual trust, and deepened practical cooperation in economy and trade, connectivity, finance, security, maritime affairs, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges, making continuous progress in their relations. During his visit to Southeast Asia in 2013 President Xi Jinping announced that China wants to build a closer China-ASEAN community of shared future.
In 2015 the China-ASEAN Defence Ministers' Informal Meeting was held in China for the first time. The two sides also held the Telecommunication Ministers' Meeting, AEM-MOFCOM Consultations, Transport Ministers' Meeting, and Prosecutors-Generals' Conference. In November of the same year, the two sides signed the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Certain Agreements Thereunder Between China and ASEAN, which marked the conclusion of the negotiations on an upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.
The year 2016 sees the 25th anniversary of the China-ASEAN Dialogue and the Year of China-ASEAN Educational Exchanges. On September 7 the 19th China-ASEAN Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue was held in Vientiane, Laos. Premier Li Keqiang attended and reviewed with ASEAN leaders the progress in bilateral relations, summarized experiences, and outlined the direction for future development. The two sides have also held meetings of their ministers of foreign affairs, economy and trade, quality management and inspection. A series of commemoration events have been hosted, including the Reception in Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, Ninth China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week, Second China-ASEAN Governors/Mayors Dialogue, International Conference to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and China-ASEAN Week.
2. ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Cooperation
ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation is the main vehicle for East Asia cooperation. China has called upon all parties to increase their input in implementing the Report of the East Asia Vision Group II and ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan 2013-2017, actively advanced the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) process, and supported the greater readiness and effectiveness of the CMIM and the capacity building of the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office after its upgrading to an international organization, so as to contribute to East Asia's economic and financial stability. China has also pushed forward the negotiations on trade in goods and services, and the model of access to investment markets under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and encouraged other parties to issue the Joint Statement on RCEP Negotiations.
On September 7, 2016 the 19th ASEAN Plus Three Summit was held in Vientiane, Laos, during which Premier Li Keqiang made six proposals on enhancing APT cooperation: to reinforce financial security cooperation, to expand trade and investment cooperation, to promote agricultural and poverty reduction cooperation, to increase the level of connectivity, to create new models for industrial cooperation, and to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
Since 2015 China has vigorously promoted practical cooperation within the APT framework, and held a series of events, including the Seventh East Asia Business Forum, Training Program on Understanding China, Ninth and Tenth Workshops on Cooperation for Cultural Human Resource Development, East Asia High-Level Investment Forum, Sixth Roundtable Meeting on Food Security, Second East Asia Modern Agricultural Workshop, exchange activities for young scientists, "Return to China" Project Cultural Event Series, Fourth International Workshop on ASEAN Plus Three Connectivity Partnership, Third and Fourth ASEAN Plus Three Village Leaders Exchange Programs, and 14th Asian Arts Festival.
3. China-Japan-ROK Cooperation
As major countries in East Asia, China, Japan and the ROK are the main drivers of East Asia economic integration. Stronger trilateral cooperation will be conducive not only to the development of the three countries, but also to regional stability and prosperity.
In 2015 China-Japan and ROK-Japan relations improved to some extent, ushering in a new phase of greater practical cooperation among the three countries in various fields. The Sixth China-Japan-ROK Summit was held on November 1 in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, where leaders of the three countries had an in-depth exchange of views on trilateral cooperation and international and regional issues of common interest, reiterated the importance they placed on trilateral cooperation, and agreed to properly handle relevant issues in the spirit of "facing history squarely and working together for the future," enhancing cooperation in political, economic, trade, fiscal, financial and cultural fields as well as on sustainable development. The meeting issued the Joint Declaration for Peace and Cooperation in Northeast Asia and other joint statements in agricultural, educational, and economic and trade sectors, which further enriched the trilateral cooperation and charted a course for future cooperation.
Since 2015 a number of meetings, forums and events among China, Japan and the ROK have been held, including the Ministerial Meetings on Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Water Resource, Environment, Finance, Economic and Trade, Agriculture, Culture, Health and Disaster Management, Central Bank Governors' Meeting, Meeting of Heads of Personnel Authorities, Trilateral Police Affairs Consultation and Counter-Terrorism Consultation, Director Generals' Meeting on Forestry Cooperation, Meeting of the Committee for Promoting Exchanges and Cooperation Among Universities, Northeast Asia Trilateral Forum, Tabletop Exercise on Disaster Management, Workshop on Marine Sciences and International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation, and several rounds of negotiations for a Free Trade Area.
4. East Asia Summit (EAS)
The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a leaders-led strategic forum. Remarkable progress has been made in EAS cooperation since 2015. Called for by China, the Fifth EAS Foreign Ministers' Meeting decided to extend the deadline of implementing the Plan of Action to Implement the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative to 2017.
At the 11th EAS held in Vientiane, Laos, on September 8, 2016, Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that cooperation in economic development and cooperation in political security were the two engines propelling the EAS, which should coordinate and synchronize with each other. On economic development, all parties should render strong support to regional connectivity, step up construction of free trade areas, and strengthen cooperation in social undertakings and people's livelihood. On political security, China advocates the new security concept featuring common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and supports all parties to strengthen cooperation on non-traditional security, discuss the building of a regional security framework, and properly settle hotspot and sensitive issues.
China actively promotes cooperation in various areas of the EAS. Since 2015 China has hosted the Second EAS New Energy Forum, Second EAS Clean Energy Forum, EAS Wildlife Protection Symposium, EAS Track II Seminar on Maritime Cooperation for Security in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Fifth EAS Workshop on Regional Security Framework, and the Fourth and Fifth EAS Earthquake Search and Rescue Exercises.
5. ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
The ARF has become an influential and inclusive platform for official multilateral security dialogue and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. All parties have been making confidence-building measures as their core mission, promoting preventive diplomacy based on consensus, and steadily enhancing cooperation in non-traditional security fields.
On July 26, 2016 the 23rd ARF Ministerial Meeting was held in Vientiane, Laos. The Chinese side pointed out that the forum should focus on confidence-building measures throughout the whole process, and explore a preventive diplomacy mode compatible with the regional situation step by step on the basis of consensus. All sides should further strengthen dialogue and cooperation, enhance understanding and mutual trust among regional countries, work together to cope with non-traditional security threats and other challenges, and enable the forum to make greater contributions to regional peace and security.
China has actively led practical cooperation within the framework of the ARF. Since 2015 it has hosted the Workshop on Cyber Security Capacity Building, Third ARF Workshop on Space Security, ARF Seminar on Maritime Risk Management and Cooperation, ARF Workshop on Marine Oil Spill Emergency Response and Management and Disposal Cooperation, ARF Workshop on Strengthening Management of Cross-Border Movement of Criminals, ARF Workshop on Green Shipping, and ARF Workshop on Urban Emergency Rescue.
6. ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus)
The ADMM-Plus is the highest-level and largest defence and security dialogue and cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region. It has played a vital role in enhancing mutual trust and promoting pragmatic cooperation among the defence ministries and armed forces of all parties.
On November 4, 2015, at the Third ADMM-Plus held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Chinese side pointed out that all parties should push for the building of an open, inclusive, transparent and even-handed regional security cooperation framework, keep deepening pragmatic defence cooperation, properly handle disputes, manage and control risks, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.
In 2016 the Chinese military has participated in the ADMM-Plus peacekeeping and demining joint exercise in India and the maritime security and counter-terrorism exercises in Brunei and Singapore. From 2017 to 2020 China and Thailand will co-chair the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on Counter-terrorism.
7. Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC)
The establishment of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) framework was an important initiative put forward by Premier Li Keqiang at the 17th China-ASEAN Summit in November 2014. This initiative aims to enhance good-neighborliness and friendship among the six countries along the Lancang-Mekong River through pragmatic cooperation, promote sub-regional economic and social development, and forge a community of shared future for solidarity, mutual assistance, even-handed consultation, shared benefits and mutually beneficial cooperation in the sub-region. The LMC framework has China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam as its members.
The LMC has registered encouraging progress. One leaders' meeting, one foreign ministers' meeting and three senior officials' meetings have been held by November 2016. In November 2015 the First LMC Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in Jinghong, in China's Yunnan Province, at which the foreign ministers of the six countries announced the start of the LMC process, reached broad consensus on the direction of future cooperation and the structure of the LMC, and put forward proposals for a number of cooperation projects.
On March 23, 2016 the First LMC Leaders' Meeting was held in Sanya, in China's Hainan Province, officially launching the LMC framework. Leaders of the six countries reviewed past progress, shared their vision for the future of the LMC, and agreed to coordinate their strategies for development, make overall planning of their cooperation resources, share the benefits of development, and build a community of shared future among the Lancang-Mekong countries. The meeting confirmed the "3+5" mechanism of cooperation: the three cooperation pillars of political and security issues, economic and sustainable development, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges; and the five key priority areas of connectivity, production capacity, cross-border economic cooperation, water resources, and agriculture and poverty reduction. The meeting issued the Sanya Declaration of the First Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting and the Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation Among the Lancang-Mekong Countries, and adopted a joint list of early-harvest programs in areas such as connectivity, water resources, public health and poverty reduction.
8. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
Since 2015 the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has maintained sound and steady development. Progress has been made in political, security, economic and cultural cooperation, leading to the firmer international standing and greater influence of the SCO.
President Xi Jinping attended the 15th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the SCO member states on July 9-10, 2015 in Ufa, Russia, where they signed the Ufa Declaration of the Heads of State of SCO Member States and the SCO Member States Agreement on Border Defence Cooperation, and approved important documents including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's Development Strategy until 2025 and the SCO Member States 2016-2018 Cooperation Program on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism.
Premier Li Keqiang chaired the 14th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the SCO member states held in China on December 14-15, 2015. The leaders at the meeting laid out plans for cooperation in various fields for the next stage, issued the Statement of the Heads of Govemment (Prime Ministers) of SCO Member States on Regional Economic Cooperation, adopted the resolution on Preparation for Creating the SCO Development Bank and the SCO Development Foundation (Specialized Account), and witnessed the signing of the Program of Interaction Between the Customs Agencies of the SCO member states for 2016-2021 and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of the SCO and the Secretariat of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
On June 23-24, 2016 the 16th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the SCO member states was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. President Xi Jinping attended the meeting. The heads of the member states signed the Tashkent Declaration on the 15th Anniversary of the SCO, approved the Action Plan for 2016-2020 on Implementation of the SCO Development Strategy Towards 2025, and adopted the Memorandums of the Obligations on the Entry of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the SCO.
Since 2015 meetings of heads of various departments including security council secretaries, foreign ministers, defence ministers, economic and trade ministers, culture ministers and heads of emergency response agencies have been held. These meetings deepened and expanded cooperation in various fields, and increased the SCO's international influence. China has promoted and participated in SCO cooperation across the board. China's bilateral relations with other SCO member states, observer states and dialogue partners have continued to grow.
9. Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)
On April 27-28, 2016 the Fifth Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CICA member states was held in Beijing. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and delivered an important speech. The meeting issued the Declaration on Promoting Peace, Security, Stability and Sustainable Development in Asia Through Dialogue and adopted the 2016-2018 Cooperation Initiative of the CICA Member States for Drug Control and the 2016-2018 CICA Initiative for the Implementation of Confidence-Building Measures for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises.
China has actively implemented the confidence-building measures of CICA in all fields and made innovative efforts in the cooperation platform of CICA. Since 2015 China has hosted the founding conference of the CICA Youth Council, founding assembly of CICA Business Council, First CICA Non-Governmental Forum and Third Think Tank Roundtable, which have helped to implement the confidence-building measures in cultural and economic fields, and promoted dialogue and exchange among young people, NGOs and think tanks.