China is stepping up efforts to strengthen ties with the Affiliation of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.
Chinese language customs authorities say ASEAN surpassed the European Union as China’s largest commerce associate between January and September this yr. Transactions with ASEAN through the 9-month interval accounted for 14.6 p.c of China’s commerce.
Amongst ASEAN member states, China’s commerce with Vietnam was up 18.5 p.c, Thailand 10.9 p.c and Malaysia 5.8 p.c in comparison with the identical interval final yr.
The rise is attributed to extra Chinese language corporations’ opening enterprise in ASEAN international locations, towards the backdrop of China’s Belt and Highway financial initiative.
One other issue is an increase in exports of Chinese language face masks and medical tools because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, Chinese language Overseas Minister Wang Yi visited ASEAN nations together with Thailand, Malaysia and Laos. In Cambodia, he signed a bilateral free commerce settlement.
Following his return dwelling, Wang instructed China’s state-run Xinhua information company that stronger ties between China and ASEAN would result in better mutual profit and financial restoration. He pressured China’s willingness to contribute to the area’s anti-infection measures, resembling offering vaccines.
Observers say China seems to be attempting to win over ASEAN member states and additional increase its worldwide presence because it stands more and more at odds with the US.