12 August 2014
China has proposed hosting informal meetings with Southeast Asian leaders, seeking to improve ties with ASEAN amid maritime disputes and to counter the United States’ influence in the region.
At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Myanmar over the weekend, Foreign Minister Wang Yi proposed having an informal leaders’ meeting in conjunction with the Boao Forum for Asia, held every April on Hainan Island, and the China-ASEAN trade fair, held in September in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Wang said it would ensure “leaders have even closer interactions to build up trust, strengthen communication and lead cooperation”, reported Xinhua News Agency on Sunday.
China and ASEAN leaders already meet at the annual ASEAN-China Summit, which began in 2000 and is held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in November.
Between 1997 and 1999, leaders of both sides met at yearly informal summits.
Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said the move shows China’s desire to improve links with ASEAN and to compete with external powers, especially the US and Japan, for influence in the region.
“Chinese decision-makers believe increased interaction at the highest levels would help foster better trust and confidence.”
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 13/08/2014