Economic integration

Wang Yi calls for economic integration in East Asia

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo:

Further integration between ASEAN, Japan, South Korea and China is vital for the region, especially as many Asian countries face economic challenges amid the recent upsurge in the coronavirus, they said. experts said Wednesday, following the latest appeal from Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi for more cooperation between countries in the region.

Wang called for “economic integration” between ASEAN, Japan, South Korea and China amid the pandemic crisis. He made the comment during the 22nd meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers and the three foreign ministers, which was held on Tuesday by video.

During the meeting, Wang highlighted the specific directions in which the countries of Southeast Asia should cement their cooperation. On the one hand, he urged countries to use the 25th anniversary of the 10 + 3 cooperation mechanism to formulate a 2023-2027 work plan, to plan the future cooperation road map of ASEAN, China , Japan and South Korea.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that Asia remains cohesive on the basis of the principle of mutual benefit and that the 10 + 3 mechanism is at the core. heart of regional cooperation.

“With this mechanism, the region can mobilize resources and wisdom to jointly combat the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, while overcoming economic hardship,” Li said.

Wang also explained the future direction of East Asian economic cooperation. For example, he said countries should strive to implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as soon as possible to accelerate the process of regional economic integration.

He called for building a barrier against the pandemic in East Asia. According to Wang, China has provided more than 750 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries and regions, and will provide an additional 110 million doses over the next four months, along with $ 3 billion in aid. .

Wang also called on countries in the region to accelerate regional digital transformation, make good use of the market size of East Asian countries, and vigorously conduct practical cooperation on artificial intelligence and the economy. digital.

Gu Xiaosong, dean of the ASEAN Research Center at Hainan Tropical Ocean University, said many countries in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, are unlikely to achieve their goals. economic this year with the resurgence of the coronavirus, as these countries rely heavily on manufacturing. who is affected by the pandemic.

According to media reports, Apple and Samsung suppliers in Vietnam are putting local workers in factories to sleep to keep the industry going while preventing a resurgence of a pandemic, which experts say reflects the reliance on these countries with respect to the activities of original equipment manufacturers.

“Whether these supply chains are unscathed or not depends on how the pandemic progresses over the coming months. If the pandemic is not controlled, it is possible that many supply chains will leave Vietnam and the economic losses will be huge, ”Gu said, saying the case also applies to other Asian countries like indonesia.

Under such circumstances, it is vital that these countries step up cooperation with China, one of the few countries whose trade and economic situation remains relatively calm, experts said.

“China’s trade and investment could help many countries offset their economic losses amid the pandemic while also launching economic recovery. On the other hand, China is practically the only country that tends to produce a large number of vaccines and is ready to donate. them without any additional political conditions, ”Gu said.

RCEP, which provides a cooperative framework in which preferential policies such as zero tax are deployed, will cement Asia’s economic interaction, the experts said.

They also pointed out that the economic integration between China and many Asian countries has already become so close that it cannot be undermined by external disturbances, such as American provocation or protectionist calls.

“Not only have China and ASEAN developed strong ties in the division of labor of industrial chains, but China has also become a key market for many Asian countries, such as agricultural products from the Philippines. For export-oriented countries, they will not drift. outside of China only because of external pressure, “Liu Xiaoxue, associate researcher at the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.