China calls for unity instead of ‘new Cold War’ at ASEAN Summit

Augusto Sarmento - Internasional
Reportajen : By Zhao Yunfei
Editor : Augusto Sarmento
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Premier Li Qiang attends the 26th China-ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sept 6, 2023. (Photo/ASEAN 2023)

“Keeping the difference in check and seeking common ground” is Chinese wisdom. It’s an attitude of promoting development first and putting aside disagreements. The Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s four-day trip to Indonesia has delivered such a message.

Li delivered a series of speeches in Jakarta where leaders of ASEAN nations gathered at an annual summit, calling for actions to oppose “a new Cold War,” which the premier says may occur due to misperceptions between countries.


“What is essential now is to oppose picking sides,” Li said.

China has made repeated remarks against confrontations in the South China Sea. Beijing said non-regional countries should respect the efforts made by regional countries to resolve the disputes.

China has been committed to working with ASEAN countries for the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and towards progress in consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

“We are very optimistic because the timeline has been decided,” Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah told CGTN.

A guideline document for expediting the conclusion of the COC was adopted at the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in July. It came a few weeks after Indonesia announced to change the location of ASEAN’s joint military drills away from the South China Sea.

“We shall have nothing to fear about the differences,” said Li, as long as relevant parties act in the overall interests of peace and development.


Mutual trust brings mutual benefits. Cooperation between ASEAN members has grown over the years.

Trade between China and ASEAN surpassed $ 970 billion in 2022, more than doubling the volume from a decade ago. The two sides have been each other’s top trading partners for three years.

During the official visit to Indonesia, Li also took a ride on the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed train. China considered the first high-speed railway built overseas with whole-of-supply chains a flagship Belt and Road project.

“This is very good, and we welcome it with enthusiasm,” Indonesian Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko told CGTN, praising China’s contributions to his country’s infrastructure development.

This year’s summit has been fruitful. China and ASEAN adopted a series of documents in Jakarta, covering agriculture, e-commerce, and science innovation. As Premier Li noted, unity means prosperity and division entails decline.

Zhao Yunfei is a journalist for China Global Television Network (CGTN).

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