Wang Yi, Director of the Central Foreign Relations Commission Office of the Communist Party of China (CCP), called for the Southeast Asian Nations Association (ASEAN) to speed up negotiations to update the agreements on the free trade area.
According to the news of Xinhua, Vang met with his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan and the ministers of member countries as part of the ongoing ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.
Expressing that ASEAN’s free trade agreements will contribute to peace and development in Asia, Vang called for speeding up the negotiations to update the agreements on the China-ASEAN Free Trade Zone.
Vang also stated that he is willing to take mutual steps to improve bilateral relations and cooperation with Singapore, and his counterpart Balakrishnan said that China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner and important projects are planned to improve bilateral relations.
The Chinese Foreign Minister did not attend the meeting
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang, a senior diplomat, attended the ASEAN meeting instead of China Gang.
The fact that the Chinese Foreign Minister, who stated that he could not attend ASEAN due to health problems, was not seen again after the press conference he held in Beijing on June 25 after meeting with Sri Lankan, Russian and Vietnamese officials, raises questions about the whereabouts of the Minister.
The minister did not attend the meetings with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on 6-9 July, as well as the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on 10 July.
The visit of the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Policy Josep Borrell, scheduled for 10 July in Beijing, was cancelled.
While the ministry refused to comment on whether China’s health problems were caused by Kovid-19, the official statement on the subject was not shared.
Indonesia is hosting ASEAN this year
This year, the 56th ASEAN meeting will be held at the level of foreign ministers in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, between 11-14 July.
Established in Bangkok in 1967 and bringing together Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei, ASEAN aims at intergovernmental cooperation and economic diplomacy.
ASEAN approved the roadmap for East Timor’s accession as the 11th member in May.