ASEAN sustainable development cooperation starts

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) inaugurated their Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation in Beijing on Friday. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory letter to the event, saying that he hoped both sides could strengthen ties in environmental protection and disaster relief, and address such pressing issues as climate change and poverty alleviation. Zhao Yingmin, the Chinese vice minister of ecology and environment, took up the same theme.

“We will implement the new cooperative strategy and action plan, jointly achieve regional environmental cooperation and realize the mutual benefits,” Zhao said. Following Friday’s opening ceremony, a series of activities will be held focusing on things like policy dialogue and building capacity.

The activities are the latest rounds of cooperative events marking the 30th anniversary of establishing dialogue between both China and ASEAN. The two sides are seeking to draw attention to the importance of constructing sustainable cities and reducing marine plastic with an overarching theme of fighting climate change and conserving biodiversity.

“I hope that the series of activities this year will stimulate discussions to ensure that our community remains robust and ready for the post-COVID-19 world. We look forward to a stronger ASEAN-China partnership on this process,” said Lim Jock Hoi, secretary-general of ASEAN.

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