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International Conference "Towards the Diamond Era Between ASEAN and China: Opportunities and Challenges"

China today is one of the most important partners of ASEAN, as well as of the member states of ASEAN. In economics, China today is the largest trade partners of most of the ASEAN countries, while collectively ASEAN also constitutes China’s fourth largest trading partner. Mutual investment has also been growing with both sides rank as one of the largest foreign direct investors of the other. China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), implemented in 2010 and now in the process of negotiating an upgraded version, testifies to the growing economic ties between ASEAN and China. In regional diplomacy, China is the first country to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation among the major powers in the world. In security arena, China has stepped up cooperation with ASEAN member states in many policy areas such as non-traditional security issues. In the South China Sea issue, China and ASEAN signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in 2002 and are now in the process of negotiating for a Code of Conduct. In culture, the number of Chinese people learning the language and culture of Southeast Asian countries, and vice versa, has been growing rapidly. All these developments surprise even the most optimistic observers when ASEAN and China began the dialogue process 25 years ago in 1991.

Nevertheless, amidst the growing partnership between China and ASEAN, there are still numerous challenges ahead. There are growing involvements of many other major powers in the region and China’s relations with these major powers will be increasingly influencing China-ASEAN relations. The South China Sea issue needs to be well managed. Growing economic ties between both sides should be made sure to benefit most, if not all, strata of the societies in China and ASEAN countries. Nevertheless, there is hope for both sides to envision a future that can be described as the “diamond era” or “community of common destiny.” Therefore, the Institute of China Studies at the University of Malaya, supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia, will organize an international conference on August 17, to dwell upon the past achievements, present developments, and future challenges and opportunities between China and ASEAN. The conference is also meant to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue.

Date: 17 August 2016
Time: 9.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Petaling Jaya

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