China & ASEAN

ASEAN and China launch Year of Innovation (OpenGov)

Singapore’s Senior Minister of State Dr Koh Poh Koon at the launch of the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation 2018 in Beijing, China
(Photo: OpenGov, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore)

In his speech, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, Dr Koh Poh Koon, outlined several areas in which ASEAN can cooperate with China, such as e-commerce and smart cities.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China officially launched the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation on 12 April 2018 in Beijing, China.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development, Dr Koh Poh Koon, represented Singapore at the launch ceremony hosted by PRC Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang. Representatives from the other ASEAN Member States were also in attendance.

ASEAN and China established dialogue partner relations in 1991. Since then, China has become one of ASEAN’s most substantive dialogue partners. In 2016, ASEAN and China commemorated the 25th Anniversary of ASEANChina Dialogue Relations. This year, both sides will be celebrating 15 years of ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership.

Over the past three years, to enhance cooperation and further advance relations, ASEAN and China have designated a theme for ASEAN-China cooperation for each year. In 2016, ASEAN and China commemorated the Year of Educational Exchanges and 2017 was designated the Year of Tourism Cooperation.

In line with Singapore’s ASEAN Chairmanship themes of Resilience and Innovation, ASEAN and China agreed to designate 2018 as the ASEAN-China Year of Innovation.

At the launch ceremony, SMS Koh delivered a speech which included a congratulatory message from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. In his message, PM Lee highlighted that Singapore will continue to play a constructive role to promote ASEAN-China cooperation as ASEAN Chair and country coordinator for ASEAN-China dialogue relations this year.

PM Lee talked about dealing with the opportunities and challenges of technological disruption across multiple domains – from science & technology, education, digitalisation, to enterprise and entrepreneurship and said that this is an issue where ASEAN and China have many shared interests in.

The Singapore PM also noted in his message that both ASEAN and China are home to a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups, technology companies and solution providers. ASEAN’s digital economy is projected to exceed US$200 billion in 2025, while China is one of the innovation and technology powerhouses in the world today. China houses the world’s second largest group of unicorns [1], and is among the top three countries for venture capital investment in digital technologies.

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Priyankar Bhunia

13 April 2018

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