ASEAN-China people-to-people exchanges open new chapter
A salon themed on tea culture is held in Fuzhou as a supporting activity of the opening ceremony for the 2024 ASEAN-China Year of People-to-People Exchanges. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
The opening ceremony for the 2024 ASEAN-China Year of People-to-People Exchanges was held in Fuzhou, capital of East China's Fujian province, on Feb 2.
The event was attended by over 300 representatives, including ASEAN national leaders, diplomatic envoys to China, and delegates from the economic, think tank, media, and sister-city sectors.
Kikeo Khaykhamphithoune, deputy prime minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, said in his speech at the opening ceremony that through effective mechanisms and close cooperation between ASEAN and China, two sides can achieve more fruitful cooperation, making the ASEAN-China region a more closely connected and prosperous area for cultural exchange and connectivity.
"Fujian, the ancient starting point of the maritime Silk Road and the core area of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, has deep cultural ties with ASEAN," said Zhou Zuyi, Party chief of Fujian. Zhou said that Fujian hopes to engage in city-to-city exchanges, promote cultural and tourism cooperation, and facilitate people-to-people connectivity among all parties.
"Humanistic exchanges play a crucial role in promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between ASEAN and China," said Ekkaphab Phanthavong, deputy secretary-general of ASEAN. "Through cultural exchanges, educational programs, visits, forums, seminars, and various other activities, we look forward to creating shared experiences and strengthening our partnership."
The designation of 2024 as the ASEAN-China Year of People-to-People Exchanges was unanimously agreed upon by the leaders of China and ASEAN in September 2023.
This designation has led to the holding of various events, including the ASEAN-China Book Art Exhibition and Fujian Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition, 2024 ASEAN-China Spring Festival Carnival, themed salons on youth, women and tea culture, and more, marking a promising start for the year of people-to-people exchanges.
Both sides will also jointly host over 200 distinctive events throughout the year, including the ASEAN-China arts festival, rattan ball competition, and more, to promote exchanges at all levels and in various fields, comprehensively deepening economic, trade, and investment cooperation.