The Special Session of China-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) was held via video link on December 14, 2021. Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang and Thai Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Anek Laothamatas co-chaired the meeting. Ministers or representatives of the STI authorities of ASEAN countries addressed the meeting, and ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun delivered remarks.
Wang Zhigang stressed in his keynote speech that President Xi Jinping announced the establishment of China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership with ASEAN leaders at the China-ASEAN Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations held on November 22, which provided a new and important strategic direction for deepening China-ASEAN STI cooperation. President Xi Jinping also put forward five proposals for growing China-ASEAN relations in the future, and announced the launch of the China-ASEAN Science, Technology and Innovation Enhancing Program, which points the way forward for our future work.
Wang Zhigang noted that China has always taken ASEAN as a priority partner in international STI cooperation. In recent years, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has worked together with relevant departments of ASEAN countries to promote the China-ASEAN Science and Technology Partnership Program, implement the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan, share the latest scientific and technological achievements and experience of innovative development, and contribute to economic development and people’s livelihood in the region through science and technology .
Wang Zhigang said that going forward, MOST will work with relevant departments of ASEAN countries, in line with the trend of the times and the needs of both sides, to take their STI relationship to new heights. First, the two sides should jointly enhance the innovation capacity to promote regional prosperity, make good use of the China-ASEAN Ministers‘Meeting on STI, the Science and Technology Joint Committee, the high-level cooperation forum, the Forum on China-ASEAN Technology Transfer and Collaborative Innovation and intergovernmental cooperation mechanisms at the bilateral level, strengthen the exchange of innovative ideas, seek alignment in STI plans and policies, create a more favorable cooperation environment, and leverage the role of the China-ASEAN Technology Transfer Center and other platforms to support the implementation of technology cooperation projects by enterprises from both sides. Second, the two sides should jointly strengthen connectivity at multiple levels and in wide areas, conduct joint R&D based on the scientific and technological demands of major cooperation and engineering projects of both sides, strengthen cooperation in such fields as technical standards, intellectual property rights and scientific research facilities, carry out people-to-people exchanges on science and technology, and encourage institutions of the two sides to build networks and alliances for China-ASEAN STI exchanges and cooperation. Third, the two sides should jointly deepen cooperation in new areas such as health, digital technology and green development, and vigorously promote anti-epidemic technology cooperation in vaccines and drugs. China will support the construction of the China-ASEAN Center for Cooperation in Public Health Science and Technology, and carry out the special technology transfer campaign for sustainable development. Fourth, the two sides should jointly pursue a more inclusive and sustainable path of development, and actively carry out cooperation in science and technology for poverty reduction, in order to deliver concrete benefits to people in all countries. China has proposed the initiative of setting up a China-ASEAN Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Camp to help young people from all countries realize their dreams.
ASEAN ministers and delegates applauded the fruitful results of China-ASEAN STI cooperation and expressed their willingness to take the opportunity of the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations to further deepen regional STI cooperation, strengthen cooperation with China in professional training, joint R&D, innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer and other fields, and jointly tackle challenges and promote prosperity and development in the region. Ministers and delegates are confident about STI cooperation with China and are willing to work hand in hand with China to create a better tomorrow.
The meeting adopted and released the China-ASEAN Plan of Action on a Closer Partnership of Science, Technology and Innovation for Future (2021-2025), in which the two sides are committed to strengthening exchanges and cooperation in science and technology policies, joint R&D, technology transfer, professional training and other fields.