On 20 December 2021, the 17th Informal Meeting among Secretaries-General of the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), the ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) and the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) was held online. The meeting was presided over by Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of ACC. Mr. Kunihiko Hirabayashi, Secretary-General of AJC, and Mr. Kim Hae-yong, Secretary-General of AKC, attended the meeting. Ms. Wang Hongliu, Director of the General Affairs and Coordination Division of ACC, Mr. Arianto Surojo, Director of the Information and Public Relations Division of ACC, and heads of relevant divisions of AJC and AKC were present.
Secretary-General Chen Dehai congratulated his two new counterparts, Secretary-General Kim Hae-yong and Secretary-General Kunihiko Hirabayashi, on their appointment and spoke highly of the progress in tripartite exchanges and cooperation. He highlighted that the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation mechanism has been playing a vital role in promoting economic and trade exchanges, deepening practical cooperation, strengthening pandemic prevention and control, and facilitating regional economic integration. East Asia is a leading force in global economic and social development. The year 2022 will mark the 25th anniversary of the APT cooperation and will also be the ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation. ACC is ready to join hands with AJC and AKC, to seize the opportunity of the entry-into-force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), strengthen exchanges and cooperation in pandemic prevention and control, economic recovery and other key areas, so as to promote an all-around and balanced development of East Asia.
Secretary-General Kunihiko Hirabayashi stressed that AJC attaches great importance to the exchanges and cooperation of APT. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of AJC. Following the trend, AJC has been working hard to stimulate new vitality, increase contacts with ASEAN and Japan in various fields, strengthen cooperation in fighting against pandemic, and promote policy alignment to contribute to regional harmony. The three centres share common vision and goals. He hoped that the three centres could jointly carry out programmes and activities with greater achievements, make full use of RCEP resources, promote people-to-people exchanges, enhance connectivity and build a safer and more sustainable regional environment.
Secretary-General Kim Hae-yong said despite the influence of COVID-19, AKC has been striving to overcome challenges. AKC actively organised activities online and offline and held a series of activities for ASEAN Week 2021 under the theme of mutual benefit and sustainability. APT cooperation mechanism is vital for economic recovery and regional integration in East Asia. This tripartite meeting is held at the right time. He hoped that the three centres could continue to strengthen policy synergy and coordination, keep frequent contacts in social media, and benefit more people in the region through cooperation in trade, investment, culture, people-to-people exchanges, etc.
The three centres respectively gave briefings on their activities since last informal meeting and introduced their 2022 flagship projects and put forward suggestions on cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The meeting also discussed about relevant arrangements for the 18th Informal Meeting Among Secretaries-General of ACC, AJC and AKC.