Stronger Asean-China ties will help better manage differences: Thai minister

More resilient ties between Asean and China will allow for differences such as the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea to be better managed, said Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

Already, the strong ties between the two sides serve as an anchor of peace, stability and prosperity for the region, Dr Surapong, who is also Thailand's Foreign Minister, said on Thursday in his opening address at the Special Asean-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting here.

But areas of cooperation should be further broadened and deepened for mutual benefit, he noted.

"(We should also enhance) our capacity to build up resilience so that we can manage any differences that arise," Dr Surapong said.

"This also applies to the issue of the South China Sea, which is an issue of strategic importance to the region."

He was speaking at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing where the meeting was held to mark 10 years of Asean-China strategic ties. Thailand is the country coordinator for Asean-China relations.

The Thai diplomat also reflected on the deep historical and cultural roots between Asean and China and expressed hope that the strengthening of mutual trust and confidence can help maintain a peaceful environment.

"As China's influence and stature in the world continues to grow, we look forward to China playing a greater and constructive role in regional and international forums."

In his opening address, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasised the need for Asean and China to work together to increase unity, deepen cooperation and work on a better next 10 years.

"China and Asean are similar to a big family. We are friends, partners and brothers," Mr Wang said.

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