ASEAN and China are discussing ways to enhance their cooperation in science, technology and innovation (STI), with both sides keen on broadening the scope of collaboration through their 2021-2025 action plan.

ASEAN deputy secretary-general Tran Duc Binh met with a delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, led by its chief inspector Gao Bao, on September 20 at the ASEAN secretariat in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

They expressed their mutual desire to reinforce and broaden the scope of STI cooperation through the implementation of the ASEAN-China plan of action 2021-25 on a closer STI partnership for the future.

“Both sides underscored key sectors such as chip and 5G technology, electric vehicles [EVs], the Belt and Road Initiative [BRI], and industrial machinery and software, among others.

“This exchange marked a significant step towards fostering a symbiotic STI relationship,” said a press release from the ASEAN secretariat.

In 2018, the 21st China-ASEAN summit issued a joint statement on China-ASEAN STI cooperation, which laid out a plan for future STI collaboration.

In 2021, in response to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposal of launching the China-ASEAN STI enhancement programme, the two parties adopted the action plan 2021-25, which specified the objectives, working mechanism and measures for STI cooperation.

Addressing the 26th China-ASEAN summit on September 6 – held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta – Chinese premier Li Qiang called for the joint pursuit of cooperation in emerging industries, saying that a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is gaining steam, and leading to profound adjustments in the global innovation landscape and economic structure.

He said China will work with the ASEAN member states to seize opportunities to strengthen STI cooperation. It will accelerate the upgrade of traditional industries and the development of emerging ones, in order to foster innovation and new drivers of growth, while maintaining a competitive edge.

He added that China intends to provide at least $10 million by 2025 to support advancing the China-ASEAN STI enhancement programme.

“China hopes to launch a ministerial dialogue on industry with ASEAN, and step up our cooperation on new energy vehicles and photovoltaics.

“China will continue to host the artificial intelligence [AI] cooperation forum and will work to ensure the success of the first China-ASEAN clean energy week. We welcome the active participation of all ASEAN countries in these events,” he said.