ASEAN-China International Cooperation
Over the past 20 years, ASEAN members and China have signed numerous economic cooperation agreements, including bilateral and multilateral treaties. These agreements aim to promote trade, simplify customs procedures and foster economic cooperation among the countries.
In October 2023, Indonesia inaugurated its first high-speed rail network with a journey taken by President Joko Widodo aboard the bullet train between the capital Jakarta and the city of Bandung. A USD 7.3 billion investment for a 140-kilometer route built by Chinese and Indonesian companies enables travel at a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, facilitating trade and logistics in the region.
The first high-speed passenger train connecting the Chinese capital, Beijing, and Vientiane, the capital of Laos, was launched in November 2023. This marks a lengthy tourist route on the China-Laos railway, adding to routes between the Yunnan province and the ASEAN region inaugurated over the previous two years. It symbolizes the relations between Southeast Asia and the People's Republic of China, part of the Belt and Road initiative, aiming to promote the movement of people and goods between southern China and Southeast Asia.
These infrastructures are part of a larger project that will connect Beijing to Singapore with a 5,500-kilometer high-speed rail network through Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, linking the capitals Vientiane, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore to enhance regional logistics, trade, and tourism.
For China, the ASEAN region holds a crucial geopolitical position, serving as a crossroad for major maritime routes and attracting the interest of global powers. Economically, the region's aggregated gross domestic product exceeds USD 3.6 trillion, driven by some of the highest growth rates: 4.2 per cent in 2023 and 4.6 per cent in 2024, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund.