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ASEAN news exchange program revival pushed in China media forum

The head of the Philippine delegation to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Media Cooperation Forum in this historical city has underscored the need for the reactivation of ASEAN News Exchange to jibe with the effort to strengthen connectivity and cooperation. In his keynote speech, Luis A. Morente, director of the News and Information Bureau which is a mother unit of the Philippine News Agency, underscored the need to revisit the partnership among news agencies in the ASEAN region. Morente said partners-agencies from different countries in the region became active in the news and information exchange until it became defunct in the late 80s or early 90s. ‘To realize this, we can start with the creation of a Technical Working Group or conduct workshops on how we can go about it. I do hope that our brothers in the ASEAN region would support this,’ he added. The exchange — like how it used to work since its inception more than three decades ago — will serve as an integrated online platform where all news agencies around the region could drop publishable materials which every partner could use in their own news portal. “A country’s news agency can drop two to three stories in the common news exchange online hub. Each agency can use the story for free under this news exchange program. With this, a country can highlight its strength on areas of tourism, education, sports, and media,” Morente said in a separate interview. The exchange, he said, would foster trade investments, tourist arrivals among member states, as well as cultural understanding and dialogue. Morente also briefed the delegates about PNA’s efforts in establishing partnerships with other international news organizations, including Xinhua News Agency, the official state news agency and largest media organization of the People’s Republic of China. Morente was among the six delegates from ASEAN countries who delivered a keynote speech touching on the theme, ‘Better Connectivity and Cooperation Towards Common Prosperity.’ Synergy and connectivity In his remarks, Shi Zhongjun, secretary general of the ASEAN-China Centre, underscored the role of media as ‘messengers of friendly exchanges, facilitators of practical cooperation and guardians of peaceful coexistence.’ ‘We are pleased to see that media in ASEAN member states and China have worked closely to increase coverage on each other’s issues and bilateral relations, made a clear voice on ASEAN-China joint endeavor for peace and development, and have contributed to the growth of ASAN-China relations,’ Shi said. This year, he said, marks the 20th anniversary of China acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, citing significant strides in the continued friendship and cooperation in promoting regional peace and stability. ‘The two sides have further promoted regional development and prosperity through close economic cooperation. They remain each other’s largest trading partner, with trade volume in the first five months of the year totaling USD377 billion, up to 2.1 percent,’ Shi said. As China celebrates this year its 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, Shi said greater synergy has been achieved between the global infrastructure development strategy and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, citing tangible benefits to the people on both sides. Du Zhangyuan, member of the standing committee of the 14th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee and president of the China International Communications Group, said that China and the ASEAN are promoting mutually beneficial cooperation for security in the region. “As neighbors and natural friends, we respect each other, we work with each other, and we look out for each other through the creation of a benchmark for cooperation anchored on mutual cooperation, shared people-to-people exchanges,” Du said in his remarks. Window of cooperation Mayor Zhang Zhefeng highlighted in his welcome remarks Wenzhou City’s rich history, culture and the economy as a ‘happy city’. This port and industrial hub in China’s southeast, Zhang said, would serve as a window of varied information for the delegates to see and share in their respective news platform, citing its 2022 GDP exceeding 800 billion RMB (around 115 billion US dollars), ranking 30th among all the cities in China. He said Wenzhou has a history of 2,200 years and has formed a unique ‘Ou culture,’ underscoring it as one of the birthplaces of China’s market economy. On the sideline of the forum, business and investment promotion talks were done by 17 speakers, including Charlie Manalo, a columnist for the Manila Times, who talked about ‘better business cooperation through digitalization. Part of the activity would bring the delegates into a familiarization trip, exposing them on topics about connectivity and digital agriculture, thus, providing opportunities for the participants to better understand China’s experience in strengthening Belt and Road Initiative collaboration with ASEAN member states.

Source: Philippines News Agency