On 8 February 2021, the SCO Secretariat was the venue for a meeting between SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, Pehin Rahmani Basir and Djauhari Oratmangun, Ambassadors of Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia to the People's Republic of China, and Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre.
During their conversation, Mr Norov noted that, in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the SCO, there were plans to organise a number of events in the sphere of political, economic and cultural-humanitarian cooperation. It is also intended to invigorate high-level collaboration with other international and regional organisations on mutually acceptable venues.
The SCO Secretary-General said that, in 2021, the Organisation's member states would mostly be focusing on efforts to draft and approve high-priority measures aiming to overcome the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and to rebuild national economies as expediently as possible.
Notably, cooperation in the field of digitalisation, communications, e-commerce, transport and tourism will expand. At the same time, the parties will continue to closely work together on security, including the fight against illegal drug trafficking.
In turn, Pehin Rahmani Basir, Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to China, noted the priorities of his country's presidency of ASEAN in 2021, including measures to facilitate a sustainable post-pandemic recovery, to conduct post-calamity disaster relief, to deal with climate change, to restore the tourism industry, to expand e-commerce and also to strengthen energy security.
In this context, the SCO Secretary-General noted the importance of diverse cooperation between both organisations and the need to study opportunities for holding joint events to expand mutual expert dialogue.
Mr Norov also noted that, under the 2005 SCO-ASEAN memorandum of understanding, the SCO was now drafting a list of possible mutual events for 2021-2022. The first similar plan was successfully implemented in 2019-2020 and spurred mutual cooperation.Djauhari Oratmangun, Ambassador of Indonesia to China, reaffirmed ASEAN's readiness to work together with the SCO in some mutually beneficial spheres.
Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre, noted the considerable potential for expanding business contacts between the SCO and ASEAN countries; these contacts can eventually generate tremendous synergy in other areas. He voiced all-out readiness to facilitate this
process within the framework of the ASEAN-China Centre.
In conclusion, Mr Norov congratulated the guests on the upcoming Chinese New Year and thanked them for their readiness to cooperate with the SCO Secretariat.
A memorandum of understanding between the SCO and ASEAN secretariats, signed in 2005, stipulates cooperation to combat trans-border crime, including terrorism, illegal drug trafficking, arms contraband, money laundering operations, as well as economic cooperation, such as tourism, environmental protection, management of natural resources and social development.
The ASEAN-China Centre is an inter-governmental organisation, established by ASEAN member states and China in 2011 on the sidelines of the 14th ASEAN-China Summit.
It functions as a joint information and coordinating centre to further facilitate friendly exchanges and cooperation between ASEAN and China in the field of trade, investment, education, culture, tourism, information and media outlets.