ASEAN and China reaffirmed their shared commitment to ensuring regional and global food security and called on the international community to strengthen food security after their latest round of talks at the ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

A joint statement issued after the ASEAN-China Summit on November 11 in Phnom Penh stated that both sides recognise that food security is a fundamental human right that is also key to national security and underpins the strategic guarantees for world peace and development.

The two sides referenced the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, China’s Global Development Initiative, Cooperation Initiative on Global Food Security and ASEAN’s Comprehensive Recovery Framework in their statement.

ASEAN and China have noted that climate change, Covid-19, geopolitical conflicts and disruptions in the supply chain have posed severe challenges to global governance of food security, and that the current low intensity food crisis is increasingly expected to be prolonged and to spread, increasing its severity.

The joint statement obtained by The Post on November 14 said: “We reaffirm that ASEAN and China are active participants and important contributors to regional and global food security and are willing to further strengthen policy communications, exchanges and cooperation.”

China and ASEAN both committed to ensuring food security for the more than two billion population in the region by stabilising regional food markets and setting an example for global food security governance.

“We call on the international community to fundamentally strengthen food security. We have agreed to take the following practical measures in accordance with the four pillars of food security, including food availability, access, utilization and stability,” the statement said.

ASEAN and China are committed to boosting food productivity through enhanced policy exchanges and mutual learning, scientific and technological innovation as well as technology demonstration to increase the productivity of rice, corn, soybeans and other major crops and to ensure food availability by expanding the effective supply of diverse foods.

The statement said they hope to deepen cooperation between national governments, local governments, regional organizations and UN agencies.

In the context of the acute international security situation, ASEAN and China play an active role in promoting and enhancing regional security, especially security related to energy, said Thong Meng David, a research fellow at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies.

“China and ASEAN are huge global markets with a population of more than two billion, which requires all-round cooperation to promote common interests and regional stability,” he said.