Nanning, China - Following the 14th Asean-China Summit held on November 18 last year in Bali, Indonesia where Asean leaders welcomed and supported the proposal by China to designate the year 2012 as The Asean-China Year of Cooperation in Science and Technology, the first Asean-China Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation was held yesterday in Nanning, China in conjunction with the 9'h China-Asean Expo.
The meeting was officiated by Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology of China and was attended by the Ministers of Science and Technology and senior officials from all the Asean member countries.
The meeting aims at strengthening cooperation in science and technology between China and Asean and promoting sustainable development in the region.
Brunei Darussalam's delegation was led by the Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Development cum Minister responsible for science and technology in Brunei Darussalam and other senior officials from the Ministry of Development.
Also present was Datin Paduka Magdalene Teo, Brunei Darussalam's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People's Republic of China as well as officials from the Embassy of Brunei Darussalam in China.
The meeting which was co-chaired by Wan Gang and Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi representing Asean Ministers for Science and Technology.
The ministerial meeting discussed several key pertinent issues regarding science and technology among others including China's initiatives under the China-Asean Science and Technology Partnership Programme (China-Asean-STEP Programme) and 'suggestion on improving the China-Asean Science and Technology Cooperation mechanism.
The meeting then proceeded with the launching of the China-Asean-STEP Programme.
Through the China-Asean-STEP Programme, China will establish a new type of Science and Technology partnership with Asean member states targeting at sharing experience, tapping cooperation potential, taking full advantage of Science and Technology's pivotal role in promoting socioeconomic development, and facilitating the sustainable development of Asean member states.
Under the framework of China-AseanSTEP, the Government of the People's Republic of China will conduct a series of cooperation projects with Asean member states covering areas such as Science and Technology policy and management study, technical services, human resources development, joint research and development, technological demonstration and donations.
Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi in his speech during the opening ceremony for the first Asean-China Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology and the launching ceremony of the ChinaAsean-STEP Programme expressed his appreciation and lauded China's continuous effort and support in strengthening regional cooperation with Asean countries.
The minister also recalled that the inaugural meeting of the Joint Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation was held in Brunei Darussalam in May 1995, and is honoured to co-chair the first Asean China Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology in Nanning.
He further hoped that the Asean-China Memorandum of Understanding could be finalised before the end of this year, in time with of the Informal Asean Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology scheduled to be held in Brunei Darussalam.
The minister also highlighted the critical role of regional integration and deepening cooperation in the field of science and technology as the main drivers for economic growth and dealing with transnational issues such as climate change, energy and food security, environment and health.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin