ASEAN-China young leaders scholarship 2020 launched
The ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship (ACYLS) 2020 aimed to enhance people-to-people exchanges between the two sides was launched on Tuesday.
The virtual opening ceremony was attended by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun, ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi and ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General Kung Phoak.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo said the ACYLS has become "one of the innovative flagship projects" of the China-ASEAN cooperation in less than two years.
"It has played an important role in consolidating the people-to-people pillar of our cooperation," he said.
"China and ASEAN countries are friendly neighbors and close partners. ASEAN is a high priority in China neighborhood diplomacy. We attach great importance to China-ASEAN cooperation," Luo added.
The ACYLS was first announced by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in November 2018 during an ASEAN-China summit in Singapore, which was later echoed by all the ASEAN leaders.
Last year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries attended the launching ceremony of the first batch of the scholarship program.
The ACYLS is funded by the Chinese government through the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF).
Luo expressed his hope that scholarship recipients would not only spend time on their campuses, but also take a closer look into China.
"I am sure that you will have a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of China and become a bridge for the China-ASEAN friendship," he said.
ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General for the Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak recalled being at Peking University in Beijing last year to mark the start of the program as well as to greet the first batch of grantees.
"It is very gratifying to know therefore that another batch is once again ready to embark on their studies very soon, even amid the exceptional circumstances our region is currently facing," Phoak said.
He commended the program for consistently providing opportunities for ASEAN nationals to undertake training and graduate study in China.
"This certainly reflects the resilience of ASEAN-China relations and signifies our shared determination in ensuring the continued development of our region, particularly as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to build a better future," he added.