The plan comes as the U.S. and China have upgraded their ties with ASEAN to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2022 and in 2021, respectively.

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn

"There has been a lot of discussions already (about the planned upgrade), and we expect it (during the special summit) in Tokyo in December," Kao told Kyodo news agency in an interview on March 6.

According to the ASEAN chief, under the upgraded partnership, ASEAN is looking for strong cooperation in areas such as technological innovation, people-to-people contact and cultural collaboration.

He also hoped Japan will provide more scholarships for citizens of ASEAN member countries.

Source: VNA