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[Hu Zhengyue] China strengthening ties with Asian nations

Last year saw good momentum in China’s strengthening ties with other Asian countries, as indicated by the frequent high-level exchanges and the expansion of two-way economic and trade links.

The high-level exchanges greatly boosted bilateral political trust, while China remained the largest export market for Asian countries ― its imports from the rest of the region totaling $446.5 billion, up 41.1 percent year-on-year.

The free trade area between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, established on Jan. 1, 2010, is the largest among developing countries, and has significantly accelerated flows of capital, materials, technology and human resources. China, Japan and the Republic of Korea will complete a joint study on a proposed FTA by 2012.

While boosting economic and financial cooperation with other Asian countries, China has also offered disaster relief assistance to Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia. It also provided preferential loans to less developed nations including Bangladesh and Laos.

Peace, stability, cooperation and development remain the mainstream values of Asia, and friendship, mutual trust and respect are still the fundamental characteristics of relations among Asian nations. China is convinced that by following development paths suited to their conditions and increasing regional cooperation, Asian nations will be better able to control their own destinies and achieve greater progress.

China and ASEAN foreign ministers will meet in Kunming, southwestern China’s Yunnan province on Jan. 24-25 to detail celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue and initiate the Year of China-ASEAN Exchange and Friendship, for which more than 30 events have been planned.

China is ASEAN’s biggest trading partner, while ASEAN is China’s fourth. Two-way trade between them amounted to over $292.78 billion in 2010.

China has also made further progress in developing relations with South Asian nations. During Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to India last month, the two sides agreed to establish a mechanism for regular exchanges and to open a telephone hotline between the Chinese premier and the Indian prime minister. During Wen’s subsequent visit to Pakistan, the two nations decided to set up an annual meeting mechanism between leaders and a foreign ministers’ dialogue mechanism.

Wen’s visits to the two South Asian nations promoted China’s strategic partnerships of cooperation with the two neighbors.

China and South Asian nations have new opportunities to develop their relations. It is China’s hope to develop friendly and cooperative ties with all South Asian nations, based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence and through the joint promotion of peace, stability and development in the region.

As a responsible nation in East Asia, China remains committed to playing a constructive role on the Korean Peninsula issue. China will continue to work with all parties concerned and with the international community to ensure peace, stability and prosperity on the peninsula and it urges the early resumption of the six-party talks. China encourages all sides to seize the opportunities, actively engage with each other and restart the process of multilateral dialogue as soon as possible.

China has paid close attention to the developments involving the Korean Peninsula and welcomes the signs of positive developments.

China and Japan also saw positive cooperation in 2010 despite the ups and downs. Bilateral trade volume in 2010 reached a record $297.77 billion, up 30.2 percent year-on-year. China has been Japan’s largest market for two consecutive years. The two governments organized 4,000 youth exchanges in 2010 and launched the project of sending 700 Chinese media people and social scientists to Japan. A framework agreement to boost cooperation in food security was also signed by the two countries.

China and Japan have more common interests than differences. The two sides share more opportunities than challenges. Both sides should promote the healthy and steady development of the strategic and mutually beneficial relationship in line with the four political documents and consensus agreed upon by leaders of both countries.

This year marks the beginning of the 12th five-year plan. China will continue to work together with other Asian nations to maintain regional peace and stability and promote common development to create a good surrounding environment for the national economic and social development over the next five years. 

By Hu Zhengyue

Hu Zhengyue is assistant foreign minister and the article is based on his interview with the Xinhua News Agency. ― Ed.

(China Daily)

(Asia News Network)
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