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Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin Talks about Asian Situation and China's Diplomatic Work with Neighboring Countries
(2012/01/09)

Standing Together to Cope with Challenges
--Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin Talks about Asian Situation and China's Diplomatic Work with Neighboring Countries

On January 8, 2012, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin received the exclusive interview of Xinhua News Agency, introduced Asian situation and China's diplomatic work with neighboring countries in 2011 and described the direction of Chinese diplomacy with Asian countries in 2012.

Q: regional situation in Asia experienced profound changes over the past year. What do you think of the current Asian situation?

A: the world today is in the era of major changes, major readjustments and major development. The economic and political situation in Asia is also undergoing profound changes. In general, stability and development are the ultimate aspiration of countries in the region and cooperation is the mainstream of their foreign policy.

Asia is playing an increasingly important role in the international landscape and has become the most dynamic region with the strongest development potential in the world. First, as the international financial crisis and European debt crisis continue spreading and the world economic and financial situation remains volatile, Asia maintains relatively fast growth. Its economic growth rate is expected to reach 7-7.5% in 2011, making it an important engine of world economic development. Second, Asia as a whole remains stable. Although the region is faced with problems, related parties have managed to properly handle and control their differences through friendly consultations and the overall stability in the region remains intact. Third, all Asian countries emphasize mutually beneficial cooperation and desire for common development through cooperation.

On the other hand, Asia is also confronted with many uncertain and unstable factors. Regional hot-spot and tough issues are still prominent, economic risk factors are lingering and non-traditional security challenges, such as natural disasters and environmental degradation are on the rise. We firmly believe that Asia will seize opportunities to make greater contributions to world peace and development so long as we carry forward the Asian spirit of coexistence in harmony, good-neighborly friendship, consultations and dialogue, respect for civilization diversity, solidarity and cooperation and stick to the development roads suitable for our own national conditions.

Q: currently the world opinion pays close attention to China's relations with its neighboring countries. What do you think of the development of China's relations with neighboring countries?

A: in 2011, China's relations with Asian neighboring countries in general maintained the sound momentum of stable development. Good-neighborly friendship, political mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation were further deepened. China and its Asian neighbors overcame the negative impact of the international financial crisis, properly handled regional hot-spot issues, actively pushed forward regional cooperation and expanded exchanges and cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, infrastructure, finance, science and technology, culture and education to unprecedented width and depth.

We maintained frequent high-level contacts with other Asian countries. In 2011, we exchanged high-level visits with almost all the Asian countries and Chinese leaders attended a number of important regional multilateral conferences. Chinese President Hu Jintao attended Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2011. Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo visited Maldives. Premier of State Council Wen Jiabao attended the China-Japan-ROK Tripartite Summit in Japan, visited Indonesia and Malaysia, participated in the meetings of East Asian leaders in Indonesia and visited Brunei. Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin visited Myanmar. Vice President Xi Jinping visited Vietnam and Thailand. Vice Premier Li Keqiang visited the DPRK and the ROK. Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Zhou Yongkang visited Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia. State Councilor Meng Jianzhu visited Mongolia and Pakistan. State Councilor Dai Bingguo visited Pakistan as the envoy of President Hu Jintao. There were altogether nearly 90 exchange activities above the foreign minister level. Through those activities, we strengthened communications and enhanced understanding and mutual trust with relevant countries and put forward major measures to promote the bilateral pragmatic cooperation, which have effectively boosted the growth of bilateral relations.

China upholds that countries, no matter small or big, are all equals, Asian countries should be respected and supported to choose their own development roads and disputes and differences should be solved through dialogue and consultations. We have reinforced good-neighborly friendship with Asian neighboring countries. We have raised our relations with Myanmar and Mongolia to the level of "China-Myanmar all-round strategic partnership of cooperation" and "China-Mongolia strategic partnership" respectively. 2011 marked the 20th anniversary of China's dialogue relationship with ASEAN and the two sides jointly held celebrations throughout the year. Premier Wen attended the 8th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning and put forward a series of initiatives and measures on deepening the bilateral economic and trade cooperation, connectivity, social and cultural cooperation at the commemorative summit on the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relationship in Bali, Indonesia. The two sides issued the Joint Statement to plan the future development of bilateral relations. Dai Bingguo participated in the fourth Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)-Economic Cooperation Program in Myanmar, which further deepened China's mutually beneficial and pragmatic cooperation with GMS countries. The year 2011 also marks the 20th, 50th and 60th anniversary of China's diplomatic relations with Brunei, Laos and Pakistan respectively and the "Year of China-India Exchanges". Various celebrations were held between relevant parties, which helped increase political mutual trust and friendship between the people.

In general, China's relations with Asian countries have withstood the tests of fluctuating international situation and continue moving forward. Asian countries at large take the development of relations with China as one of their most important foreign relations. Good-neighborly friendship remains the mainstream of Asian countries' policy with China and it is the major trend to step up cooperation with China.

Q: in 2011, the economic recovery of developed countries was weak, the European debt crisis sprawled and unstable and uncertain factors of the world economic situation rose significantly. Against such a background, what role has China played to boost the economic growth and mutually beneficial cooperation among Asian countries?

A: at present, the international financial crisis is still exerting in-depth impact and the prospect of global economic and financial situation is not optimistic. In the age of deep economic globalization, no single region or country can seek development alone. We must strengthen cooperation and seek development together. China believes in solidarity and cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. We will work with other Asian countries to face up to challenges and strive for common development.

China maintains a sound momentum of trade with Asian countries. From January to November 2011, China's total trade volume with Asian countries reached US$965.2 billion, up 21% over the same period of previous year, its import from Asian countries increased 18.7% on a year-on-year basis to US$530.1 billion and export grew 23.9% to US$435.1 billion. Its trade deficit with Asian countries was about US$95 billion. China maintained its position as the biggest export market of Asian countries and remained the largest trade partner of the DPRK, Mongolia, Japan, the ROK, Vietnam, Malaysia and India. China's trade structure with Asian countries has been optimized and completed the switch from primary products to manufactured goods. In particular, the percentage of trade in new and high-tech products is rising year by year.

China's investment in Asian countries has grown rapidly. As of November 2011, China's non-financial direct investment in Asian countries totaled US$18.03 billion. Asia became the most concentrated area of "going abroad" Chinese enterprises. China is the No.1 source of foreign investment in Myanmar, Cambodia, the DPRK and Mongolia. It will also build a Free Trade Area (FTA) in each of the ASEAN member countries and lift up economic and trade cooperation through cluster investment.

China's FTA with Asian countries moves forward steadily. China-ASEAN FTA operates soundly since it was comprehensively launched in 2010. The mobility of capital, resources, technologies and human resources between the two sides was improved significantly and the bilateral economic and trade exchanges grew more active. From January to November 2011, trade volume between China and ASEAN reached US$328.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 25.1%, making ASEAN China's third largest trade partner. The government-industry-academia joint research under China-Japan-ROK FTA was completed as scheduled. China and Japan put forward the joint initiative to speed up development of East Asia FTA and East Asia all-round economic partnership. China also actively pushed forward the FTA negotiations with the ROK and India.

China has deepened fiscal and financial cooperation with Asian countries. In 2011, China signed the bilateral currency swap agreement with Thailand, Pakistan and Mongolia worth RMB70, 10, and 5 billion respectively and expanded the currency swap with the ROK to RMB360 billion. The total amount of bilateral currency swap agreements China signed with Asian countries reached RMB775 billion. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China UnionPay set up branches in Laos, Singapore, Pakistan and India for business expansion.

China cooperated with Asian countries closely in the sectors of new and high-tech, new energy, environmental protection and energy saving. China-Japan Caofeidian Ecological Industrial Park and Lianyungang Ecological Science and Technology Industrial Park were kicked off and China-Singapore Eco City program went on well. A number of cooperation agreements were reached at the sixth China-Japan Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection Forum and the first China-Japan Green Expo. China, Japan and the ROK strengthened cooperation on renewable energy and energy efficiency. China officially launched the construction of "two economic zones" with the DPRK and advanced the cooperation programs of Knowledge City, food zone and economic and trade zone with Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.

China stepped up assistance to Asian countries. In March 2011, Japan suffered the triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear leakage. China provided Japan with RMB30 million of emergency assistance materials and 20,000 tons of fuel oil. When Thailand and Cambodia suffered the most serious flood, the Chinese government offered timely aid of materials and remittance and dispatched expert team to Thailand for disaster relief consultation. When disasters took place in the DPRK, the ROK, the Philippines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Chinese government and Red Cross also provided timely humanitarian assistance. China continued providing the less developed countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Laos, Bangladesh and Afghanistan with aid or technical training to help them improve self-development capacity.

In addition, China is committed to promoting the connectivity with Asian countries in the fields of road, railway, telecom and port. On the basis of promising US$15 billion of credit in 2009, China added another US$10 billion of credit to support ASEAN's infrastructure connectivity and bring benefit to all ASEAN member countries.

Q: Japan and India are important neighbors of China. Japanese Prime Minister visited China lately and China and India are preparing another round of meeting of their special representatives of border issue. What does the Chinese side think of relations with Japan and India?

A: 2011 witnessed the improvement and stable development of China-Japan relations. After the March 11 massive earthquake broke out in Japan, the Chinese government, leaders and people extended condolence and support to the Japanese people through various ways. President Hu personally went to the Japanese embassy in China to express grief over the victims, which is unprecedented in the history of China-Japan relations. When Premier Wen attended the fourth China-Japan-ROK Tripartite Summit in Japan, he especially went to Miyagi and Fukushima to visit the disaster-hit people and reached a series of important consensus with Japanese leaders on strengthening post-disaster reconstruction cooperation. Those measures fully demonstrated the goodwill of the Chinese government and people.

After the new Japanese cabinet was formed, President Hu and Premier Wen held meeting and talks with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during the G20 Summit in Cannes, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Hawaii and the East Asian leaders' meetings in Bali, setting a good start for the bilateral relations. Not long ago, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited China successfully. Both China and Japan attached great importance to the visit. President Hu and Chairman Wu Bangguo met with him respectively and Premier Wen held talks with him. The two sides reached wide consensus in the political, economic and cultural sectors. The visit achieved full success and boosted the progress of bilateral strategic and reciprocal relations.

China-Japan exchanges and cooperation have achieved major progress in various fields. The bilateral trade volume exceeded US$300 billion last year, hitting another historic high and making China Japan's largest trade partner for the third consecutive year. People of the two countries overcame the difficulties caused by the triple disasters and people-to-people contacts maintained the high level of over 5 million person times. More than 247 pairs of cities between the two countries established sister city relations.

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations and the "Year of Friendly Exchanges between the Chinese and Japanese People". China expects to take this opportunity and join hands with Japan to enhance political mutual trust, appropriately handle differences and problems, step up dialogue, exchanges and cooperation in various fields and at all levels and promote the healthy and stable progress of bilateral strategic and reciprocal relations according to the principles of the four political documents and the important consensus reached between leaders of both countries.

China-India strategic partnership of cooperation has maintained the momentum of healthy and stable development in recent years. The two sides keep frequent high-level contacts. The bilateral exchanges and cooperation are strengthened. China and India enjoy smooth communications and coordination on major regional and international issues. The China-India relationship featured by sustained, stable and healthy development not only benefits the two peoples but also contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large.

2011 was the "Year of China-India Exchanges". The two countries held colorful exchange activities which enhanced mutual understanding and deepened friendly cooperation. President Hu and Premier Wen held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Singh on international occasions. During the first 11 months, China-India trade volume exceeded that of the whole year 2010 and grew by 21.8% to US$67.28 billion. China and India held the first strategic economic dialogue, fiscal and financial dialogue and defense and security consultations and 500 young Indian delegates visited China. Those major exchange activities and pragmatic cooperation effectively strengthened the bilateral relations.

In 2012, China expects to make joint efforts with India to continue to implement the consensus reached between leaders of both countries, maintain high-level exchanges, step up strategic mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, properly handle problems of the bilateral relations, support and learn from each other and promote the development of China-India strategic partnership of cooperation.

Q: some regional hot-spot issues, like the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issues became fairly prominent recently. What has China done to maintain regional peace and stability as a major country in the region?

A: as a responsible power, China advocates the new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and collaboration, takes an active part in seeking solution of regional hot-spot issues and is committed to working with Asian countries to build a region with peace and stability, equality and mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

At present, the situation in South China Sea is peaceful and stable in general. With regard to some reefs sovereignty and maritime demarcation disputes in South China Sea, China always upholds that directly involved parties seek peaceful solutions through negotiations. It is also the consensus reached among relevant countries. Parties can put aside the disputes before solutions are found and make joint development. External forces shall not intervene in the South China Sea disputes with any excuse.

In 2011, China and ASEAN member countries reached agreement on the guiding principles of implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, launched pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Declaration and established the China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund. China and Vietnam signed the agreement on the basic principles guiding the resolution of China-Vietnam maritime issues. China also formed the maritime cooperation committee and maritime cooperation fund with Indonesia. It fully proves that China and ASEAN member countries have the determination, wisdom and capability to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

South China Sea is an important international transport channel. Navigation in South China Sea is free and sea-route there is safe. They have never been impacted by the dispute. China attaches great importance to navigation freedom and safety in South China Sea. It actively participates in and is committed to South China Sea navigation security. China and ASEAN member countries have held the seminar on South China Sea navigation freedom and safety and parties have reached extensive consensus over the issue.

China always pays close attention to the situation on the Korean Peninsula and consistently upholds that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue be solved through dialogue and consultations and in peaceful ways. In 2011, related parties increased interactions on the resumption of six-party talks and made efforts to ease the situation on the Peninsula. China always believes the six-party talks are an efficient mechanism of realizing denuclearization on the Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as well as an important platform for related parties to improve relations. To retain the six-party talks complies with the interest of all parties concerned. I hope parties concerned build confidence and continue to keep dialogue and stay in touch. Holding presidency of the six-party talks, China will continue to promote peace talks and work with all the related parties to play a constructive role of advancing the six-part talks process and build lasting peace and tranquility on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

Q: the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Il passed away not long ago and the situation of Northeast Asia has drawn wide attention. What role will China play under the current circumstances? What's the expectation of China for the development of relations with the DPRK?

A: it is in alignment with the interest of all parties and the common expectation of the international community that the DPRK maintains stable development, the Korean Peninsula remains peaceful and stable and Northeast Asia realizes lasting peace and tranquility.

China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. The DPRK is an important party to the issues of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia. After Chairman Kim Jong Il passed away, the Chinese side expressed grief and condolence through many ways. We believe that the DPRK people will turn sorrow into force and continue to push forward the DPRK's socialist undertaking under the leadership of the Workers' Party of Korea and Comrade Kim Jong-un.

We have actively communicated with all the related parties including the DPRK and clearly elaborated China's position and concerns of supporting the DPRK's stable development and firmly maintaining peace and stability of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Our communication with related parties is efficient and we have reached wide consensus on maintaining regional peace and stability.

It is the consistent principle of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government to consolidate and develop friendly and cooperative relations with the DPRK. We will carry forward the spirit of "tradition inheritance, future orientation, good-neighborly friendship and strengthening cooperation" to pass on and develop China-DPRK relations. We will, as always, provide support and help within our capacity for our friendly neighbor-the DPRK.

Q: the Sixth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee put forward the target of building socialist cultural power with Chinese characteristics. What has China done to promote social and cultural exchanges with Asian countries? What achievements have been made?

A: China and Asian countries are close to each other geologically and interlinked culturally and enjoy unique advantages and huge potential of conducting social and cultural exchanges. The Sixth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee made the strategic decision of raising the level of cultural opening up and promoting the Chinese culture to the world and pointed out the direction for China to step up social and cultural cooperation with its neighboring countries. The year 2011 witnessed the in-depth development of China's cultural exchanges with Asian countries and the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and people of other Asian countries.

We held a number of celebrations with related countries on the 20th anniversary of China-Brunei diplomatic relations, the 50th anniversary of China-Laos diplomatic relations, the 60th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic relations, China-Pakistan Friendship Year and the Year of China-India Exchanges, which effectively reinforced the friendship between the people. In order to commemorate the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue partnership, the two sides held more than 40 celebration activities, including the exchange of congratulation messages between the leaders, exchange of visits of the media, cultural exchanges and exchanges of youth, arousing warm responses from ASEAN member countries and making the China-ASEAN friendship from generation to generation deeply rooted in the heart of the people. We organized the China-Japan film week and animation festival, sent Buddhist tooth to Myanmar for local people to worship, held Asian cultural cooperation forum and Asian cultural festival and received a large number of Japanese and Indian youth, which have all consolidated the friendship between the Chinese people and people all over Asia.

Personnel contacts between China and Asia are also on the rise. From January to September 2011, the personnel contacts between China and ASEAN member countries reached 10.09 million person times. 10.46 million people from 13 Asian countries among which are Mongolia, the ROK, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia visited China, making up over 50% of the inbound foreigners in China. China and ASEAN are committed to increasing tourism cooperation and will work hard to realize the objective of 15 million person-times of personnel contacts between the two sides by 2015.

China has signed cultural agreement or cooperation memorandum with most Asian countries. More than one third of China's external cultural exchange programs are implemented with Asian countries. China has signed educational cooperation agreement or MOU with nearly all Asian countries. Bilateral and multilateral education exchanges and cooperation with the region are well underway. Education and training are expanding rapidly. 40% of the scholarships of Chinese government are granted to Asian countries and the quota is still rising. China has established 83 Confucius Institutes and 40 Confucius Classrooms in more than 30 Asian countries, dispatched over 1,400 Chinese teachers and nearly 10,000 volunteers and trained tens of thousands of Chinese teachers for Asian countries.

The landing of mainstream Chinese media, like Xinhua News Agency, CCTV and CRI in Asian countries are going on and the number of overseas stations of correspondents, studios and staffs are increasing. CCTV channels have landed in 27 Asian countries, with around 35.9 million of subscribers of the English channel and 98 million subscribers of the Chinese channel. CRI has landed in 11 Asian countries. Border provinces such as Guangxi, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia use their geological and cultural advantages to conduct media cooperation with the neighboring countries and launched Tibetan, Kazak, Uygur and Mongolian language broadcasting in some neighboring countries. Cultural programs such as Chinese Language Bridge, Feeling China and Happy Chinese New Year are widely welcomed. China's power of cultural communication in Asia keeps rising.

Q: The joining of the US and Russia in East Asia Summit this year marks a new stage of East Asia regional cooperation. How does China view and what does it think of the current East Asia regional cooperation process? What role has China played to promote East Asia regional cooperation?

A: China actively participates in and spares no efforts to promote East Asia cooperation and has made important contributions to the development of regional cooperation. China took the lead among big countries in joining the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and building the China-ASEAN FTA covering a total population of 1.9 billion. China vigorously pushes for the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization, ASEAN and China, Japan and the ROK rice emergency reserve and the East Asia FTA and has achieved fruitful cooperation results in the fields of finance, economy, trade and food security with relevant parties. China also pushed East Asia Summit to discuss the major strategic topics concerning East Asia's peace and development and provided strategic guidance.

East Asia cooperation is developing soundly, various cooperation mechanisms move forward in parallel, pragmatic cooperation has made new progress and tangible benefits have been brought to East Asian people. In November 2011, East Asian leaders' meetings were held in Bali, Indonesia successfully. The meetings upheld the theme of solidarity, development and cooperation, the 10+1 and 10+3 cooperative mechanisms and insisted on seeking solution of problems between countries through peaceful ways and consultations. China is full of confidence in the future of East Asia cooperation.

Currently, the in-depth impact of international financial crisis is still spreading and the economic downside risks of countries in the region are on the rise. The historical issues of East Asian countries are not solved yet and non-traditional security threats are increasing. East Asian countries are highly diversified and the regional cooperation architecture is going through complicated changes. Under such circumstances, China believes that East Asia cooperation should maintain openness and inclusiveness and at the same time adhere to the established direction of various mechanisms, insist on the effective principles and models and stick to the leading role of ASEAN. East Asian countries should be fully motivated in the process. The East Asian cooperation architecture with 10+1 as the basis, 10+3 as the main framework and the East Asia Summit as the key supplement should be carried forward. The theme of development, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win outcome should remain unchanged. Relevant cooperation should be pushed forward step by step for in the direction of building regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Q: Asia-Pacific security cooperation this year has drawn close attention. As an important member of ASEAN Regional Forum and other regional security cooperation mechanisms, what kind of regional security cooperation architecture does China think should be built in the region? What role will China play in this architecture?

A: the regional security architecture is constantly developing and evolving and reflects the real needs of regional security. After years of explorations and efforts, Asia-Pacific has formed the multi-level and compound security cooperation architecture. The six-party talks, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defense Ministers Plus Forum are all progressing side by side. In the short run, it is difficult to form a pan-Asia-Pacific security cooperation mechanism overriding all the other mechanisms in the region. Existing mechanisms should continue to play their advantages, complement and promote each other and play a constructive part.

The regional security architecture should be based on the new security concept of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and collaboration. Asia-Pacific is a highly diversified and complicated region. To conduct security cooperation in the region, the first issue to be addressed is the lack of trust between related countries. States should respect each other, make equal consultations, understand and accommodate each other, take care of each other's interest and concerns and seek mutually beneficial cooperation and development together. Countries should seek harmonious coexistence while maintaining diversity, seek common ground while putting aside differences, expand consensus step by step, eliminate differences, push forward cooperation and safeguard regional peace, stability and development jointly.

The regional security architecture should be open, transparent, inclusive and representative. Non-traditional security issues, such as terrorism, climate change, food security, energy security and maritime security are becoming serious in Asia-Pacific and hot-spot issues like the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue keep popping up. Security issues become more abrupt, conductive and correlated. The closed and exclusive security cooperation arrangements will be more and more unable to cope with such global and compound challenges. Under new circumstances, Asia-Pacific countries must abandon the cold-war mentality, conduct equal dialogue, consultations and cooperation to truly solve the problems and differences. Seeking peace through cooperation, ensuring security through cooperation, solving conflicts through cooperation and promoting harmony through cooperation should the basic principle countries follow when addressing security issues.

Over years, China has been committed to maintaining peace and stability, conducting mutually beneficial cooperation and building common prosperity in Asia-Pacific. China raised the initiatives of building the six-party talks and the SCO and played a critical role for peace, stability and development of the region. China is a key member of and actively promotes the ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defense Ministers Plus Forum, Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific and the Shangri-La Dialogue, raised a series of cooperation initiatives, hosted multiple cooperation programs and received wide recognition. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the future to raise mutual trust, step up cooperation, maintain regional peace and stability and build an open, transparent and equal Asia-Pacific security architecture.

Q: China's diplomacy with neighboring countries achieved major progress in 2011. Could you please describe China's diplomatic work with Asian countries in 2012?

A: the situation in the region will continue to evolve profoundly in 2012. China's diplomatic work with Asian countries will be more onerous. We will adhere to the principle of being a good neighbor and a good partner of neighboring countries, increase political mutual trust, expand common interest, strengthen exchanges and cooperation and handle differences and problems properly with Asian countries and work with them to forge a regional environment with peace and stability, equality and mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

We will further deepen good-neighborly friendship with Asian countries. The nuclear security summit in the ROK, the BRICS summit in India, the Asia Europe Meeting in Laos and the East Asian leaders' meetings in Cambodia are all important places for the Chinese leaders to meet leaders of Asian countries. We will make full use of the exchanges of high-level visit, strategic dialogue, consultations and other mechanisms with relevant countries to enhance strategic communications and mutual understanding. We will continue to play a constructive role in solving regional hot-spot issues, appropriately address and settle differences and problems with neighboring countries through dialogue and consultations and maintain regional peace and stability jointly.

We will deepen the convergence of interest with Asian countries. We will continue to implement the mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening up, accelerate the connectivity of infrastructure, boost regional fiscal and financial cooperation, encourage competitive Chinese enterprises to invest in neighboring countries, advance the FTA with related countries and overseas economic cooperation zones and raise the level of economic and trade cooperation with surrounding countries.

We will further strengthen cultural exchanges with Asian countries. In 2012, we will prepare carefully for the celebrations on the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations, the 40th anniversary of China-Maldives diplomatic relations, the 20th anniversary of China-ROK diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of China-East Timor diplomatic ties, actively carry out public diplomacy and enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the people. We will continue to build Chinese Cultural Center and Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in Asian countries and broaden cultural exchanges with them.

China's diplomatic work with neighboring countries enjoys bright prospects in 2012. We will brave difficulties, keep forging ahead, make innovations, explore fearlessly and fully devote ourselves to the diplomatic work with neighboring countries so as to build a sound environment for domestic economic and social development and make active contributions to promoting peace and prosperity in Asia and the whole world.

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