China to attach importance to neighbors

Published On: October 17, 2017 07:09 AM NPT By: Sangeet Sangroula  | @SangeetJourno

BEIJING, Oct 17: China has said that it will increase high-level political exchanges with its neighboring countries following the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and enhance mutual trust for strengthening bilateral relations. 

Yao Wen, counsellor of the Asian Affairs Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the party will be even more united and strong after the 19th National Congress; and that China will attach special importance to its neighbors and enhance high-level political exchanges to seek mutual trust for deepening cooperation. The five-yearly political event of CPC will kick off from Wednesday. 

“We will enhance political exchanges and mutual trust with all our neighboring countries. We will enhance high-level exchanges to seek more common ground and guidance from our leaders for the future development of our bilateral relations,” he said to a group of Asian journalists at the ministry on Monday while briefing about China’s neighborhood policy in the next five years after the 19th national congress, the biggest political event which will endorse second term of Chinese President Xi Jinping as the party general secretary and also endorse China’s development goals for the next five years. 

He said that President Xi will make his first state visit to Vietnam after being elected as general secretary of the CPC for the second time. Similarly, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is also going an official visit to the Philippines. 

“The first visits of the Chinese leaders to the neighboring Asian countries right after the national congress means we have attached much importance to Asian countries,” counselor Yao said, adding, China will pursue common development in Asia as majority of the Belt and Road countries are from Asia. 

Asked whether President Xi will pay a visit to Nepal anytime soon, Yao said China and Nepal still need to do a lot before that happens.

“China and Nepal are good friends. We had various high-level exchanges this year. Our Vice Premier Wang Yang recently visited Nepal. Similarly, high-level visits have been from Nepal. A lot of work needs to be done if there is to be any kind of visit from China. I wish Xi visits Nepal,” he added. Chinese President Xi was expected to visit in October last year but the visit was cancelled citing lack of necessary preparations on the part of the government of Nepal.  

In October 2013, Chinese President Xi had proposed a new neighborhood diplomacy philosophy aiming to strengthening relations with all its neighbors and enhancing cooperation for common development. Since then, China has prioritized political exchanges with its neighbors and the political exchanges between China and Nepal have also increased lately. 

Apart from the high-level exchanges, China will aggressively pursue cooperation on projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with Asian countries in the next five years, according to the MFA official. 

He said China will proactively deepen cooperation mainly on energy, connectivity, industrial parks and people-to-people exchanges with the countries signing the BRI agreement.  

 According to Chinese state media, Chinese outbound investment is forecast to total $600 billion to $800 billion over the next five years, a fairly large proportion of which will go into markets related to the BRI. 

Over 1,700 journalists from all over the world have already descended on Beijing to cover China’s biggest political event. The 19th National Congress will open at 9 am Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People.The opening ceremony will be broadcast live on China Central Television. A total of 2,287 delegates have been selected from across China to attend the congress. 

The congress will unveil new leadership as well as endorse a plan for national development for the next five years and beyond. The CPC has plans to make China moderately prosperous society by 2021 and completely developed by 2049 as part of the ‘Chinese Dream’ proposed by Xi.

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