Good Neighborly Network
China's leaders make an unprecedented outreach to neighbors
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UPDATED: November 4, 2013 NO. 45 NOVEMBER 7, 2013
A Cornerstone of Diplomacy

The past October saw perhaps China's busiest "shuttle diplomacy" schedule ever since the People's Republic was founded 63 years ago. Early in the month, President Xi Jinping visited Indonesia and Malaysia, and attended the APEC Economic Leaders' meeting in Bali. Then, in mid-October, Premier Li Keqiang traveled to Brunei, Thailand and Viet Nam, and took part in the summit meetings with leaders from ASEAN member economies and East Asia states. During the latter half of the month, Beijing simultaneously played host to three premiers from neighboring countries—Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, Manmohan Singh of India and Norov Altanhuyag of Mongolia.

In fact, ever since China's new top leaders assumed office in March, the nation has launched a fresh round of active top-level diplomatic initiatives in its neighborhood, which have borne fruitful results, ranging from trade and economic cooperation to border security and cultural exchange.

Some observers say such diplomatic moves are meant to build up mutual trust and forge closer partnerships between China and neighboring countries. For one thing, as China is faced with tensions over territorial rows with some neighbors, as well as the so-called "pivot to Asia" targeted against it, the country wishes to create a more favorable environment for pursuing domestic economic and social development. Besides, China also hopes to enhance regional cooperation to create mutually beneficial prospects for all and remove doubts or apprehension of some neighbors over her peaceful rise and growing clout.

It is true that China has prioritized improving good neighborly ties to cope with the increasingly complicated regional and global situation. But apart from such considerations, China has always taken developing friendly and cooperative relations with neighboring countries as the cornerstone of its diplomacy. It has done so because the nation's leaders realized that good-neighborly policies are conducive to establishing a more amicable and secure region where China and its neighbors can develop together.

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