While China and its neighbors strengthened good-neighborly friendship throughout 2002, they also boosted their mutually beneficial economic cooperation. Experts say China's development brings more opportunities for neighboring countries.
Among China's neighbors, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Russia all made the list of China's top ten trading partners.
While China maintains rapid economic growth in 2002, its trade with these countries also soared.
Imports from these countries jumped much higher than exports to them, leaving China a new record trade deficit of US$30.59 billion.
Last year witnessed the launching of the China-Japan economic and trade partner consultation mechanism, the first Hyundai Sonata car rolled off the production line in a Beijing factory jointly funded by China and the ROK, and the start of the China-ASEAN free trade area creation process.
China, together with Russia, Kazakhstan and other Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members, signed important documents including the SCO Charter.
Economic and trade ministers of the six SCO member countries gathered in Shanghai to underscore cooperation in the fields of energy and transport.
Deputy Secretary-General Carlos Fortin of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva said China was increasingly providing impetus to other economies within the Asian region.
Chinese multinational giants and private companies had become important funding sources for its neighbors, he said.
China, which sees the first two decades of the 21st century as a period for important strategic opportunities, is focusing on building an overall well-off society.
The faster China grew, the more opportunities it brought neighboring countries, said Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng.
In the next five years, China's imports would be worth US$1,500 billion to 2,000 billion, which firstly would benefit its neighbors. Chinese enterprises would regard those countries as ideal investment venues, Shi said.
The primary goal of China's good-neighborly diplomacy is establishing long-term stable friendly relations with the neighboring countries.
China will continue to cement friendly ties with these countries, persist in building a good-neighborly relationship and partnership with them, and raise exchanges and cooperation with them to new levels.
China's foreign policy towards the neighboring countries showed its objectives of sharing peace, seeking common prosperity and creating an environment of peace and development with them, said Director Fu Ying of the Department of Asian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2003)