The newly elected leaders of China paid frequent visits to neighboring countries during the first year of their tenure. And the leaders of many neighboring countries also visited China in 2003. From the end of May to the early June, President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia and attended the Third Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization ("SCO"); in October, President Hu Jintao visited Thailand, Australia, New Zealand; from the end of August to the early September, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo paid a formal friendly visit to the Philippines and attended the Fourth Yearly Meeting of the Association of Asian Parliament for Peace; from the end of November to the early December, the Chairman of the Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference ("CPPCC") Jia Qinglin paid visits to the five South Asian countries of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
China endeavored to promote East Asian regional cooperation and made a breakthrough in perfecting the organizational set-up of ASEAN-China (10+1) and ASEAN-China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (10+3). The year of 2003 witnessed strengthening the political mutual trust and economic cooperation between China and ASEAN: in October, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council of China attended the ASEAN Summit held in Bali of Indonesia and signed the Joint Declaration of the State/Government of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations and the People's Republic of China on Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity with the leaders of East Asian countries; China formally acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and announced the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation among the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea and signed the Protocol to Amend the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Between the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations and the People's Republic of China and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Information and Communication Cooperation Between the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations and the People's Republic of China.
The year of 2003 saw the steady development of the friendship between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ("DPRK") under the guideline of "inheriting tradition, facing the future, promoting good-neighborly relations and strengthening cooperation." In October, Chinese delegates under the leadership of the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo visited the DPRK, which was the first summit between the new Chinese Central Committee leaders and the leaders of the DPRK. China played an important constructive role in the nuclear issue of the DPRK and helped to bring together the Three-Party Talks and Six-Party Talks held in Beijing. The year of 2003 also saw the new development of the comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and the Republic of Korea ("ROK"). In July, President Roh Moo Hyun paid a state visit to China. In September, Wu Bangguo paid a formal friendly visit to the ROK. In October, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao met ROK President Roh Moo Hyun the second time in one year in Bangkok of Thailand and Bali of Indonesia respectively.
China further strengthened the relations with South Asian nations. In March 2003, Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali paid a formal visit to China; in August, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe paid a work visit to China; in November, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf paid a state visit to China. China-Indian relations have entered a new stage. In May, President Hu Jintao met Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in St. Petersburg. In June, Prime Minister Vajpayee paid a formal visit to China, who was the first Indian prime minister that visited China since 1993, and signed a Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation Between India and China. In October, Premier Wen Jiabao met Vajpayee again during the ASEAN Meeting.
Strides were made in the traditional friendly relations between China and Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. General secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh, President of Laos and President of Lao People's Revolutionary Party ("LPRP") Khamtay Siphandone, Cambodian King Sihanouk were among those who visited China in 2003.