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Good Neighbors
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President Hu Jintao returned to Beijing Sunday after visiting four neighboring countries - Vietnam, Laos, India and Pakistan paving the way for improved cooperation in the region.
The fast pace of economic and social development in China and its four neighbors demonstrate to the world the bright future of a revitalized Asia.

President Hu told state leaders he expected their nations to develop in the same dynamic way China has, and reassured his neighbors that China did not pursue national growth at the expense of others.

China enjoys good neighborly relations and the visits, especially his first state visits to India and Pakistan, are a continuation of these close ties.

The four joint declarations signed between China and its neighbors show a stable and mature political dimension to China's relations with them. It has also made possible deeper business ties, a topic that topped President Hu's agenda.

In Hanoi, China and Vietnam reached consensus on finding new areas for trade cooperation. The decision to settle the land border issue will consolidate bilateral relations.

In New Delhi, China and India have been trying to liberate the trade environment and agreed to double the bilateral trade to US$40 billion by 2010. The current level of bilateral trade between the two countries is incompatible with their respective size.

The two countries can boost trade growth by improving the trading structure and increasing technological cooperation.

The joint feasibility study on a free trade pact and decision to conclude the study by October 2007 will make a significant difference to bilateral trade.

As two of the world's fastest growing economies, China and India need to maintain their progress.

In their joint declaration, they agreed the weight of bilateral relations goes beyond the two nations. The relations between China and India are not free of issues around their borders.

They agreed to keep the border areas peaceful while setting up a working group before October 2007 to settle the border issue as soon as possible.

In Islamabad, a free trade agreement between China and Pakistan will upgrade the business element of the time-tested, all-weather ties.

During his four-nation visits, President Hu made it clear that China does not seek selfish gains when developing relations with other countries.

China expects to see harmony, prosperity and development in South Asia.

(China Daily November 27, 2006)

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