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A fruitful year for China's diplomacy in 2007
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Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is to start his first official visit to China on Thursday afternoon as guest of Premier Wen Jiabao, concluding a fruitful year for China's diplomatic endeavors.

Summarizing the characteristics and achievements of China's diplomacy, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the country had made new progress in cementing ties with major powers, consolidated cooperation with neighboring countries and regional blocs and expanded coordination with vast developing countries, including India and South Africa.

China and the United States conducted two rounds of strategic economic dialogue this year in Washington and Beijing, respectively, conferring on important international and regional issues.

The dialogue had helped to settle disputes and friction in Sino-US trade ties and facilitated substantial cooperation, Yang said.

In addition, with the "Year of China in Russia" drawing to a close, he added the reciprocal national theme year activities in both countries have scored remarkable achievements that further consolidated the social basis of Sino-Russia relations.

Premier Wen visited Japan in April and new Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's will start to visit China. These signs showed the warming ties between China and Japan and bilateral cooperation in energy, environmental protection, personnel exchanges were revitalized, Yang said.

In late November, the 10th China-EU Leaders' Meeting was held in Beijing. Leaders from both China and the European Union (EU) outlined their future strategic partnership while discussing pragmatic issues.

Yang said the two sides friendly and pragmatic cooperation of mutual benefit had been expanded and deepened.

While stepping up state-to-state relations, China played a very positive role on multilateral stages.

As climate change was at the top agenda of the international community's common concern, China actively joined international efforts to fight against climate change, participated in international negotiations and formulated regulations. It also appointed a special envoy to deal with specific matters.

During a outreach session of the G-8 Summit in Germany in June, Chinese President Hu Jintao enunciated the country's view and suggestions on climate change.

"We spare no efforts in pushing forward the settlement of hot issues that shows China's image as a responsible country," Yang said.

On the Iran nuclear issue, China stuck to a political solution and actively conducted diplomatic mediation.

On Darfur, China named a special representative for the issue and provided humanitarian aid and peacekeepers that won acclaim from the international community.

On the Middle East, China attended the US-led Middle East peace conference and played a positive part in advancing the peace process of the region.

We have properly handled the issue of product quality and food safety," Foreign Minister Yang said.

"China uttered its own voice in disputed international issues and put forth constructive and detailed suggestions. The independence is a shining point in China's diplomacy in 2007," said Yan Xuetong, a Tsinghua University professor on world issues.

To safeguard national sovereignty, security and interests in development was a solemn duty of China's diplomatic work, Yang said.

"We have gained international support in opposing Taiwan's referendum on UN membership, and defeated Taiwan's attempt to join the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) for the eleventh and fifteenth times respectively.

China made effective measures to safeguard the legitimate rights of overseas Chinese citizens and companies. The Chinese Foreign Ministry established a consular protection center to better protect the interests of its people living and traveling abroad.

"China is showing a more pragmatic and active stance on the world stage, and expanded its influence on the settlement of major international issues," said Shi Yinhong, a professor at Beijing's Remin University.

Looking ahead to 2008, Yang said, with the deepening of relationship between China and outside world, the country's development would be closely bound with world development.

He said 2008 was an important year for China diplomacy as the country would host the Olympics, as well as a series of international conferences, such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

"In the face of unprecedented opportunities and challenges, we will do well in various work so as to make a new contribution to world peace and development."

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2007)

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