China prioritizes good-neighborly friendship

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China's Vice President Li Yuanchao delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 'International Day of Peace 2013 and China-South Asia Peace and Development Forum,' held on Saturday in Kunming. [ by Chen Boyuan]

China's Vice President Li Yuanchao delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the "International Day of Peace 2013 and China-South Asia Peace and Development Forum," held on Saturday in Kunming. [ by Chen Boyuan]

China views good-neighborly friendship as a priority of its foreign policy and wants peaceful co-existence, cooperation and development with neighboring countries, Vice-President Li Yuanchao said on Saturday.

Li made the remarks at a forum to mark International Day of Peace in Kunming, capital city of Southwest China's Yunnan province. The day, which falls on September 21, is established by the UN General Assembly as an annual day of non-violence and cease-fire.

The forum, launched by the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament, UN System in China and the Yunnan provincial government, was attended by officials and experts from South Asian countries and UN staff.

Facing important opportunities for development, China and South Asia should make joint efforts to safeguard peace, adhere to independence and self-empowerment, oppose external interference and the big and strong bullying the small and weak, Li said.

Calling for dialogue and consultation to peacefully solve disputes rather than resorting to force, Li said both sides should expand mutually beneficial cooperation and accelerate connectivity to forge a tightly integrated community of interests.

War and conflict are the biggest obstacles to the development of South Asia and lasting peace is the common aspiration of its people, Li said. "China is willing to work with our neighbors, including South Asian countries, to achieve lasting peace in the region."

Li met with Shrin Sharmin Chowdhury, speaker of National Assembly of Bangladesh and Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, speaker of Afghan House of People on the sidelines of the forum.

Li said as developing countries, both China and Bangladesh face the historical task of realizing modernization. The two countries should boost cooperation and people-to-people exchanges to a new level.

Chowdhury said Bangladesh hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in trade, investment and culture so as to better benefit the two peoples.

In meeting with Ibrahimi, Li said China is willing to be a reliable neighbor and good friend to Afghanistan, actively participate in the country's peace and reconstruction process.

"The two countries should advance cooperation in energy, infrastructure and agriculture and work together to combat terrorism to further the strategic partnership of China and Afghanistan," Li told Ibrahimi.

Afghan people long for peace and development, hoping China to play an important role in facilitating peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, Ibrahimi said.

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