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China reaches out to Asian nations

11-11-2010 11:06 BJT

BEIJING - China cherishes its relationships with neighbors and will adhere to its traditional Asia policies, President Hu Jintao said ahead of the G20 Summit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum where he will meet a dozen regional leaders.

He made the remarks two weeks after United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again suggested at an international summit in Hanoi that maritime disputes in the South China Sea should be settled in the international arena with Washington's involvement, though not all regional countries welcomed her suggestion.

Tension between Beijing and Tokyo continues after Japan detained a Chinese trawler captain in September in waters off China's Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

"China values its traditional friendship with its neighboring countries and adheres to implementing the policy of building good neighborly relationships and partnerships," Hu said in a written interview with media from the Republic of Korea (ROK), which is to host the G20 Summit on Thursday and Friday.

Beijing insisted on properly handling problems through consultation, he said.

Despite the difficulties, he said China's relations with its neighbors still show a promising trend.

Pang Zhongying, a scholar on international politics with the Beijing-based Renmin University of China, said Hu's comments are a timely response to reports that China's relations with Southeast Asian nations are deteriorating over territorial issues and that US involvement is needed.

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei have competing claims in the South China Sea.

"The president is assuring the nations, on the eve of two key international summits, that China's attitude of peacefully handling the problem will never change," Pang said.

Shi Yinhong, Pang's colleague at Renmin University, said there are diplomatic difficulties in Asia confronting China.

"But the problems concern different situations. You cannot blame all of them on a certain country," Shi said, adding there are also plenty of chances to improve relations given the mutual interests.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday that China has a vital role to play in the integration of Southeast Asian nations.

"And you would expect an economy like China that has been growing tremendously for quite a long time to obviously have a bigger and bigger influence in the region," he said.

In the interview, Hu also called on other countries to "face their own problems" and not cast blame on others.

"In such circumstances, countries should shoulder the responsibility and the courage to face their own problems, adhere to international cooperation and properly handle differences," Hu said.

"China will try to run its own affairs and not blame its problems on others."

Beijing is under pressure from the US to revalue the yuan as Washington claims the currency is undervalued.

Debate grew heated on Wednesday in Seoul during preparatory negotiations among deputy finance ministers.

"China, in the face of considerable pressure, kept its (yuan) exchange rate basically stable," Hu said, noting that reform of China's exchange rate systems should be "gradual and steady".

He also warned that "the world economic situation is still complicated and grim" so all countries should adhere to international cooperation.

Washington has itself attracted stinging criticism for pumping an extra $600 billion into the fragile US economy.

Critics, including top Chinese officials, say this amounts to an effective dollar devaluation, and has the potential to trigger a trade war.

"It was the US who triggered the financial crisis", and it seems it is inclined once again to look to other countries to help it out, said Pang of Renmin University.

The president also told ROK media that Beijing values relations with Seoul.

Both sides had maintained good coordination in international and regional affairs and expanded common interests, Hu said. "I am satisfied with the development of our bilateral relations."

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: China Daily

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