China sets foreign policy course

Updated: 2012-11-09 02:03

By Wu Jiao and Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

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Beijing mapped out its main foreign policy directions on Thursday to cope with the rising diplomatic challenges stemming from its growing strength in the region and global affairs, as the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China convened.

While expressing willingness to cooperate with other nations, China also underscored its resolution to protect its national interests and "never yield to any outside pressure”.

In a political report at the opening ceremony of the congress, Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said the country will improve relations with developed economies and continue to promote friendship and partnership with its neighbors to ensure that China's development will bring them more benefits.

Hu also told the delegates that China will increase its unity with other developing economies and expand their voice in international affairs.

However, he warned that China is firm in its resolve to protect its sovereignty, security and developmental interests.

Hu's remarks, signaling the course of the country's foreign policy over the next five years, comes at a time in which Beijing's growing influence on international affairs brings not only greater responsibility, but also frictions with neighbors and some developed economies, due to their uneasiness with China's rise and competition.

The ties between China and some of its neighbors have been strained by territorial disputes, and the buildup of its military, which is still far behind that of Western powers, is sometimes regarded as threat to neighbors.

Washington's Asia pivot policy has added to the tension in the region.

"All these points made by Hu are based on the background of China's rising national strength. It extends its willingness to cooperate with other countries, while safeguarding its own interests,” said Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing.

Previously, China was not aware of how its increasing strength would affect other countries and their impression of China, but the outside world is deeply impressed with and affected by its rise, Jin said.

According to Jin, Beijing should be aware of the impact of its policies on other countries, which in turn should adjust their policies toward China.

But China will face challenges in gaining the full trust of countries with different political systems and cultures, while the US strategic repositioning toward Asia has encouraged some neighbors to increase regional frictions, said Lu Jing, deputy director of the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University. So to mutually benefit, China and other countries should adjust their policies together, Lu said.

Fu Ying, vice-minister of foreign affairs and a delegate to the congress, said on Thursday it is vital for China to maintain good relations with its neighbors through dialogue and cooperation.

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