Seeking regional benefits
Updated: 2012-09-22 07:52
By Yang Wenchang (China Daily)
China and Indonesia should become strategic partners and join hands to safeguard peace and stability in East Asia
Today's world, especially the Asia-Pacific region, is undergoing complex and profound changes. Under the impact of the international financial crisis, world economic growth has slowed down and the pace of growth in major economies is sliding. On the contrary, the Asia-Pacific region, maintaining a good momentum of overall growth, has been increasingly turning into an important engine propelling the world economic growth and one of the most dynamic regions with great potential.
Western developed countries, generally optimistic about the prospect of development in Asia-Pacific, are vying with each other for strengthening their cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries. Out of its global strategic and domestic necessities, the United States has been striking a high-sounding note of "returning to the Asia-Pacific region". All these have brought about both rare opportunities and new complex factors to the Asia-Pacific situation and East Asian cooperation.
China-Indonesian relationship is now at a new starting point. During Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to China last March, the two sides issued a joint declaration, pointing out the direction for deepening the strategic partnership. Recently, President Hu Jintao and Yudhoyono held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the APEC meeting hosted by Russia and reached consensus on many important issues. With similar basic national conditions, close development characteristics and strong economic complementarity, China and Indonesia have a broad space for cooperation. In the perspective of multilateral cooperation, the two countries are both members of the Group of 20, sharing identical or similar views on many international and regional issues.
Therefore, China and Indonesia have tremendous potential in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The friendly cooperation between China, the largest developing country in the world, and Indonesia, the largest economy in ASEAN, has far exceeded the realm of bilateral relationship and is of great significance for pushing forward the process of cooperation in East Asia and achieving lasting peace, stability and prosperity in Asia-Pacific and in the world at large. China attaches great importance to Indonesia's constructive role in international and regional affairs.
As a co-founder and largest member of ASEAN, Indonesia has played key roles on many important occasions in the growth of ASEAN and has made outstanding contributions to ASEAN's strength building. What's more, it has played a unique role in the development of ASEAN-China relationship.
ASEAN, as one of the most important regional cooperation organizations in Asia, has made significant contributions to promoting regional peace and cooperation over the years. As ASEAN's good neighbor, good friend and good partner, China heartily rejoices over ASEAN's achievements and is confident of ASEAN's future growth. China-ASEAN friendly cooperation is blessed with unique advantages in favorable objective and subjective factors for success. Attaching great importance to its relations with ASEAN, China is dedicated to pushing forward good-neighborly, friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation and to supporting ASEAN's leading role in East Asian cooperation.
Under the circumstances of the continuing deep-rooted impacts of the international financial crisis, China and ASEAN share common interests in and responsibilities for safeguarding regional peace and stability and maintaining Asia's development momentum. The two sides should strengthen communication and achieve a win-win outcome in the spirit of mutual respect and trust and in light of strategic and long-term perspective.
As for China, the Asia-Pacific region is an important platform for it to achieve peaceful development. Persisting in peaceful development and never seeking hegemony are China's fundamental national policies and strategic option. In the seven voyages to the Western Seas, what Zheng He took with him were not war or colonial rule, but porcelains, silk and tea. The people in Southeast Asia still praise this emissary of peace and friendship.
In reality, the more China develops the more it needs a peaceful and stable international environment for external safeguards. Win-win cooperation and common development constitute the talisman for the success of China's great cause of reform and opening-up. It will be China's long-term and established principle to pursue the path of peaceful development and the regional foreign policy of good-neighborliness and friendship.
China has always pursued the policy of fostering friendship and partnership with neighboring countries. By putting into practice with concrete deeds the Asian Spirit of "making ceaseless self-improvement, exerting pioneering efforts, opening up and being tolerant", China has created tangible benefits not only for itself but also for other countries in the region. This is a self-evident fact.
Concerning the artificially heated-up South China Sea issue at present, China has, as usual, adopted the same kind of peaceful and responsible position. A certain extraterritorial power has attempted to get involved in the South China Sea disputes under the pretext of "freedom of navigation". A few claimants to the South China Sea have also, in overt or covert ways, invited extraterritorial countries to get involved in this issue, which China opposes.
Disputes related to the South China Sea are very complicated and sensitive. China has always stood for settlement by countries concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and international laws through direct and friendly consultation and negotiations.
Since China and Vietnam have already resolved the delimitation of boundaries on land and in the Beibu Gulf through diplomatic negotiations, why can't they resolve other difficult problems through diplomatic negotiations?
Pending the settlement of relevant disputes, China has always been devoted to pushing for "shelving differences and seeking joint development" and building the South China Sea into a sea of peace, a sea of friendship and a sea of cooperation, because China is fully aware that, without regional peace and stability, economic development and social progress would be merely fond wishes.
More than half a century ago, Premier Zhou Enlai, founder and the first honorary president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, representing New China, arrived in Indonesia after overcoming various difficulties and initiated the everlasting "Bandung Spirit" together with leaders of Asian and African countries. "Seeking common ground while reserving differences, peaceful co-existence and seeking cooperation", the core of "Bandung Spirit", has continued to be the guide of conduct for China to correctly handle state-to-state relations.
Today, we are witnessing the sweeping rise of an open, tolerant and dynamic new Asia. China and Indonesia are important forces propelling this epoch-making change. I firmly believe that, along with the ever-deepening bilateral cooperation, China-Indonesian strategic partnership will greet an even more splendid future.
The author is president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.
(China Daily 09/22/2012 page5)