• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 6:40am
CommentInsight & Opinion

China right to cultivate better ties with neighbours

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 November, 2013, 4:51am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 November, 2013, 4:51am

The focus of China's foreign policy has long been the US, Russia and a handful of other major powers or blocs like the EU. Despite diverging views, there is co-operation in many fields that serves the nations well. But giving priority to some ties has also come at a cost for other relationships, a matter that has not always served Beijing well. President Xi Jinping has realised this and directed attention towards friendships and partnerships with neighbours.

The new direction was evident at a two-day conference in Beijing last week chaired by Premier Li Keqiang and attended by the Communist Party's elite, government ministers, provincial leaders, top diplomats and the heads of key financial institutions among them. Xi had a clear objective in bringing together so many important figures at the same time and place: to ensure a co-ordinated diplomatic approach. Ministries, officials and companies in the past have too often been inconsistent when overseas. They need to be working together if Chinese foreign policy is to be effective.

A broad, all-embracing policy is what China needs if its aims of peace, development and co-operation are to be attained. Of its neighbours, it can only claim the best of relations with Cambodia, North Korea, Pakistan and Thailand. A series of trips to Southeast Asia by Xi and Li last month and visits to Beijing by the prime ministers of India, Mongolia and Russia highlighted the diplomatic shift. Billions of dollars in trade and economic deals were struck, along with an agreement to ease border tensions with india, but much more is needed for friendly ties.

While bridges are slowly being built with Vietnam, among the most sceptical of China's neighbours, all is far from well in relations with Japan and the Philippines. Ties with Japan are especially fragile as a result of the Diaoyu Islands dispute and the nationalism of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; a war of words has been accompanied in recent days by military alerts. The posturing and rhetoric have to be replaced by reasoned diplomacy.

Domestic political bickering has kept the US from concentrating on its Asian pivot, but its economic and strategic interests in the region remain strong. Beijing and Washington have to continue building trust and co-operation. But moving economically, politically and strategically closer to neighbours is arguably more important for China. That will bring stability and greater growth and development for all in Asia.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

I am amazed how naive people are concerning the brutal Chinese Communist Party. The CCP has murdered eighty million of its own people since 1949 and since 1999 has been attempting the genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners by the use of torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder. The CCP is a blood-thirsty gangster regime but people living in the West as well as most Chinese are being kept in the dark concerning its true nature because of greed and the total control of the Chinese media by the CCP. The Chinese Communist Party is not something that should be shown any respect whatsoever, only disgust.
My Uncle Carson just got an almost new silver Chevrolet Express Van blog link ****www.jobs64.com
Perhaps we can start with getting over the victim mentality regarding Japan's doings in World War II? Personally I think it is totally unnecessary for China to cry foul over Japanese politicians' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Every country can be over-zealous about nationalism and one's national interests. I see no reason why Japan or even Nazi Germany cannot be pardoned. The past is past.
China's actions do not match its words. Whatever its says its motives are, one thing is certain, they are not altruistic.
Who is, then? The United States?
Vietnamese should learn the lesson from the past and from their ancestors, chinese cannot be trust and should not trusted, they are very cunning and sneaky neighbor.


SCMP.com Account