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China ready to work with neighboring countries to expand convergence of interests: spokesperson

Updated: April 9, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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BEIJING, April 8 (Xinhua) -- China stands ready to work with neighboring countries to expand the convergence of interests, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

Spokesperson Mao Ning made the remarks at a daily press briefing when answering a relevant query. According to media reports, April has witnessed a host of high-level visits from Southeast Asian countries to China. Indonesian President-elect Prabowo's visit to China was the first leg of his first overseas visit as President-elect. Last week, Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith, Timor-Leste's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Bendito dos Santos Freitas, and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son respectively in Guangxi. This week, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat are visiting China.

"Leaders and foreign ministers from several Southeast Asian countries have visited China over the past few days, which demonstrates the great importance relevant countries attach to their relations with China," Mao said.

"Neighboring countries are China's priority in its diplomacy. China and Southeast Asian countries are good neighbors, good friends and good partners with a shared future," Mao said, adding China has engaged in friendly cooperation, enhanced mutual understanding and trust, and pursued common development and prosperity with neighboring countries in line with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness guiding our neighborhood diplomacy.

According to Mao, China and ASEAN were each other's largest trading partners for the fourth consecutive year last year. In January and February this year, trade between China and ASEAN totaled 993.24 billion yuan, up by 8.1 percent.

Noting Southeast Asian countries are important partners for Belt and Road cooperation, Mao said a large number of cooperation projects, including the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway and the "Two Countries, Twin Parks" between China and Malaysia, have boosted economic growth and benefited the people in the region.

Mutual visa exemption is realized between China and the three Southeast Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the spokesperson said, adding various events will be held during the China-ASEAN Year of People-to-People Exchanges to enhance mutual understanding and build closer bond between the peoples of the two sides.

"This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We stand ready to work with neighboring countries to carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, practice the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, expand the convergence of interests, and jointly make Asia a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful, amicable and harmonious home for us all," Mao said.

Editor: Duan Jing