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Chinese Foreign Relations to Focus on More Active Diplomacy

  • Stephanie Ho

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi answers a reporter's question in Beijing, March 7, 2011

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi answers a reporter's question in Beijing, March 7, 2011

China says it will focus on what it calls "summit diplomacy" this year, with the foreign minister outlining plans for Chinese leaders to take part in high-profile meetings around the world.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi emphasized Monday that China’s diplomacy will serve domestic interests, especially associated with the country’s economic development.

Yang said China will pursue what he calls an "integrated approach" in its foreign relations. Besides summit diplomacy, he says China will pursue country-specific, region-specific and area-specific diplomacy in what he described as a "comprehensive" and "coordinated way".

Next month, China will host a meeting for the so-called BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and, now, South Africa. Chinese leaders also routinely attend summits for the G20, meetings of Southeast Asian leaders and other world gatherings.

The foreign minister pointed to President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States in January as a good start to the year, and said there is "good atmosphere" in Sino-American relations.

Yang said there are differences and frictions over some issues, and that China is strongly opposed to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, a separately governed island Beijing considers part of its territory. He urged the United States to stop selling arms to Taiwan, calling it "very important to upholding the overall interests of China-U.S. relations."

The relationship will be highlighted by two visits: Vice President Joseph Biden comes to China while Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will go to the United States.

In addition to diplomatic outreach, Yang said Beijing has been closely following the debt problems in Europe. He says China’s decision to buy European bonds was not based on strategic interests alone.

According to Yang, China bought bonds from European countries to help them advance the EU integration process.

Yang also said President Hu will make a state visit to Russia this year, to highlight improving relations between the two giant neighbors.

And, in May, Premier Wen Jiabao goes to Japan, for a meeting that also includes South Korea. Yang repeated China’s call for a speedy resumption of the stalled six-party talks on persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programs.

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