Xi stresses ties with neighbors

Xi stresses ties with neighbors

CHINA - President Xi Jinping has vowed to build better relations with neighbouring countries, with an expert saying this is the latest sign reflecting the new leadership's diplomatic policy focus.

China should engage in more "advancing and proactive" neighbouring diplomacy to create a favourable environment for development, Xi said at a meeting in Beijing.

The meeting, held on Thursday and Friday and presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, mapped out the goals and strategy for China's diplomacy with its neighbours for the next five to 10 years, a statement said.

"We should maintain and make good use of this period of important strategic opportunities, and safeguard sovereignty and development interests," Xi said.

Beijing has been involved in a series of diplomatic activities, highlighting the importance of neighbouring areas, since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November.

Jin Canrong, a professor of international studies at Renmin University of China, said the new leadership has been taking the approach of "friendship first, issues later" in working with its neighbours. The strategy has received a positive response, he said.

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