China vows to be Asia’s ‘good neighbour’
MANILA: Rapidly rising China on Tuesday promised to be a “good neighbour” to the rest of Asia and called for deeper cooperation on issues ranging from regional stability to economic affairs.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the 10-year-old ASEAN Plus Three grouping - which brings together Southeast Asian nations plus China, Japan and South Korea - was a force for good in the region that should be strengthened.
“China is committed to building good-neighbourly relations and partnerships with its neighbours and strengthening cooperation in the region,” Yang said in an address in Manila to other foreign ministers from the grouping.
China’s rapid military build-up has caused concern in the region, while its seemingly unlimited export strength has put pressure on other Asian economies.
But with ASEAN in the “driver’s seat”, Yang said, China was ready to “draw up a plan of cooperation for the next 10 years to maintain peace and stability, promote prosperity and development in the region and write a new chapter in the annals of East Asia cooperation.”
His speech came at the start of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as from China, Japan and South Korea. It was the first appearance at the forum for Yang, who was named China’s top diplomat in April.
Yang praised the forum for increasing financial cooperation following the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, which has been credited with helping improve regional economic stability.
“All of this shows that ASEAN Plus Three has made a great contribution to peace, stability, economic development, social progress and common prosperity ... and has become the main vehicle of East Asia cooperation,” Yang said.
Rights bodies: Southeast Asia faces a hurdle in forming a regional human rights body because several governments, including Myanmar’s military junta, have to first create their own human rights commissions, Malaysia’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. agencies