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Foreign policy in 2015 to focus on 'Belt and Road' initiatives

2015-03-09 08:46 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

China to invite all relevant leaders to WWII parade, asks Japan to use conscience

China's diplomatic thrust for 2015 will focus on promoting the "One Belt, One Road" initiatives, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on the sidelines of the ongoing national legislative session on Sunday.[Special coverage]

Analysts believe Wang's statements further explain Chinese President Xi Jinping's view on China's foreign policy as China is expected to enhance exchanges with neighboring countries and adopt a more proactive approach toward major issues.

"The operative term for China's foreign policy in 2015 will be 'one focus and two main themes,'" Wang said.

On the progress of the "Belt and Road" initiatives, Wang said China will further enhance dialogue with other countries, expand shared interests and explore possible areas of mutual benefit.

Two main themes will be peace and development, the minister added.

As this year is crucial in promoting and carrying out the "Belt and Road" initiatives, China's development of a new-type of international relations in 2015 will focus on interacting with neighboring countries, including China-Japan-South Korea trilateral cooperation, North Korea, India and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said Liu Jiangyong, vice director of the Modern International Relations Institute at Tsinghua University.

"The 'Belt and Road' initiative will not only focus on infrastructure to physically connect [these countries], but also to explore free trade agreements," Liu said.

On Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang said in the government work report that efforts will be made to achieve further progress in diplomatic efforts with neighboring countries and work to create a community with a common future.

Summing up China's diplomatic accomplishments in 2014, Wang said China focused on building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and has taken a new path of external relations characterized by partnerships rather than alliances.

"The new type of international relations means a shift in China's foreign policy from creating more favorable conditions for China's growth to taking greater responsibility over international issues," Chen Zhimin, dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Chen said Wang's statements reflect the characteristics of "a more engaging attitude" in "Xi-style diplomacy."

Wang's speech also stressed that diplomacy should "embrace the essence of traditional [Chinese] culture," as he used metaphors from traditional Chinese medicine to describe China's approach to international issues, Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported.

On Sino-Japanese relations, Wang asked Japanese politicians to use their own conscience in judging history 70 years after Japan lost a war with China.

"Seventy years ago, Japan lost the war. Seventy years afterwards, it should not lose its conscience," Wang said.

"We will extend the invitation to the leaders of all relevant countries and international organizations. We welcome the participation of anyone who is sincere about coming," Wang said in response to a question about whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be invited to China's military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the WWII victory.

Abe called Sunday for deeper discussion on revising Japan's pacifist Constitution as his party held its annual convention.

Wang also said China cherishes its traditional friendship with North Korea and will seek to sustain the normal development of bilateral relations.

"The China-North Korea relationship has a strong foundation. It should not and will not be affected by temporary events," he said.

As to when the two countries' leaders will meet, Wang said "it will have to suit the schedules of both sides."

Xinhua contributed to this story

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