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Neighborly harmony

Updated: 2013-10-23 07:11
( China Daily)

Premier Li Keqiang welcomed three heads of government on Tuesday in a rare diplomatic coincidence. That the distinguished guests are from three of our immediate neighbors - India, Mongolia and Russia - made the occasion even more special.

This is not just a hallmark of the diplomatic vibrancy of a new leadership. It also, and more importantly, highlights a strong aspiration for harmony in our neighborhood and a pragmatic approach to achieving it.

Neighborly harmony

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (4th R) talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (4th L) during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 22, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have different topics on their agendas, but everything boils down to honoring vows of partnership.

Despite the differences in ideologies, national conditions, strategic concerns and sometimes suspicion, China has secured a strategic partnership with all the three significant neighbors.

In truth, the exchanges of vows of partnership are overcoming obstacles in bilateral ties. Closer interactions, both at leader-to-leader and people-to-people levels, remain the most effective means of confidence building.

Medvedev's online chat with Chinese netizens on Tuesday and Singh's scheduled speech at the central Party school show signs of special intimacy to promote mutual understanding.

China and India may find some degree of competition inevitable given their similar industrial structures. But distractions such as sporadic shows of disagreements can never overshadow common public aspiration, strong political will and closer economic cooperation. And mutual trust is building up in the security area.

China and Russia have supported each other on the global stage on issues of common concern. Their promise of all-round partnership calls for more concerted follow-up efforts. Energy and technological cooperation and mutual investments, in particular, have huge potential to be tapped.

While the talk of partnership dwells overwhelmingly on showcasing the desire for further rapport, the visits of the three heads of government are practical ways to enrich and consolidate such commitments.

The visits are yielding a host of bilateral agreements. But the significance of these visits will extend far beyond, especially when there is further progress on the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

(China Daily 10/23/2013 page8)