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On the road to cooperation

By Fu Mengzi | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-29 07:11

President Xi Jinping's state visit to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo, and his participation in the fifth BRICS summit in Durban has sparked speculation over China's diplomatic inclinations among some circles overseas.

Many believe Xi's first foreign trip after becoming president highlights China's diplomatic priority. This has given rise to different interpretations about Beijing's foreign policy leanings and response to international events.

That Russia was chosen as the first stop for Xi's weeklong visit shows the great importance China's new leadership attaches to developing ties with the world's major powers as well as neighboring countries.

China and Russia established a constructive partnership in 1994, followed by a higher-level strategic cooperative partnership in 1996. The two countries' development-focused ties have helped them strengthen mutual political trust and deepen cooperation. In fact, taking bilateral ties to new heights is part of both countries' foreign policy agenda.

"China and Russia are mutually the main and the most important strategic partners", Xi said in a recent interview with journalists from BRICS member states, giving Sino-Russian ties an unequivocal strategic orientation. The agreement between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin to carry out "all-direction strategic" cooperation is expected to further raise the level and quality of bilateral ties.

Xi's visit to Africa shows that China's new leadership also attaches great importance to developing ties with developing countries and old friends in Africa. Xi's visit to Tanzania is aimed at promoting mutually beneficial and win-win partnerships with African countries. Tanzania's friendship with China can be traced to the 1970s when the generations-long symbol of Sino-African friendship, the Tanzania-Zambia Railway was built.

His visit to South Africa to attend the BRICS summit reflects that China regards its relationships with emerging markets as very valuable and that its diplomatic focus is on multilateral cooperation.

Xi's foreign visit is also aimed at popularizing the "Chinese Dream" and promoting a mutually beneficial and win-win diplomatic approach among other countries. After three decades of fast-paced economic growth, China has become stronger in many respects. But Chinese people are yet to realize the dream of national rejuvenation.

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