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Chinese Foreign Minister to Tour Southeast Asia This Week

Phnom Penh: At the invitation of his counterparts in Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and South Korea, China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, will visit the countries from 10-15 September. His tour comes barely a month after similar tours by senior US officials, most notably US Vice President Kamala Harris, who also visited Vietnam and Singapore.

Midway through his four-nation tour, Yi will chair the 13th meeting of the China-Vietnam Bilateral Cooperation Command Committee with his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh.

In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry says Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and South Korea are all “important neighbors and partners of China. Faced with the Covid-19 virus, China and its neighbors have helped each other to mourn and move forward in the global prevention of the virus and its recovery after the end of the pandemic”. The statement goes onto say that “Yi’s visit shows the high interest and sincerity of the Chinese side to the four countries in promoting friendly relations and deepening cooperation and mutual benefit.”Yi will discuss “in-depth strategies with the parties to promote the implementation of key consensus agreed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the leaders of the four countries, focusing on the fight against viruses and bilateral cooperation.”

Development will be the tour’s buzzword, with China saying “development operation promotes the verification between the new development plan developed by China and the development strategies of the countries, the promotion of "belt and road" cooperation and the building of a common destiny for humanity.” During his six days in Southeast Asia, Yi has expressed a willingness to work with Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and South Korea to push forward bilateral ties to achieve “new fruits and achievements”, jointly safeguard multilateralism and justice, what he calls “truth on the international stage” and add more positive energy to peace, stability, prosperity and development in the region and the world. The comment about “truth on the international stage” is interpreted as a veiled reference to recent statements from Washington accusing Beijing of “bullying” nations in the region over the South China Sea.

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