Di­plo­mats ben­e­fit from Bei­jing’s sin­cer­ity

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - Zhang Yunbi REPORTER’S LOG

As di­plo­mats strode the red car­pet at Laos’ land­mark— the spa­cious Na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in the cap­i­tal Vi­en­tiane— hur­ry­ing to meet­ings, they ben­e­fited from China’s cour­tesy.

The cen­ter forms part of China’s aid to Laos. Chi­nese work­ers com­pleted its construction in only 10 months in 2012, well in time for the Asi­aEuropeMeet­ing held there that year.

This year, the venue hosted a range of an­nual meet­ings from Sun­day to Tues­day in­volv­ing for­eign min­is­ters from all 10 mem­ber states of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions and their in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts, such as those from China, Japan, the United States and the Euro­pean Union.

The meet­ings— held in a va­ri­ety of group­ings, such as 10+1, 10+3 and 10+8— looked to boost co­op­er­a­tion or han­dle hot spot is­sues at a venue that is a show­case for China’s sin­cer­ity in aid­ing neigh­bors who seek eco­nomic growth and bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture.

The in­ter­est shown in hear­ing China’s voices and opin­ions could per­haps best be il­lus­trated by a pho­tog­ra­pher I met on Sun­day night.

The man, aged about 30, en­tered the room host­ing talks be­tween the for­eign min­is­ters of China and the Repub­lic of Korea with a huge ban­dage on his fore­head.

He had ap­par­ently re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant wound near his eye­brow. “It (the meet­ing) is too im­por­tant,” he said when I asked why he came de­spite the wound.

In­deed, even jour­nal­ists who are not from China or the ROK­tracked Bei­jing’s re­sponses and po­si­tions to the on­go­ing US-ROK plan to de­ploy the THAADanti-mis­sile sys­tem on theKorean Penin­sula.

Not to men­tion the me­dia at­ten­tion to the South China Sea issue. And many­may have ob­served the ASEAN min­is­ters’ meet­ings did not an­tag­o­nize China in their joint state­ments as had been ex­pected by some gov­ern­ments and me­dia in theWest.

As the say­ing goes, “Still wa­ters run deep.” China’s ef­forts to boost peace and re­gional de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing its aid to build the cen­ter, are like still wa­ters.

HOANG DINH NAM / AFP

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi (front cen­ter) and US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry (back right) join coun­ter­parts on the side­lines of the ASEAN meet­ing.

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