KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- China's reaffirmation of its good neighborly foreign policy is timely and much needed as a "diamond decade" is envisioned in relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a Malaysian analyst has said.
At a conference on diplomatic work held in Beijing last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country would strive for a sound environment for its development and seek common development with its neighbors.
Oh Ei Sun, a political analyst and former political secretary to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, said ASEAN would very much welcome Xi's remarks that peaceful development and cooperation toward win-win outcomes remain the cornerstones of China's foreign policy toward its neighbors.
"In fact, most ASEAN countries see these cornerstones as a timely reaffirmation of China's avowed foreign policy goals since China first undertook its hugely successful reform and opening-up process," Oh said.
"And for many years, ASEAN countries reciprocated these friendly gestures and offered themselves to be the forerunners of investments in China, becoming instrumental in China's modern development odyssey," he said.
Xi's remarks, along with his and Premier Li Keqiang's recent visits to Southeast Asia and the almost simultaneous China visits by the prime ministers of Russia, Mongolia and India, mark the "bifocus" of China's diplomatic efforts to renew and refresh its ties with its neighbors while constructing the "new model of relations between major powers" most notably with the United States, Oh said.
At the meeting held on Oct. 24-25, Xi urged Chinese policy-makers and diplomats to let the sense of common destiny take root in neighboring countries.
Oh said most of China's neighbors are developing countries although they are categorized at different levels of development stages. These countries have come to realize the importance of harmonious coexistence with neighbors.
China must take the lead in not only improving relations with its neighbors, but also accelerating regional socio-economic development at the time of global depression, he said.
An Asian infrastructure investment bank as mooted by Xi can be of tremendous help especially to those less developed neighbors of China.
Meanwhile, with the establishment of a Silk Road economic belt and a maritime silk road, China can help foster closer economic relations with its Central and Southeast Asian neighbors by nurturing socio-economic development.
"As President Xi reiterated, ultimately people-to-people relations and exchanges remain the central means for China and its close neighbors to rejuvenate their ties," Oh said.
As China and ASEAN are celebrating the 10th anniversary of strategic partnership this year, which has blossomed especially on the economic front, both sides are eyeing even greater cooperation and success, he said.
On the South China Sea issue, Oh said Chinese leaders have shown renewed flexibility.
"China's recent agreement with Vietnam on the South China Sea issue can of course be a shining example to other disputants such as the Philippines," Oh said.
"But actually even before that, China and Malaysia have long decided to set aside their South China Sea disputes for the moment and focus on trade and investment with each other, culminating in a fruitful relationship for both," he said.
Oh stressed that Southeast Asian countries welcome the peaceful development of China.
"We hope China would not repeat the unfortunate mistakes of other major powers before, but instead assume the role of a locomotive leading the regional train toward the prospects of peace and prosperity," he said.