BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- China will strengthen diplomatic efforts in Asia in 2012 and enhance coordination with Asian countries, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said here on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Liu said the regional situation will continue to undergo profound changes in 2012, posing challenges for China's diplomatic work. To properly handle differences, China will enhance political trust and expand common interests with countries in the region, in a bid to create a favorable environment for China's economic growth and contribute to peace in both Asia and the world.
There will be important meetings between Chinese leaders and their counterparts from other Asian countries in 2012, including the Seoul Nuclear Summit, the BRICS Summit in India, the Asia-Europe Meeting in Laos, and the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, Liu said.
"We will take the opportunities of high-level visits, strategic dialogues and exchange mechanisms at various levels to enhance strategic coordination and mutual understanding with Asian countries," he said.
China will continue to play a constructive role in resolving hot regional issues, and will properly settle existing differences with neighboring countries through dialogues, Liu said.
The country adheres to an open policy of mutual benefit, he said, adding that China will speed up the building of an interconnected infrastructure network, boost regional financial cooperation, encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in neighboring countries, and beef up the construction of free-trade areas with Asian nations and overseas economic cooperation zones.
Meanwhile, China will also strengthen cultural exchanges with Asian countries, including celebratory activities to mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations, the 40th anniversary of China-Maldives diplomatic ties, the 20th anniversary of China-ROK diplomatic relations, and the 10th anniversary of China-East Timor diplomatic ties, according to Liu.
China plans to set up more Chinese culture centers and Confucius Institutes in Asian countries, to cement educational and cultural exchanges and cooperation with neighboring countries, he added.