A: Excuse me, could you tell me when ASEAN was established? And how many member countries does it have now?
A: Besides these 10 member countries, ASEAN also always holds the 10+1, 10+3 meetings. Does it mean that ASEAN has some dialogue partners?
A：What is the area that ASEAN covers? How man languages are spoken in this region? What is the total population?
A: 4.5 million square kilometers is about half of China’s territory, such a big regional organization neighboring China. How is the relationship between ASEAN and China now?
A：Can you give some data?
A：The relationship is very good economically, but how about
10.5 Diplomatic work for the people
It is true that we have been making every effort to serve the purpose of doing diplomatic work for the people. On the international stage, in order to do good and practical things for the people, we have to rely on our friends. In this regard, Chinese leaders have played an exemplary role. They have made many good friends for China in the world. Last year, President Hu Jingtao, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the National People’s Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chairman Jia Qinglin of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference visited a total of 34 countries. During their short and tightly scheduled visits, they conducted extensive activities. Last year alone, we received 29 visiting heads of state, 23 heads of government and 42foreign ministers.
In addition, different departments and industries across the country have been engaged in other foreign relation activities so as to establish friendship with people of other countries and serve practical interest of the Chinese people. The inter-parliamentary, party-to-party and
military-to-military diplomatic activities between China and other countries are fairly active, and a large number of Chinese NGOs are also active players in the international arena,such as the Chinese Youth League,the All China Women’s Federation and the All China Federation of Trade Unions. Many Chinese cities have also established twin-city relations with their foreign counterparts. At present, China has 235 diplomatic missions abroad staffed with over 5600 people, of whom 3200 are from the Foreign Ministry. Ambassador Sun Bian, who was recently named as one of the top 10 Figures Inspiring China Most in 2004, is one of the best representatives of the Foreign Ministry. Recently, I came across a group of figures from a western newspaper. Let’s take a look at them together to see whether the “China threat theory”makes sense or is nothing but ridiculous nonsense. In 2004, the defense expenditure of the US was US$455.9 billion, accounting for 3.9% of its GDP, while that of China in the same year was only RMB 211.7 billion, making up 1.6% of Chin a’s GDP. The US defense expenditure was 17.8 times that of China.
In 2004, the per capita defense expenditure in the
US was US$1540 while that of China was about US$20, with the US figure being 77 times that of China. In 2003, the US defense expenditure accounted for 47% of the global total, exceeding the total of the other 25 countries in the world with the largest defense expenditures. The figure was also 3.5 times the total sum of the defense expenditure of the other four permanent members of the Security Council.
China follows the road of peaceful development. To maintain peace is both the starting point and the purpose of Chinese diplomacy. I believe that all those who respect the truth will see China a staunch force for peace in the world.