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‘Warm power’ heats up China’s relations with neighboring countries

Global Times (2013-10-25 P16)
By Ling Jun

This autumn, China's neighborhood diplomacy has been impressive. Recently, both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visited some Southeast Asian countries.

The visits have deepened strategic mutual trust between China and ASEAN, and delivered the message that China is willing to be kind and attentive to its neighbors.

These diplomatic activities of the new Chinese leadership have shown the "warm power" of China's diplomacy.

In international politics, we have heard enough about "hard power," "soft power" and "smart power." While these concepts of power are endowed with a Cold War mentality, "warm power" has shown a willingness to aspire to a higher realm.

The word "warm" stresses communicating with other countries through means of mutual understanding and eliminating any alerts and estrangement by taking a sincere attitude.

In the 21st century, "warm power" should become a new concept for communication between countries.

There are some necessary conditions for a country to display its "warm power."

Politically, it should be able to deliver positive energy such as peace, development and cooperation, and promote the international order to develop fairly and reasonably. Economically, it seeks maximized interests of both itself and other countries.

In security, it attaches great importance to mutual and cooperative security. Culturally, it accepts and appreciates the civilization of other countries. And diplomatically, it never imposes its ideas on others and wins respect from others through virtue.

The neighborhood diplomacy of the new Chinese leadership has been characterized by these characteristics of "warm power."

Politically, the recent Southeast Asian visits are concrete steps to build a harmonious neighborhood based on mutual trust and mutual benefits, and are aimed at consolidating the integration of China and ASEAN.

Economically, China has been positively promoting a free trade zone involving China and ASEAN, hoping the current "golden" bilateral relationship can lead to a "diamond" decade.

In security, the strategic idea of the "Chinese dream" aims at building a new type of relationship and new security concepts based on mutual trust, equality and coordination.

China also pushes forward exchanges between think tanks, NGOs and social groups between itself and neighboring countries.

The communication between China and ASEAN countries goes back a long way historically. The idea of the Chinese dream matches the hopes of ASEAN countries for development, cooperation and peace.

China's development needs a stable neighborhood, and the development of ASEAN requires the support of a stable and affluent China. China will insist on its traditions of attaching importance to friendship and keeping credibility and make its "warm power" more influential.

The author is an international affairs observer.

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