The development of China is good for the ASEAN members. Bilateral economic and cultural exchanges bring benefits to 2 billion people on both sides.
China and the Southeast Asian countries have a long history of friendly exchanges. Many Southeast Asian countries know about Zheng He's voyages to the Western Seas. Long ago, Chinese emigrants settled down in various countries of Southeast Asia. The historic sites and the legends left by ethnic Chinese in Southeastern Asian countries testify to the long history of friendly bilateral exchanges.
Unlike western colonists who waged wars in Southeast Asia, China brought silk and tea to the region. This significantly promoted bilateral economic and cultural exchanges between China and the Southeast Asian countries. The Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century is based on the ideal of long-term friendly exchanges between China and Southeast Asia.
The Maritime Silk Road of the 21st century is a significant initiative. With the increase in bilateral economic exchanges, China and the ASEAN members have set themselves the target that the bilateral trade volume should reach 500 billion US dollars in 2015. China and ASEAN are focused on updating the China–ASEAN Free Trade Area and deepening bilateral cooperation in the economy, trade, investment, etc.
The Maritime Silk Road will result in deeper tourist cooperation between China and Southeast Asia. The region abounds in tourist resources and has thereby became the preferred destination for the growing ranks of Chinese tourists traveling abroad. The new Maritime Silk Road will include cruise tourism, self-managed travel, etc. The increase in the two-way flow of tourists between China and Southeast Asia will set a more solid foundation for friendly bilateral relations.
2014 is the Year of Chinese-ASEAN Cultural Exchange during which a range of cultural exchange events will be held by both sides.
China’s development is good for the ASEAN members and China’s economic development promotes the development of the ASEAN members. Bilateral cooperation will bring benefit to 2 billion people on both sides, one third of the world population.
The article is edited and translated from《中国发展是东盟的大好事》, source: People's Daily, author: Li Jianxiong.