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China prioritizes neighborhood diplomacy: NPC spokesperson



China has always placed neighborhood diplomacy at the top of its overall diplomacy agenda, said a spokesperson for China's top legislature on Monday.

Lou Qinjian, spokesperson for the second session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), made the remarks during a press briefing on the NPC session scheduled to run from March 5 to 11.

The basic policy of China's neighborhood diplomacy is to pursue friendship and partnership with its neighbors and to build an amicable, secure and prosperous neighborhood, highlighting the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, Lou said.

Over the past 10 years, China, together with other countries in the region, has "unswervingly followed the correct path of long-term good-neighborliness, common development and prosperity" and has promoted building a community of shared future with fruitful results, he said.

Responding to a question on the South China Sea, the spokesperson said China will continue to "firmly safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests." The country is willing to work with related countries to "deal with the issues through dialogues and consultations so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the South China Sea region," he added.

China firmly opposes camp-based confrontation, and its cooperation with neighboring countries is open and inclusive, he said.

"In recent years, the NPC has given full play to its own advantages and actively carried out exchanges and cooperation with the legislative bodies of neighboring countries at various levels in an effort to strengthen the foundation of public opinion and provide legal safeguards for the building of a community of shared future between China and its neighboring countries," Lou said.

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