Over the past year, China has comprehensively strengthened its ties with neighboring countries, bringing greater stability to the region.
President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi successfully held their second summit in Chennai. The two leaders had long and in-depth discussions on issues of strategic significance. They agreed to enhance practical cooperation across the board and promote exchanges and mutual learning between the two civilizations. The summit set the tone for the steady and sound growth of China-India relations and opened new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. General Secretary Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of China-DPRK diplomatic relations. The visit has given a new boost to the traditional friendship between the two countries. China and Japan reached a ten-point consensus on improving and growing the bilateral relations. Leaders of the two countries agreed to work for a China-Japan relationship consistent with the needs of the new era, bringing the relationship back on track for new progress. The China-ASEAN FTA Upgrading Protocol has fully entered into force. The first reading of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea has been completed ahead of schedule, and COC consultations are making solid progress. All this has ushered China-ASEAN relations into a new stage of all-round development. President Xi Jinping visited Central Asia and attended the SCO summit and CICA summit, taking China's relations with Central Asian countries and the development of the SCO to a new level.
China also played a pivotal role in bringing about important progress in regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. Not long ago, the 15 participating countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) concluded all the text-based negotiations, and a timeline has been drawn up for its formal signing. A regional free trade area boasting the largest population, most diverse membership and greatest potential is in the making. Later this month, China will host the eighth China-Japan-ROK (CJK) leaders' meeting. As we mark the 20th anniversary of CJK cooperation, the meeting is set to inject new impetus into cooperation and development in East Asia.
Over the past year, China has consistently advocated win-win cooperation, energizing the building of an open world economy.
China successfully hosted the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was attended by 40 national leaders and heads of international organizations, and nearly 6,000 representatives from 150 countries and 92 international organizations. The forum produced 283 important outcomes. This year, China has signed documents on Belt and Road cooperation with 16 countries and international organizations, bringing the total number of such cooperation documents to 199. Flagship projects such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China-Laos Railway, Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway and China-Europe Railway Express have created substantial development opportunities for the participating countries, and brought the Belt and Road cooperation into a new phase of high-quality development. The second China International Import Expo attracted an impressive gathering of 181 countries, regions and international organizations, more than 3,800 exhibitors and over 500,000 buyers from home and abroad. Business deals worth more than US$71 billion were concluded, up by 23% from last year. In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Expo, President Xi Jinping pointed out that economic globalization is an irreversible trend of the times. He called for the building of an open world economy featuring cooperation, innovation and mutual benefit, and announced the major opening-up initiatives China would take in five areas. His speech drew a warm response across the audience.
China has deepened South-South cooperation with fellow developing countries. The Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit was successfully held in Beijing. More than half of the 880 plus cooperation projects and the financing support have been delivered under the framework of the eight major initiatives on China-Africa cooperation. The follow-up actions of the FOCAC Summit, which have been in full swing, have been held to high standards and produced early and encouraging results to the benefit of our peoples. China's relations with Latin American and the Caribbean countries and Arab countries continue to make steady and solid progress, with deeper and better-structured cooperation in all fields.
Over the past year, China has firmly defended fairness and justice in the international arena, serving as a pillar for multilateralism and greater democracy in international relations.
In the face of unilateralist and hegemonic moves, China has firmly stood on the right side of history and on the side of the common interests of the overwhelming majority of countries. From the G20 Summit to the BRICS Summit, from the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations to the China-France Seminar on Global Governance, from the Boao Forum for Asia to the leaders' meetings on East Asian cooperation, China has taken a consistent and unwavering stand, namely, firmly upholding the UN-centered international system, safeguarding the international order underpinned by the international law, and promoting the multilateral trading regime centered on the WTO. China is deeply engaged in international cooperation in such areas as climate change, combating and preventing terrorism and cyber-security. China has honored its international responsibilities and duties, and made important contributions to global efforts against global challenges. During this year's G20 Summit, China held a meeting on climate change together with France and the UN. China and France also signed the Beijing Call for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change. In the election for the FAO Director-General, the Chinese candidate won by a wide margin. And for the first time, Chinese nationals have been appointed Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General and UN Resident Coordinator. All this speaks to the increasing role played by China in UN affairs.