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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday started a five-day trip to Southeast and South Asia

 Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday started a five-day trip to Southeast and South Asia which will see him pay state visits to Cambodia and Bangladesh and attend the 8th BRICS summit, in Goa, India.

The visits play a key role in China's diplomatic efforts in Asia and are part of a move to build a "new type of international relations" and "a community of common destiny."

Since 2012, Xi has spoken of a "community of common destiny" dozens of times, putting the notion at the heart of China's relations with its neighbors and the international community at large.

In a speech to present China's views on the world situation and proposals for peace and development in the world at large, Xi called for building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and creating "a community of common destiny for mankind" at the UN headquarters in 2015.

Xi's Asia visits will promote the building of "a community of common destiny" in China's neighborhood, said Dong Manyuan, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies.

In particular, Xi's visit to Cambodia will further strengthen pragmatic cooperation and alignment of respective development strategies, and boost friendship between the two countries.

China has long signaled that it welcomes neighboring countries board its "train of development."

In 2015, the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism was launched to boost existing cooperation between China and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Zhong Feiteng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said that Xi's visit to Cambodia showcases China's will to cooperate with mid-sized and small developing countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

"China is willing to let less developed countries in the region to hitch a hike on the Chinese express train of development and share its development achievements," Zhong said.

Xi's trip to Bangladesh, meanwhile, will also chart a course for future bilateral ties, help the two countries deepen mutual trust, and lift relations between the countries to a new high.

It will also help push forward the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, in which Bangladesh serves as an important link.

Xue Li, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics at CASS, said that neighborhood diplomacy has become a prominent priority of China's foreign relations.

China tops the world in the number of neighboring countries. A sound and stable neighborhood translates to real benefits for everyone involved.

Xue said that China's rapid development has benefited its neighbors, but brought about concerns at the same time.

"Xi's visits will thus help China deepen political trust and economic cooperation with neighboring countries, including Cambodia and Bangladesh," Xue said.

China has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, which consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, involving more than 60 countries and regions and affecting some 4.4 billion people worldwide.

As of June this year, China has signed agreements on industrial capacity cooperation with 20 countries along the routes.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), proposed by China, has been set up to address infrastructure needs in the region. Already, the AIIB has approved 165 million dollars in loans for a Bangladeshi project.

At the upcoming summit of BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Xi will continue to highlight important plans for BRICS development to inject enthusiasm into the building of a new type of international relations.

"Through the BRICS summit, an important platform of global governance, China's 'Asian style' diplomacy, featuring mutual respect, seeking consensus through consultations and taking care of the degree of comfort of all parties, will have significance in the larger region, said Tao Jian, president of the Beijing-based University of International Relations.


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