MANILA, Philippines - Here in Shandong, China, for the Fourth 10+3 Media Cooperation Forum organized by the People's Daily, the most authoritative and influential national daily newspaper in China with over 2.4 million copies a day, I realize why it has been chosen as the site of this gathering of media from ASEAN, Japan, Korea, and China. Shandong is a showcase of the economic strength of China.
Shandong has seized the economic and trade cooperation opportunities brought about by the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area officially launched January 1, 2010. ASEAN is currently the fourth largest trading partner of Shandong. China's State Council approved this year the Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone Development Plan, making it the first province in China to carry out a national development strategy focused on marine economy.
We were made aware of the latest policies, measures, and results of Shandong being an experimental pilot for regional cooperation among China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea with the construction of the East and North Asia International Shipping Center.
The pride of the citizens of Shandong is reflected in their repeated assertion that Shandong is No. 1 three times. It has the number one mountain, Tai Mountain; the number one river, the Yellow River; and the number one sage, Confucius. Their proclaimed pride of being 111 allowed me to claim in my closing remarks at the Forum that the Manila Bulletin, the Philippines leading newspaper has strong affinity with Shandong, being in its 111th year of existence.
While the forum was held in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, we also visited Zibo and Qingdao cities both as reflective of the foundation of Shandong Province's growth as Jinan. In Zibo City, we saw numerous property development projects and construction of manufacturing facilities. At the China Ceramics Museum, one saw how beauty and utility are combined and gazed at the variety of ceramic's uses through the centuries culminating in space travel facilities.
At the Jinjing Group, one marveled at the glass products used in buildings and with diverse properties - heat saving, green technology, etc. The Shinva Medical Co., Ltd., presented a wide range of medical equipment from the simplest to the complicated, including a complete operating theater. …