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China sets up agency to flex economic muscles globally

Published on Oct 10, 2012 10:12 AM

HONG KONG - China's Foreign Ministry has set up a new agency to manage "economic diplomacy" in yet another sign that China intends to continue flexing its economic muscle to attain its international goals, a Hong Kong newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The newly-established department of international economics is to "ensure China will be better involved in global co-operation and governance… in a bid to safeguard national interests and economic security", Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at the agency's inaugural meeting in Beijing on Tuesday.

State Councillor Dai Bingguo told the meeting that economic matters were becoming ever more important to China's overall foreign policy. Until now, overseas economic affairs has been overseen by the ministries of agriculture, commerce, finance and others, the South China Morning Post reported.

Analysts said the move, which comes at a time of increasing territorial disputes between China and its neighbours, showed that its leaders intended to keep leveraging on the country's status as the world's second-largest economy in international conflicts.

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