BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- China has established sister-city relations with 2,022 cities or states in 131 countries worldwide, the overseas edition of the People's Daily reported on Monday.
"Sister cities have become a major channel for communication and cooperation between Chinese governments and their foreign counterparts," Li Xiaolin, president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, told the newspaper.
Li Liguo, secretary-general of the China International Friendship Cities Association (CIFCA), said the number of China's sister cities will increase to more than 3,000 by 2020 amid rapid urbanization in China.
"China will deepen exchanges and cooperation in terms of bilateral and multilateral politics, economy and trade, science and technology, culture and education with its sister cities," Li was quoted as saying.
Tianjin, a municipality south of Beijing, formed sister-city relations with Japan's Kobe in 1973, establishing China's first pair of international sister cities.
"The development of twin cities reflects the achievements of China's reform and opening-up policy," the People's Daily quoted CIFCA deputy secretary-general Zhang Heqiang as saying.
"Some coastal cities in China have started to improve their international images, promote industrial upgrading and technological innovation along with their sister cities," Zhang said.