with many good technologies that we have, distance is no longer an issue. I mean, we can make good friends all accross the world using these advanced technologies. However, in my own opinion, it is far better (but not necessary) to meet a friend in person rather than phonecalls, chatting, email, etc. - for it will surely strengthen your relation as good friends.
(by the way, in mid-2009, i'm meeting a good friend in China!)
~goodluck to you!