|Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Accepts An Exclusive Interview by People's Daily at the End of the Year|
Q: Foreign Minister Yang, would you please first speak of the features of the international situation this year?
A: In outgoing 2007, there were three major trends moving further, namely economic globalization, multi-polarization and revolutions in science and technology, and international systems and relations went through profound changes. In general, the international situation this year shows the following five distinguishing features:
Firstly, new adjustment occurred to international relations. A group of big emerging countries came to the fore and became important forces driving the growth of global economy and forces to be reckoned with. The dialogue meeting between the leaders from G-8 and developing countries was moving toward institutionalization. The discussions concerning international systems were attracting more and more attention.
Secondly, adjustment and transformation became an international trend. To cope with challenges brought about by globalization, big countries adjusted their domestic and foreign policies, and brought changes to their systems and mechanisms so as to get the upper hand in the new round of competition of overall national power.
Thirdly, issues of global nature were attracting attention from all parties. Climate change became a hot topic this year, with countries raising initiatives and proposals. The energy competition and geo-political competition were interwoven with each other. Energy security became one of major international topics.
Fourthly, global economic and financial risks were on the rise. The global economy, on the whole was good, uncertain factors were on the increase. The international oil price kept going up and the dollar kept going down. There were some new developments to economic nationalism and trade protectionism. The trend of politicalizing economic issues started to prevail.
Fifthly, the development of soft power was attracting the attention of all countries. The major powers in the world paid more attention to the development and application of soft power so as to gain moral advantages, expand their international influence and gain more international support with respect to issues of global nature.
Q: Remarkable achievements were made with China's diplomacy in 2007. There were many new developments with respect to relations with big countries. Could you share with us some of your comments in this regard?
A: Under the leadership of CPC Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary and with the support of the Chinese people, we had an accurate understanding of the complex changes in the international environment, made overall planning for both domestic and international situation, adhered to an independent foreign policy of peace, stuck to the path of peaceful development, insisted on an open strategy based upon mutual benefits and win-win results, persevered in building a harmonious world featuring lasting peace and common prosperity, and properly handled difficult, hotspot and focal issues. We strived to capture opportunities and made pioneering efforts in creating an international environment favorable for the reform and opening-up as well as the building of socialist modernization. We achieved some new results with respect to the relations with big countries, which were mainly reflected in the following aspects:
China-US relations remained relatively stable and witnessed some developments. President Hu Jintao and President George Bush met on many occasions. The second and third strategic economic dialogues and the fourth strategic dialogue concluded successfully. The two countries conducted effective communication and cooperation with regard to major regional and international issues. The two countries strived to resolve the problems and frictions that occurred in bilateral economic and trade relations through dialogues and cooperation, which advanced bilateral cooperation in substantial terms.
China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination moved further. Leaders of the two countries identified the principles and objectives guiding the development of such partnership in the second 10 years. The Year of Russia and the Year of China events, which lasted for 2 years, saw noticeable accomplishment. The social foundation for China-Russia partnership was further solidified.
The momentum of improving China-Japan relations was consolidated. Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders visited Japan, identified and promoted the development of strategic relationship of mutual benefits. Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will soon pay a visit to China. Our two countries resumed the high-level military exchanges that had been stopped for 10 years. The cooperation in such areas as energy, environmental protection and human exchange was developing robustly.
China and EU further strengthened communications and cooperation, which maintained the continuity of bilateral ties. We have formally initiated the negotiations on the partnership accord. The political consultation and dialogue mechanisms at all levels were being improved and the friendly, mutually beneficial and pragmatic cooperation in various areas was being expanded and deepened.
Q: The diplomacy with neighboring countries is an important part of China's diplomatic work. What new results did we achieve while developing relations with neighboring countries this year?
A: We strived to maintain a peaceful and stable neighboring environment through multi-faceted cooperation at all levels this year. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao respectively attended the Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Meeting of Prime Ministers of SCO. We pushed forward the signing of the SCO member states good-neighborly treaty of long-term friendship and cooperation. The anti-terrorism military exercise attended by all SCO member states was successfully held.
President Hu visited Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and Premier Wen visited Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, raising the relations between the states in central Asian region to a new level.
President Hu and Premier Wen respectively attended the informal APEC leader meeting and the meetings of the leaders of East Asia, expounding China's positions and propositions.
We signed the Service Trade Accord with ASEAN and the negotiations on Investment Trade Accord were being accelerated, laying a solid foundation for the creation of China-ASEAN free trade area. China stuck to the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, worked for the reconciliation of the parties, encouraged the peace talks, and succeeded in hosting three plenary meetings of the six-party talks. With the adoption of two important documents, namely the "Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement" and the "Second-Phase Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement", substantial progress was made with the Korean Peninsula denuclearization process. We maintained communications with the parties concerned on the establishment of Korean Peninsula peace mechanisms and Northeast Asia security mechanisms.
We attended the 14th Summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for the first time as an observer, marking a new stage for the development of relationship with SAARC. New progress was made with the cooperation among China, Russia and India.
We cautiously addressed the disputes over neighboring territories and ocean rights and interests and deepened the cooperation with neighboring countries in different areas such as economy, trade, and infrastructure development.
Q: What efforts did we make in expanding and deepening the relations with developing countries in 2007?
A: As a member in the developing world, we pay high attention to building up solidity and cooperation with developing countries. President Hu Jintao, Top Legislator Wu Bangguo, and CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin visited Africa this year. Premier Wen Jiabao attended the annual meeting of African Development Bank held in Shanghai. We promoted the implementation of the outcome of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, especially the 8-point policy measures.
The foreign ministers of China and African countries held the political consultation for the first time during the UN General Assembly, marking the formal launch of the regular dialogue mechanism between the foreign ministers of China and African countries. Facing opportunities and challenges for China-Africa relations in the new situation, both sides further enhanced mutual political trust, deepened economic and trade cooperation, coordinated well in international affairs and achieved satisfactory results.
We consolidated friendly cooperation with countries in West Asia and North Africa. The economic and trade cooperation entered a new stage. The second China-Arab Business Conference was successfully held.
Our cooperation with Latin American countries moved steadily toward different areas. The mutual political trust was reinforced. The economic and trade cooperation kept growing. New achievements were made with the cooperation in such areas as culture, education, science and technology.
We also intensified coordination and cooperation with big emerging developing countries such as India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.
A: China's diplomacy was quite active in the multilateral front this year, with our image as a responsible big country being improved. Would you please share with us your comments in this regard?
A: We made some new achievements in multilateral diplomacy in the past year. President Hu attended the dialogue meeting between the leaders from G-8 and developing countries and the leaders meeting of the five developing countries, fully expounding China's position and propositions on such issues as climate change. We actively participated in international negotiations on climate change by setting up special representatives for climate change negotiations. We were deeply involved in the rules-making work of the UN Human Rights Council. We launched the preparatory work for the 7th ASEM Summit in an all-round manner. We actively participated in the making of international rules.
We tried to help resolve hotspot issues and build up an image of a responsible big country. With respect to Iran's nuclear issue, we insisted on political solution to the issue and carried out extensive diplomatic mediation work. As for Sudan's Darfur issue, we set up a special representative, dispatched peacekeeping engineers to Darfur and offered humanitarian assistance to the region, winning wide recognition of the international community. On the Middle-East issue, we attended the international meeting on Middle-East issue held in the US. We played an active role in promoting the peace process in the Middle East. We attended international meetings on Iraq's issue. We strongly stroke back against the hostile forces that took the human rights and the Darfur issue as excuses to call for boycotting the Beijing Olympics. We properly dealt with the product quality and food safety issues, and safeguarded our national image and interests.
Q: What substantial work did China's diplomacy carry out in 2007 to safeguard our national sovereignty, security, and development interests and create a favorable environment for the building of a moderately prosperous society?
A: It is our holy duty to safeguard our national sovereignty, security and development interests. We strived to gain the support of the international society in opposing the attempts of Taiwan authorities led by Chen Shui-bian to push for the referendum for UN membership. We defeated the attempts of the Taiwan authorities in joining the World Health Organization (WHO) for 11 consecutive times and joining the United Nations for 15 consecutive times. We have successfully resumed our legitimate rights in the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). We established diplomatic ties with Costa Rica. We cracked down on the aggressive arrogance of the splittist forces in Taiwan. We made serious representation and fought strongly against the sales of weapons to Taiwan and the granting of Congressional Gold Medal to Dalai Lama by the United States and the acts taken by certain leaders in certain countries to meet with Dalai Lama.
Proceeding from the overall picture of national development, we vigorously promoted economic and technical cooperation and exchange with other countries, actively pushed forward negotiations on free trade areas and regional cooperation, deeply involved in international negotiations on trade, and strived to advance energy cooperation with other countries.
We always bore the interests of the Chinese people in mind, stuck to the principle of "putting people first" and "diplomacy for the people" and took concrete measures safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and legal persons. The leaders of the party and the government were very concerned of the safety of Chinese citizens abroad and gave out concrete instructions. With the care and leadership of CPC Central Committee, we, with a strong sense of responsibility and mission, properly handled a series of sudden incidents in a timely manner such as the attack on the project team of Sinopec in Ethiopia, the kidnapping of construction workers of PetroChina and Sichuan Teleken Engineering in Nigeria, the casualties of Chinese citizens in the fire of Yeosu, the Republic of Korea, and the killing of Chinese citizens in Pakistan. We also established the Consular Protection Center in our ministry, planned to create overseas security situation grading and evaluation system, promote the legislation of consular protection, enrich and improve the prevention systems, and strived to provide a sound institutional guarantee for the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and legal persons abroad.
With the fast development of China and our increasing influence on the international arena, especially with the approaching of the Beijing Olympic Games, China has become the focus of international media. China fever is raging over the world. We took active measures to introduce the spirit of the 17th National Congress of CPC to the international society, particularly the concepts and practices like scientific development, harmonious development, peaceful development, mutual benefits and win-win results. We implemented the Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period, creating better environment for foreign journalists to report China. This was widely recognized by the international media. The government agencies at all levels actively accepted the interviews of various forms by foreign journalists, introducing China's economy, politics, society, culture and other aspects as well as China's domestic and foreign policies, which enhanced their understanding of China and their friendship with China.
Q: Finally, could you tell us your expectations for China's diplomacy in 2008?
A: The communications and interactions between China and other countries are growing both in width and depth. China's development is closely linked with the development of the world. 2008 marks the first year for the implementation of the spirit of the 17th National Congress of CPC and an important year for China's diplomacy. China will host a series of large-scale international events and meetings such as the Olympic Games and the ASEM Summit. Facing such unprecedented opportunities and challenges, we will unite even closer around the Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, earnestly learn the spirit of the 17th National Congress of CPC and implement the concept of scientific development in an all-round manner so as to better serve the interests of the country and the people and make new contributions to the peace and development endeavor of the world.