At the invitation of the Nicaraguan government, Cao Jianming, President Xi Jinping’s special envoy and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), will attend Nicaraguan President’s inauguration ceremony for a new term in Managua on January 10.
CCTV: We noticed that the Chinese Foreign Ministry released “Facts and Figures about China-ASEAN Cooperation: 1991-2021”, which takes stock of the outcomes of the development of China-ASEAN relations over the past three decades. Why did China issue this document? How do you comment on China-ASEAN relations? What expectation do you have for the future of the relations?
Wang Wenbin: The year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. As the 30th anniversary successfully concluded, China released the “Facts and Figures about China-ASEAN Cooperation: 1991-2021” to give a comprehensive account of the development of the relations, present the fruitful outcomes in various sectors, and offer inspiration for future cooperation.
Over the past three decades, the two sides have been upholding the principles of mutual respect, cooperation for shared benefits, solidarity, and inclusiveness and mutual learning. We have found the right path featuring good neighborliness and win-win cooperation, and are forging an even closer community with a shared future. The two sides have deepened dialogue and cooperation at all levels and in various fields, established a complete dialogue and cooperation mechanism involving leaders, ministers and senior officials, held 24 leaders’ meetings and two special leaders’ meetings or commemorative summits, and established mechanisms of 12 ministerial meetings and several senior officials’ meetings. The trade and investment relations between the two sides have grown closer and the largest free trade area between developing countries has been established. From 1991 to 2020, bilateral trade jumped from US$7.96 billion to US$684.6 billion, marking an increase of 85 times. In 2020, ASEAN became China’s largest trading partner, forming a sound pattern of China and ASEAN being each other’s largest trading partner. China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation has delivered tangible benefits to more than two billion people in the 11 countries. It has been warmly welcomed by people of all countries and set a good example of regional cooperation.
In the latter half of November, President Xi Jinping attended the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations with ASEAN countries’ leaders. He gave a profound review of the major achievements of and valuable experience from the course of development, and officially announced the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership, marking a new leap in China-ASEAN relations. President Xi also announced that China will provide an additional 150 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to ASEAN countries and contribute an additional US$5 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. China will provide ASEAN with 1,000 items of advanced and applicable technology, buy up to US$150 billion worth of agricultural products from ASEAN in the next five years, and will provide ASEAN with another US$1.5 billion of development assistance in the next three years to support ASEAN countries’ fight against COVID-19 and economic recovery.
The Regional Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (RCEP) has come into effect. The all-round cooperation between China and ASEAN countries keeps deepening, bringing new opportunities to the development of China-ASEAN relations. China is ready to work with ASEAN to follow the guidance of the important consensus reached at the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, further strengthen the synergizing of development strategies, promote BRI and GDI, improve coordination on international and regional affairs, deepen the integration of interests in all respects and people-to-people exchange, build a better life together, and make new contribution to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
Dragon TV: Can you brief us on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Kenya? Could you give us more information on that, including on the outcomes of this visit?
Wang Wenbin: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has concluded his successful visit to Kenya, during which he met with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and had talks with Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo. He also met the press with Cabinet Secretary Omamo.
State Councilor Wang Yi shared the three goals of his visit to Africa: First, working with Africa to secure a complete victory over the coronavirus. Earlier, President Xi Jinping announced that China will provide another one billion doses of vaccines to Africa. This largest-scale plan to offer assistance to Africa has started to be implemented. We will stand with our African brothers and sisters until the final victory is achieved. Second, accelerating the implementation of the outcomes of the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). We are ready to foster greater synergy with African partners and work harder to follow through on the outcomes of the meeting so as to deliver benefits to the African people, help Africa speed up post-COVID recovery and embark on a path of home-grown and sustainable development. Third, firmly upholding the common interests of China and Africa. China is ready to enhance coordination and cooperation with Africa in international and regional affairs, uphold the UN-centered international system and basic norms governing international relations, defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and make the international order more equitable and reasonable.
The two foreign ministers agreed that China and Kenya will strengthen and deepen our partnership in four respects. First, we will be partners that firmly support each other. We will unswervingly support each other in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, upholding each other’s legitimate and lawful rights and interests, and exploring for development paths suited to respective national conditions. Second, we will be partners in accelerating development and revitalization. We will continue to strengthen infrastructure development, trade and investment cooperation, and support Kenya in accelerating industrialization and modernization. Third, we will be partners in promoting China-Africa solidarity. We will work together to implement the outcomes of the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), continue to promote overall cooperation between China and Africa and jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. Fourth, we will be partners in maintaining regional peace. We will maintain close communication on regional situation and hotspot issues, strengthen coordination and cooperation at the UN Security Council and other platforms, and play a bigger role in promoting regional peace and stability.
The two sides exchanged in-depth views on promoting Africa’s development and strengthening China-Africa cooperation. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that the so-called “debt trap” in Africa is in fact a narrative trap created by forces who do not want to see rapid development in Africa. If there is any trap in Africa, it is the trap of poverty and trap of underdevelopment. China is ready to work with all friendly countries to help African countries speed up post-COVID recovery, get out of poverty, catch up with the times as soon as possible and achieve common development so as to jointly create a better future. The Kenyan side said that there are always some people who like to point fingers at our country, but China has sincerely helped Kenya solve problems and meet our needs with actions. The cooperation between Kenya and China is about timely support between true partners. Kenya is willing to continue deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with China to achieve common development, and we are full of expectations for the future of Kenya-China relations.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang was asked about China's initiative for peace and development in the Horn of Africa and elaborated on it. First, strengthen intra-regional dialogue to overcome security challenges. Second, accelerate regional revitalization to overcome development challenges. Third, explore for effective ways to overcome governance challenges. To support the region in realizing long-term peace and prosperity, China will appoint a special envoy for the Horn of Africa affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to provide necessary support for this goal.
Bloomberg: The defense and foreign ministers of the US and Japan met today and expressed concern about actions by China. They said they are resolved to work together to respond to “destabilizing” activities by China. Does the foreign ministry have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: We have noticed that the US, Japan and Australia pointed fingers at China’s internal affairs during their relevant talks and consultations yesterday and today. I want to stress that China’s position on the Taiwan question and issues related to the South and East China Sea, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are clear and consistent. We deplore and reject the US, Japan and Australia’s gross interference in China’s internal affairs, fabrication of lies to smear China and sabotage of solidarity and mutual trust among regional countries, and have lodged solemn representations with relevant countries.
To defend peace, stability and development in East Asia and the Asia-Pacific, we need to uphold true multilateralism, respect the open and inclusive framework of regional cooperation that was formed over the years, and embark on the path of solidarity, dialogue and cooperation. While professing “free, open, and inclusive”, the US, Japan and Australia are ganging up to form a clique targeting other countries in practice and flexing muscles for military intimidation. This runs counter to the trend of peace and development in the region, and contradicts their self-claimed “opposition to pressure and coercion”. The international community sees this very clearly.
The current priority for the US, Japan and Australia should be earnestly fulfilling their due international responsibilities. We urge countries concerned to stop the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation plan, stop advancing the discharge of the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water into the Pacific, stop denying and whitewashing the history of militarist aggression and seeking the status of a military power by hyping up the situation of the neighborhood, and stop stoking division and confrontation between regional countries. They should be contributors to regional peace, stability and development, rather than troublemakers that spread lies and create obstacles.
China Daily: We noted that the Financial Times published an article which says there are lessons that we might take from China’s common prosperity efforts, in particular, the focus on quality over quantity in terms of growth. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: This article you mentioned tellingly shows that China’s policies and measures to foster a new development paradigm and promote common prosperity and their positive outcomes in recent years have been more and more valued and recognized by the international community.
The concept of common prosperity put forward by the Chinese government originates from the people-centered development philosophy of the CPC. We maintain that we should promote common prosperity through high-quality development, make development more balanced, coordinated and inclusive and continue to narrow the development gap between urban and rural areas and between regions. We will strive to ensure equal opportunities, fair rules and equal rights for all in the process of development, jointly create social wealth and share in development outcomes, put in place an income distribution system that reflects efficiency and promotes fairness, and improve the social security system. We will protect the legal interests and rights of laborers and consumers. While operating legally, enterprises should create more wealth for society. Going forward, the CPC will continue to lead all Chinese people in making the cake bigger and better and sharing it fairly through rational institutional arrangements, and achieve new progress in promoting common prosperity.
I want to stress that China holds that the world belongs to one family and embraces a global vision. We don’t believe in thriving in isolation or putting oneself first, still less do we follow the beggar-thy-neighbor approach, seek decoupling or build walls. The CPC not only led the Chinese people out of poverty and onto the path to common prosperity, but is also making positive contribution to the world poverty reduction cause and providing inspiration and experience on solving the difficulties in modern governance. According to a report from the World Bank, the Belt and Road Initiative's transportation projects could help lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million people out of moderate poverty globally. Besides, the Global Development Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping, consistent with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will foster greater synergy in such areas as poverty reduction, food security, anti-epidemic and vaccine efforts, development financing, climate change and green development. This proposal by China to promote global development has received endorsement and support from UN agencies and other international organizations as well as nearly 100 countries.
China stands ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other parties on poverty reduction, common development and common prosperity, and make greater contribution to meeting the aspirations of people around the world for a better life and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Beijing Daily: The WHO emergency program executive director Michael Ryan said on January 6 that the epidemic control measures for the Beijing Winter Olympics are very strict and strong. Despite some COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, the WHO doesn’t perceive that there’s any particular extra-risk in hosting or running the Games given the arrangements that have been put in place for the athletes by the Chinese side. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted the remarks of the WHO official. We applaud and appreciate the WHO’s long-standing technical support to China for the safe hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games through the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In his New Year’s Message 2022, IOC President Thomas Bach said that “we are looking forward to successful Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and have great confidence that we will stage safe and secure Olympic Winter Games for everybody.”
Recently, athletes and people from all walks of life in many countries, the IOC and other international organizations have expressed their support and expectations for the Beijing Winter Olympics. The excellent and efficient preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics are there for all to see, and the rigorous and scientific epidemic prevention and control work has been widely praised. The Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG), along with the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), have published two editions of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks and formulated anti-epidemic rules for all stakeholders. The relevant measures are formulated in accordance with the latest COVID-19 scientific research, expert opinions and the experience of major international competitions and have been proven effective in test events and training sessions. These strict and strong prevention and control measures will protect the health and safety of athletes and all stakeholders to the greatest extent possible and ensure the safe hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics as scheduled.
With less than a month to go before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China is ready. With the concerted efforts of all parties, we are confident and determined that we will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games to the world, ensure all participants feel spring-like warmth and provide more solidarity, confidence and strength to the world.
AFP: North Korea said that it would not participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics and has accused the United States and other countries of preventing the successful opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics through “diplomatic boycott”. Does China have any response to this?
Wang Wenbin: As close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, China and the DPRK enjoy long-standing friendly and cooperative relations. The DPRK has been actively supporting China’s preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics. We express our appreciation to the DPRK for reiterating on January 5 its support to and solidarity with China in hosting a grand and splendid Olympic Games. China fully understands that the DPRK is unable to attend the Beijing Winter Olympics due to some special reasons. China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the DPRK in all fields, including sports, and make sure that the long-standing friendly and cooperative relations with the DPRK will keep up with the times and achieve new and greater development.
CRI: On January 6, the US State Department announced visa restrictions on eight Cuban officials implicated in attempts to silence the voices of the Cuban people. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: The UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions calling on the US to end economic, commercial and financial embargo on Cuba for 29 consecutive years with an overwhelming majority. The US has imposed unilateral sanctions on Cuban institutions and officials for years, which is typical “coercive diplomacy”. No wonder it has been aptly dubbed by some as the “United States of Sanctions”.
China firmly supports the Cuban government and people in the just cause of defending national sovereignty and opposing strong power interference, and supports the Cuban side in exploring for a development path suited to its national conditions. We urge the US to handle US-Cuba relations in accordance with the purposes of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations, immediately and fully lift its embargo on Cuba and stop interfering in Cuban affairs.
Bloomberg: China fined 7-Eleven Beijing for identifying Taiwan as an “independent state” on its website. Do you have a comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. I want to tell you that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory and the one-China principle is a widely-recognized norm governing international relations and the broad consensus of the international community.
AFP: The US government says that a Chinese national previously employed by Monsanto has pleaded guilty to economic espionage on behalf of China. Does the foreign ministry have any response to this and can you provide any details on this case?
Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. The Chinese government always asks Chinese citizens overseas to abide by local laws and regulations. We urge the US side to handle the relevant case in an objective, just and proper manner in accordance with law and earnestly protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen.
CCTV: The situation in Kazakhstan has not completely stabilized yet, and members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, including Russia, have sent peace-keeping forces to the country. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China noted that the Kazakh authorities are taking forceful measures to crack down on violent terrorist acts and uphold social stability. China supports all efforts that will help the Kazakh authorities to restore calm as soon as possible and firmly opposes the acts by external forces to deliberately create social instability and instigate violence in Kazakhstan. As a brotherly neighbor and permanent comprehensive strategic partner, China will make its utmost effort to provide necessary support to Kazakhstan and help it overcome the difficulties.
The Paper: Given that Kazakhstan is also a member state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), I wonder what role the SCO is going to play in easing the situation in that country?
Wang Wenbin: Upholding the security and stability of its member states and the region is the consistent purpose and task of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). China and other members of the SCO are closely following the situation in Kazakhstan. We believe that the Kazakh authorities will properly resolve the issue, support Kazakhstan in stabilizing the situation as soon as possible and are willing to prompt the SCO to play a positive role to this end.
NHK: The Indian government says China is building a bridge in a disputed border area and accused China of “illegal occupation”. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. I want to stress that China’s infrastructure construction on its territory is entirely within its sovereignty and is aimed at safeguarding China’s territorial sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the China-India border area.
Hubei Media Group: On January 6, US leader said in the remarks to mark one year since the Capitol riot that “From China to Russia and beyond, they’re betting that democracy’s days are numbered ... I do not believe that.” Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Democracy is the common value of humanity that will never decline. Imposing one’s own democratic model on others and stoking division and confrontation, these pseudo-democratic and anti-democratic acts that run counter to true democratic spirit have their days numbered and will eventually be spurned by the international community.
It is hoped that the US can draw lessons from the past and avoid repeating the “Kabul moment” and the farce of the “Summit for Democracy”. It should stop using democracy as a tool for political manipulation, address its own “democratic deficit” and stand on the right side of democratic international relations.