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State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Gives Interview to Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group on International Situation and China’s Diplomacy in 2021
The following is a transcript of an interview given by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group on the international situation and China’s diplomacy in 2021 on December 30.
Question: In 2021, the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrated its centenary, and China completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieved its first centenary goal. China’s head-of-state “cloud diplomacy” was also very frequent. What is your overall assessment of China’s diplomacy in 2021?
Wang Yi: The year 2021 will go down in history as an important year for both the world and China.
Across the world, the evolution of unprecedented changes picked up speed due to the pandemic unseen in a century. We witnessed the U.S. Capitol riot, the Kabul Moment, vaccine nationalism, resurgence of the Cold War mentality, and many other turmoils. The world is entering a period of turbulence and transformation at a faster pace.
In China, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we have completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, solemnly celebrated CPC’s centenary, and proudly embarked on a new journey toward the second centenary goal. On the diplomatic front, we drew strength from the 100 years of CPC’s achievements, forged ahead through competitions and challenges with courage and grit, writing a new chapter of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
First, head-of-state diplomacy has played the guiding role on China’s diplomatic front. President Xi Jinping had 79 telephone calls with leaders of foreign countries and international organizations, and attended 40 major diplomatic events via video link. He has stepped up strategic communication with foreign leaders to build consensus and promote cooperation across the globe, thus drawing up the grand blueprint and forming strong synergy for building a community with a shared future for mankind. Head-of-state diplomacy has effectively promoted the overall stability of the relations among major countries, deepened friendship between China and its neighbors, and enhanced the mutually beneficial cooperation with developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. It has enabled China to build a more comprehensive and solid global partnership network.
Second, anti-COVID diplomacy has attested to China’s strong sense of international responsibility. We have always been among the first to promote global cooperation against the pandemic, always advocated the number-one feature of vaccines to be global public goods, and always stood at the forefront for the equitable distribution of vaccines. We were among the first to commit to making COVID vaccines a global public good, to support waiving intellectual property rights on vaccine research and development, and to start joint production with other developing countries. We were also among the first to conduct global origins-tracing cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), to reject politicization and stigmatization, and to call for fighting not only the coronavirus but also the political virus. With firm commitments and real actions, China has helped keep the international COVID response in the right direction, and vigorously promoted the building of a global community of health for all.
Third, China’s development-oriented diplomacy has contributed a lot to this global cause. On many occasions including the Boao Forum for Asia, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the China International Fair for Trade in Services, and the China International Import Expo, President Xi Jinping announced a string of new measures, such as a shorter negative list, a more business-friendly environment and greater institutional opening-up, to open wider to the world. This has provided opportunities and made contributions to global economic recovery. In response to the grave challenges of COVID-19 to other developing countries, President Xi Jinping put forth the Global Development Initiative (GDI), with a view to building global synergy on accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so that no country or individual will be left behind. As of today, the GDI has received positive response and support from the UN system and nearly 100 countries.
Fourth, we have defended justice in multilateral diplomacy. We have held high the banner of multilateralism, championed the common values of humanity, and upheld the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. We have taken an active part in shaping global governance system on climate, the environment, health and digital development. We have expounded on the building of a community of life for man and nature, and a community of all life on Earth, offering China’s solutions and vitality to the reform of the global governance system.
Fifth,we have lived up to our solemn commitment of diplomacy for the people. We have worked actively to support the building of a new development paradigm, and to facilitate the opening of “fast tracks” for essential personnel exchanges and “green lanes” for the shipment of emergency supplies, so as to prevent the spread of the virus from abroad and secure the gains in epidemic control at home. We have adhered to a people-centered approach, built a system on the protection of the interests of people overseas and on risk alert and prevention, and successfully rescued dozens of Chinese hostages. We have timely carried out the Spring Sprout program by vaccinating millions of Chinese compatriots living in 180-plus countries. “Wherever you go, your home country is always your strong backing.” -- This is the enduring mission and commitment of China’s diplomacy.
Question: The sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee this year has become a focus of international discussion. How do you think the Plenum will guide China’s diplomacy? How does the international community view CPC’s centenary?
Wang Yi: The sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee comprehensively reviewed the major achievements of the Party over the past century and summarized the Party’s historical experience in ten aspects. Each and every one of them offers important guidance for our work on the diplomatic front.
Upholding the Party’s leadership is the fundamental guidance for China’s diplomacy. In the world today, China’s good governance has gained more and more understanding and recognition. The fundamental reason lies in the Party’s centralized, unified leadership. The leadership of the CPC is the greatest political strength of China’s diplomacy. It is the root of the major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and the institutional guarantee for all our achievements.
Putting the people first is the source of strength of China’s diplomacy. Only when we ground diplomatic efforts in serving the people, can we truly stand all tests and forge ahead. We in the diplomatic service will always put the people front and center. We will defend the interests of the Chinese people and actively follow the principle of people-centered diplomacy. And we will deepen friendship and cooperation with people from other countries to promote greater solidarity of people around the world.
Maintaining a global vision is the original aspiration of China’s diplomacy. While pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the CPC is also committed to promoting human progress and world harmony. This has been the aspiration and mission of the Party since the day of its founding. Keeping in mind both the domestic and international imperatives, we in the diplomatic service will continue to work with other countries to foster a community with a shared future for mankind.
Staying independent is a fine tradition of China’s diplomacy. No matter how the international situation evolves, we will firmly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, and keep to the path of peaceful development. Meanwhile, we will firmly support all countries, especially developing countries, in defending their sovereignty and independence, and exploring the development path suited to their own national conditions.
Standing up for ourselves is a distinctive character of China’s diplomacy. China’s diplomacy has grown stronger in the fight against invasion, blockade, sanction and intervention. It represents the unyielding and tenacious spirit of the Chinese nation, and keeps a fine tradition of safeguarding national interests and upholding fairness and justice. On the new journey toward national rejuvenation, we will continue to firmly oppose all hegemonic and bullying practices and proactively undertake our international responsibility for world peace and development.
This year marks the centenary of the CPC. We have received messages of congratulations from over 600 political parties and organizations of more than 170 countries. In my engagement with other foreign ministers and senior officials, the first thing they said was usually to congratulate on the centenary of the CPC. In our interactions with the world, we can clearly feel that the international community is paying more attention to the CPC, putting more focus on the CPC, and giving more recognition to the CPC.
We in the diplomatic service have also made active efforts to present, defend and promote the correct narratives about the CPC in the world. For example, we launched a program called 100 Stories in CPC’s External Exchanges, which has been read, played and displayed for more than one billion times at home and abroad. We invited diplomats from foreign embassies and representatives of mainstream global media to Yan’an, Jiaxing and other historic sites of the CPC, the Xiangshan Revolution Memorial, and the Museum of the Communist Party of China. These visits have helped foreign friends learn about the centennial history of this major Party and decipher its genetic code. Many foreigners, including some westerners who were once biased, said that the visits gave them a brand new understanding of China and the CPC. They wholeheartedly admire the great achievements by the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC and wish to know more about the recipe for the success of the Party. Going forward, we will continue to present to the world the true, multidimensional and all-round image of China, and seek more and deeper understanding from the international community for China’s system, China’s path, and China’s vision.
Question: The United States and a few other countries are seeking to spread Western values and stoke ideology-driven divisions. This year, we have seen lots of encounters between various different forces in the multilateral arena. What is your take on this?
Wang Yi: Some elements in the world still deem themselves superior, and always want to impose their own will on others. They throw out arbitrary rules, and use human rights, democracy and other high-sounding excuses to smear and contain China and many other developing countries. We must not compromise or back down. Instead, we must face them head on, and pull together with most countries to defend fairness and justice and do the right thing for humanity.
The first encounter was between true and false multilateralism. Certain countries, while chanting slogans about multilateralism in rhetoric, are building exclusive blocs in action. They are attempting to throw the world back into Cold War confrontation. In response, China has pointed out unequivocally that countries need to uphold and practice true multilateralism. We have stressed that there is but one international system in the world, i.e. the international system with the UN at its core. Countries need to resolutely uphold the authority and standing of the UN, jointly oppose division and confrontation, stand together against zero-sum games, and make constant efforts for greater democracy in international relations. This position has been recognized and supported by most countries in the world.
The second was the encounter between true and false rules. A small number of countries talk about a so-called “rules-based order”. But they refuse to accept that rules should be based on commonly recognized international law. What they actually want is to impose the “gang rules” by them and their allies on all other countries. In response, China has spoken up repeatedly at the UN and on other multilateral occasions that there is but one set of rules in the world, i.e. the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the UN Charter. This strong message laid bare certain countries’ intention to practice hegemony under the pretext of rules. It has contributed to the stability of the international order.
The third was the encounter between true and false human rights. The US and a few other countries, despite all their own human rights problems, have long sought to use human rights as a tool to meddle with other countries’ internal affairs, and attack and smear China and other developing countries with groundless accusations. In response, China has stepped forward to set the record straight, articulating China’s outlook on human rights and presenting our accomplishments in human rights development. Meanwhile, we have resolutely pushed back false accusations and let the world see the hypocrisy of the self-styled “champions of human rights”. Justice lies in the heart of people: at the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, we have thwarted, with overwhelming support from other countries, anti-China motions four times in a row this year. Nearly 100 countries expressed their support for China’s just stance at the UN and their strong opposition to interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.
The fourth was the encounter between true and false democracy. The US has staged a so-called “Summit for Democracy”, and fabricated the false narrative of “democracy versus authoritarianism”. In response, China has staunchly upheld the common values of humanity, released a report, The State of Democracy in the United States, and encouraged inclusive discussions about standards and practices of democracy on bilateral and multilateral occasions. Our efforts have laid bare the self-contradictions and shortages of the US democracy, and the US intention has been widely questioned by the international community. The so-called “Summit for Democracy” ended hastily with no consensus, no outcome and no future. This has once again proved that democracy is a common value of humanity, on which no country is entitled to lecture others. Ultimately, it is up to the people of a country to say whether or not their democracy is true and effective.
Question: COVID-19 is still ravaging the world. What is China’s contribution to global solidarity in fighting the pandemic, to international science-based origins-tracing and to faster global economic recovery?
Wang Yi: Since COVID-19 hit, the whole of China has united as one and launched a science-based response, setting a good example of COVID containment for the international community. While bringing the virus under control domestically, China has, from the very beginning, been committed to helping others affected by the virus. We took the initiative to engage in international cooperation against COVID and made contribution to global public health security.
China started with global emergency humanitarian assistance, kicking off the first half of the international campaign against the coronavirus with a focus on providing emergency supplies. Up until now, China has provided about 372 billion masks, over 4.2 billion protective suits and over 8.4 billion testing kits to the international community. Early this year, we began focusing on vaccine cooperation as the international campaign against the virus entered its second half. I wish to take this opportunity to announce that as of 26 December, China has provided more than 2 billion doses of COVID vaccines to over 120 countries and international organizations. China has fulfilled the pledge and commitment made by President Xi Jinping to the rest of the world and has become the biggest provider of outbound vaccines among all countries. One out of every two COVID vaccines administered across the globe is made in China. For many countries, especially developing countries, the first batch of vaccines and the majority of the vaccines they have received came from China. This sets China apart from certain countries which only make empty promises.
Not long ago, President Xi Jinping announced that China will provide another 1 billion doses of COVID vaccines to Africa, including 600 million doses as a donation, to help African countries achieve the goal set by the African Union of vaccinating 60 percent of the African population by 2022. China will also donate additional 150 million doses to ASEAN countries. We support Chinese companies in transferring technologies to developing countries, and have launched joint vaccine production with 20 countries. All in all, China did not do any of this for selfish geopolitical interest, and China did not attach any political strings to these actions at all. Rather, we are taking concrete actions to help build a great wall of immunization for the health of all and a health shield for developing countries.
Question: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between China and Russia. What does it mean for global strategic stability and development when China and Russia shoulder and carry out their responsibilities? How do you see the current China-Russia relations?
Wang Yi: China and Russia are both major countries with global influence. Their strategic coordination and practical cooperation has a global significance and plays an irreplaceable role.
This year, the two countries solemnly commemorated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between China and Russia. President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin officially announced the renewal of the Treaty and made it more relevant in the new era. The two Presidents have stayed in close strategic communication throughout the year, and will get together for the Winter Olympics in a little over a month. Guided by the two Presidents, China-Russia relations have become more mature, stable, resilient and vibrant.
On pandemic response, China and Russia have served as a good example for the world. With solidarity and mutual assistance, the two countries have been pioneering in vaccine research, development, production and global distribution, and jointly opposed the stigmatization and politicization of issues related to the coronavirus and its origins-tracing, showing other members of the international community that solidarity is the right way to fight the pandemic.
On global economic recovery, China and Russia have provided a strong impetus. Their all-dimensional cooperation was greatly elevated to higher levels. Bilateral trade has registered a new record. Major strategic projects are well underway, and cooperation on scientific and technological innovation is advancing rapidly. This has not only improved the well-being of the two countries and peoples, but also created new opportunities for world economic recovery.
On regional stability, China and Russia have provided a solid safeguard. The two countries have maintained high-level strategic coordination, promoted a constructive role of the SCO and BRICS, and strengthened strategic coordination on hotspot issues. These efforts are the core pillar for regional stability and solidarity among developing countries.
On global governance, China and Russia have demonstrated our sense of responsibility. The two countries firmly upheld the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law. We jointly opposed interference in other countries’ internal affairs, unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. Our efforts have helped build a bulwark supporting the practice of true multilateralism and upholding international equity and justice, showing the world how major countries should behave.
We are convinced that as long as China and Russia, as two major countries, stand together shoulder to shoulder and deepen coordination hand in hand, the international order will not fall into disarray, justice in the world will not collapse, and hegemonism will not win.
Question: Over the course of this year, the Chinese and US presidents have held two phone conversations and one virtual meeting. Senior officials of the two countries have held several meetings and talks. Yet in the meantime, the US side continues to make negative moves on China. What is your assessment of the current state of China-US relations? How can the two countries find the right way to get along with each other?
Wang Yi: The relationship between China and the US has indeed seen some changes this year compared with what happened in the past few years. Since China is determined to defend its rights and reject hegemonism, the US side has come to realize that China will by no means make any concession under the threat of maximum pressure, and that such practices will ultimately hurt US interests.
We have seen statements from the US leader and some senior officials that the US does not seek a new Cold War, it does not seek to change China’s system, the revitalization of its alliances is not anti-China, it does not support “Taiwan independence”, and that it has no intention to have a conflict or confrontation with China.
In the meantime, as we have seen, the US continues to stir up trouble on issues concerning China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, causing harm and damage to bilateral relations. This is a typical case of saying one thing yet doing another. This has left US credibility in serious doubt.
The US often claims itself to be a society built on trust. According to ancient Chinese wisdom, a person without credibility could hardly establish himself in society. And this is even more so for relations between countries. If the US side hopes to preserve a level of credibility for itself in the world, it should match its commitments with real, concrete actions to earn trust from the Chinese people and from the international community.
As for China’s US policy, our attitude is clear and consistent. President Xi Jinping has solemnly put forward the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. These three principles sum up the experience and lessons of the half-century-long interactions between the two countries. They represent the right way forward for restoring sound and stable growth to China-US relations. Whether that can become a reality depends on whether the US side can truly and thoroughly understand three things:
First, China’s development and revitalization is a legitimate right of a sovereign country and, more importantly, an inevitable trend that cannot be changed or stopped by anyone. It would therefore be better to keep abreast with this general trend rather than to go against it. As long as the US gives up its obsession with suppressing and containing China, relations between the two countries could return to the right track and develop steadily.
Second, no matter how developed China becomes, it will never take the old path of some Western countries to seek global hegemony, and it has no desire to change, replace or threaten others. As long as the US sees China as a partner instead of an adversary or enemy, the two countries could benefit each other and prosper together.
Third, China’s social system and development path represent the determined option and the collective will of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. We respect America’s system and path, but we will never allow any attempts to smear or sabotage the system and path that we have chosen. As long as the US gives up its obsession with ideological confrontation, the two systems and paths adopted by China and the US could work in parallel and coexist peacefully on this planet.
Question: The EU has stated on multiple occasions that China is both a partner and a systemic rival. The ratification of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment was stalled due to some internal issues on the EU side. Where do you think China-EU relations is heading? What will China do to help remove the obstacles to the investment deal?
Wang Yi: This year, new progress has been made in many areas in the relations between China and Europe. President Xi Jinping has chaired two video summits with French and German leaders. The China-CEEC Summit has been held successfully via video link. Premier Li Keqiang also engaged extensively with European leaders and business community. Economic and trade cooperation between the two sides has enjoyed positive growth despite overall difficulties, with trade volume for the whole year expected to increase by 30 percent from last year to exceed US$800 billion. The China-EU agreement on geographical indications has come into force. High-level dialogues on the environment and climate and in the digital field have been officially launched. The number of freight services of the China-Europe Railway Express recorded a new high. New progress has been made in flagship Belt and Road projects such as the Piraeus Port and the Budapest-Belgrade Railway. The two sides share extensive consensus on such issues as upholding multilateralism and enhancing global governance, and have achieved positive outcomes in tackling climate change and jointly responding to COVID-19.
That said, we have also noticed that Europe’s policy towards China seems to suffer from “cognitive dissonance”. It is hard to imagine that on one hand, Europe seeks to build a comprehensive strategic partnership with China, and on the other hand, it defines China as a systemic rival. This logic has not only undermined China-Europe relations but also brought confusion to European friends themselves. Difference in systems does not mean China and Europe have to be rivals. The two sides could well respect each other, learn from each other, and complement each other. In this context, we stand ready to have closer engagement and communication and earnestly enhance mutual understanding between China and Europe, including open, candid dialogue on such topics as human rights and democracy. Moreover, we hope that Europe, as an important force in the process toward greater multipolarity, will shape an independent, objective and rational perception of China at an early date, and promote and deepen its mutually beneficial cooperation with China following the principle of strategic autonomy. If China and Europe, as two great civilizations, major forces and big markets, can draw on each other’s strengths and forge synergy on the basis of mutual respect, this will augur well for the world and humanity.
On the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, it is an economic and trade agreement with the highest level of opening-up and lowest market access threshold to date for China. It is good for China, and even better for Europe. Obstacles to the agreement are obstacles to one’s own development, and will hurt the long-term interests of the European people.
Question: In November this year, President Xi Jinping chaired the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations via video link. He and leaders of ASEAN countries announced the upgrade of China-ASEAN relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. How do you evaluate the development of China’s neighborhood diplomacy this year?
Wang Yi: This year has been a year of progress and harvest for China and other Asian countries. China has strengthened and upgraded its relations with ASEAN. The two sides have stood together in fighting COVID-19. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has been signed and will soon enter into force. China and ASEAN have stepped up cooperation in the digital economy, blue economy and green economy. Connectivity has been accelerated across the board, and the China-Laos Railway has successfully started operation. The South China Sea issue has been effectively managed under the framework of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and the freedom of navigation and overflight has been protected in accordance with law. On hotspot issues such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, China has stayed in close coordination with countries in the region to jointly safeguard stability in this part of the world.
Asia has remained a region with the greatest vitality and development potential in the world. This has not come by easily. It is the result of years of hard work in solidarity by China and regional countries, and it deserves to be cherished by all. Meanwhile, we also see new challenges in this region. There are two divergent trends: one is to jointly pursue development and prosperity through mutual trust and cooperation; the other is to create division and confrontation through “erecting walls” and “decoupling”. It is important that Asian countries remain clear-eyed, stand firm in their positions, and make the right choice that serves their fundamental and long-term interests. We must not allow any country outside this region to stoke bloc confrontation in the region and push Asia toward a new cold war; we must not allow any country outside this region to undermine existing regional cooperation structure and the regional integration process and replace them with one of their own design; we must not allow any country outside this region to provoke an arms race in the region or even proliferation of nuclear weapons and threaten security and stability in Asia.
Question: The Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was successfully held in November. President Xi Jinping called for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. What measures will China take to further develop its relations with Africa and other members of the developing world?
Wang Yi: This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Not long ago, we successfully held the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC despite the impact of COVID-19. President Xi Jinping put forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation for the first time, set out four proposals for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, and announced nine programs for cooperation with Africa. All this marked a new milestone in the history of China-Africa relations.
Meanwhile, China’s relations with other members of the developing world, including Latin American and Caribbean countries, Arab countries and Pacific island countries, have made important headway over the year, with fruitful results made in various areas of cooperation.
China is a staunch member of the developing world. No matter how the international situation may evolve, China will unswervingly stand on the side of the developing world and unswervingly deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with other developing countries. China’s vote at the United Nations belongs to the developing world. Looking ahead, we will focus on the following priorities:
First, upholding the principle of mutual assistance to jointly develop a shield for immunity. China will continue to make all-out efforts to provide developing countries in need with COVID vaccines and essential supplies to ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries and help boost their capacity, confidence and resolve to fight the virus.
Second, upholding the principle of mutual benefit to jointly develop an engine for development. We will continue to follow the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, advance strategic coordination with other developing countries, increase trade and investment, and expand practical cooperation to support other countries in enhancing capacity for sustainable and self-generated development.
Third, upholding the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith to joint build a bridge for friendship. We will strengthen exchanges and mutual learning with other developing countries in the fields of political parties and political affairs, poverty reduction and development, and medical and health services, deepen friendship among the peoples, jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries, and pass on the spirit of friendship and cooperation from generation to generation.
Question: The hasty withdrawal of the US forces this year has drawn global attention to the Afghan situation. What role has China played in resolving the Afghanistan issue and other hotspot issues?
Wang Yi: In 2021, the entire world witnessed the Kabul Moment, when the US forces left Afghanistan in a rush. Such irresponsible withdrawal has brought a serious humanitarian crisis to the Afghan people and enormous security challenges to regional stability. The scenes of chaos and even shocking brutality at Kabul airport will stay in the memory of humanity forever as a historic mark on the failure of the so-called “democratic transformation”.
Facing the sudden changes in Afghanistan, China did not sit by, but extended a helping hand. We immediately reached out to the Afghan people with emergency humanitarian assistance, especially vaccines, food and winterization supplies. The Afghan people have suffered from years of war and turmoil, and should not have to endure the ravages of the pandemic, hunger and cold any more. China has actively facilitated international coordination and played a constructive role in a stable transition of the Afghanistan situation. These efforts have been welcomed and praised by people across Afghanistan. As we speak, Afghanistan still faces serious challenges in economy, people’s livelihoods, security and governance. China will continue to pursue the policy of friendship toward all Afghan people. We support Afghanistan in building an inclusive government, ending turbulence, restoring stability and rebuilding the country, so that the Afghan people will be able to enjoy the benefits of peace and tranquility.
I want to stress that major countries shoulder special and important responsibilities for world peace and stability. In handling hotspot issues, major countries should uphold justice, not seek selfish interests; promote peace, not abuse the use of force; encourage dialogue, not resort to willful sanctions; and respect the views of the countries concerned, not throw their weight around.
Over the past year, China has kept firmly in mind and fulfilled its responsibility and mission. We have proposed a five-point initiative on promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, with a view to encouraging countries in the region to escape geopolitical rivalry between big powers and achieve self-strengthening through unity. We have put forward a three-point proposal for the implementation of the two-state solution to facilitate a just settlement of the Palestinian question and effective governance in the State of Palestine. We have introduced a four-point proposal for the settlement of the Syrian issue, and supported Syria in accelerating reconciliation and reconstruction as well as returning to the Arab family. We have facilitated the resumption of compliance with the JCPOA to safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. We have promoted dialogue among relevant parties in Myanmar to encourage a relaunch of democratic transition. We remain committed to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and have worked for synchronized progress in the establishment of a permanent peace mechanism and the denuclearization of the Peninsula.
What has happened proves that China’s growing strength increases the force for peace and the rise in China’s influence contributes more constructive factors. China will continue working with the rest of the world, play its due role and make greater contribution to international and regional peace.
Question: President Xi Jinping put forth a Global Development Initiative (GDI) for the first time during the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, which received extensive attention from the international community. What is the relationship between the GDI and the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind? How will China implement the GDI?
Wang Yi: Development is at the top of governance agenda and the permanent theme of human society. Without development, nothing would be possible. The GDI is an international public good from China. It is an important effort to implement the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. And it demonstrates President Xi Jinping’s global vision and people-centered philosophy. The most central concept of the GDI is to put the people front and center. Its most important goal is to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic and accelerate the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Its most fundamental pursuit is to meet the aspirations of people around the world for a better life and realize the common values of humanity. In just over three months since it was proposed, the GDI has won the endorsement and support of multiple international organizations including the UN agencies and nearly 100 countries.
China not only has put forward the GDI, but will also take action to deliver on this major initiative. Through the platform of the UN and multilateral and bilateral channels, we will further synergize development cooperation strategies with other parties and promote collaboration between the development processes of various countries, regions and mechanisms. We will deepen practical cooperation in the eight priority areas of the GDI to generate strong synergy for attaining the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals on schedule. We will actively deliver our commitment to provide an additional three billion US dollars of international assistance in the next three years, and earnestly support other developing countries in fighting COVID and restoring economic and social development. And we will work with all parties to build a global community of development with a shared future.
Question: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of New China in the United Nations. How do you assess China’s role on the international stage in the past 50 years? Why is the practice of multilateralism being highlighted in the current circumstances?
Wang Yi: Fifty years ago, the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China was restored in the United Nations. It was a victory that belongs not only to the Chinese people, but also to all the forces for peace and justice in the world.
Fifty years on, as the world’s largest developing country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is playing an increasingly important role in safeguarding world peace and making more and more contributions to human progress.
We have followed a path of peaceful development. China has never waged a single war, and is always committed to political settlement of hotspot issues. China has contributed more peacekeepers than any other permanent member of the Security Council, and has become the second largest financial contributor to both the United Nations and UN peacekeeping operations.
We have upheld international fairness and justice. China has defended the basic norms of international relations based on the UN Charter, upheld the rights of people from different countries to choose their development paths and political systems according to their respective national conditions, and never hesitated to speak up for other developing countries.
We have implemented a win-win strategy of opening-up. Twenty years after joining the World Trade Organization, China has done more than its commitments on tariff reduction and market access. It has contributed around 30 percent to global growth for many years.
We have actively participated in international affairs. China has been deepening cooperation with the United Nations. To date, it has joined almost all intergovernmental organizations and over 600 international conventions. We have earned the world’s recognition and respect with real action, and the Chinese nation now stands proud in the family of nations.
Five decades on, multilateralism is faced with severe challenges. Certain countries, using multilateralism as a cover, are actually taking unilateral moves. Members of the international community need to jointly call out false multilateralism in various forms, unequivocally uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and make unswerving efforts to promote greater democracy in international relations.
Question: The Beijing Winter Olympic Games will be held soon. The US and a handful of other countries have said that they would not send officials to the Games. What is your take?
Wang Yi: The Olympic spirit is about friendship, mutual understanding, solidarity and fair play. The politicization of the Olympics by certain countries completely violates and discredits the Olympic spirit. At the recent 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, a resolution on Olympic Truce for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games was adopted by consensus. This document, co-sponsored by 173 Member States, speaks volumes about the collective commitment of the international community to the Olympic spirit and their strong support for the Beijing Winter Olympics. Athletes of all nationalities are the real stars on the Olympic stage, cheered on by hundreds of millions of sports fans around the world. The political maneuvering of a few Western politicians will do no harm to a splendid Olympic Games, but only expose their ugly intention.
Following a green, inclusive, open and clean approach, China will ensure high-standard, high-quality preparation for the Winter Olympics, and present to people of all countries a streamlined, safe and splendid Games. We believe that whatever interference there may be, the Beijing Winter Olympics will promote the Olympic spirit, help enhance understanding and friendship between people of different countries, demonstrate the strength of international solidarity and cooperation, and bring more confidence and courage to a world still under the shadow of a pandemic.
Question: This year, China resumed diplomatic relations with Nicaragua and downgraded relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d’affaires, which showed China’s firm will to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. What is your view of the prospects of diplomatic contests regarding Taiwan?
Wang Yi: Recently, Nicaragua resumed diplomatic relations with China and returned to the right track of the one-China principle. China has gained a new friend in the world. This fully proves that the one-China principle is a universally recognized principle and represents people’s aspiration and the trend of the world. On the Taiwan question, let me also emphasize the following:
There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China. This is an undeniable historical and legal fact. Though there is political antagonism between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait as a result of the civil war fought many years ago, China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been severed and will not be severed. This is the true status quo of the Taiwan question and also the essence of the 1992 Consensus reflecting the one-China principle, and therefore forms the foundation for pursuing peaceful development of cross-Strait ties. The DPP authorities, however, have been bent on undermining this status quo and foundation. They are the ones responsible for current tensions in the Taiwan Strait. The US has gone back on its commitment made when it established diplomatic relations with China, condoned and abetted “Taiwan independence” forces, and tried to distort and hollow out the one-China principle. This will put Taiwan into an extremely precarious situation and bring an unbearable cost to the US itself.
The reunification of China is an unstoppable trend. Attempts to seek “Taiwan independence” will inevitably end up in failure. There is no other way out for Taiwan than to reunify with the mainland. This is an inexorable trend of history and the only practical and logical outcome.
Question: In 2022, the CPC will convene its 20th National Congress. As China embarks on a new journey toward meeting its Second Centenary Goal, how will China’s diplomacy serve domestic development? What are China’s diplomatic priorities in 2022?
Wang Yi: China will embark on a new journey in 2022 toward meeting the Second Centenary Goal. We in the diplomatic service will rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and we will fulfill our duty to the Party, help resolve our country’s concerns and dedicate ourselves to the well-being of the people. We will focus on eight priorities:
First, we will make every effort to create a favorable external environment for the CPC’s 20th National Congress. The 20th CPC National Congress is the biggest priority and the most important political event for the Party and the country in the coming year. We will firmly guard against and address all sorts of external risks and challenges and actively tell the stories of the CPC and the Chinese people, so as to foster a secure and stable external environment for the success of the 20th CPC National Congress. This will be the main focus of our diplomatic work throughout 2022.
Second, we will make solid efforts for the success of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Beijing is heading into the Olympic cycle. We will uphold the Olympic spirit, foster a positive, amicable and harmonious international atmosphere for the Games, and present a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games to the world.
Third, we will actively shape the course of reform of the global governance system. In the next year, Asian countries will host a series of multilateral events. China will take over as the chair of BRICS and host the BRICS summit. The APEC economic leaders’ meeting and the summits of G20 and SCO will also be held in Asian countries. “Asia’s time” will come in global governance. We will take an active part, suggest ideas for the way forward, continue to hold high the banner of true multilateralism, and contribute more Chinese wisdom and Asian energy to the reform and improvement of the global governance system.
Fourth, we will take proactive steps to tackle the many challenges in the post-COVID era. We will fully implement the Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative, actively carry out cooperation on COVID drug research and development, uphold international solidarity, and foster international synergy to enhance preparedness against future pandemics. We will also strengthen communication and coordination with other countries and the United Nations, enhance support for realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and promote comprehensive implementation of the Global Development Initiative.
Fifth, we will deepen and expand global partnerships. Next year, China will celebrate important anniversaries of its diplomatic relations with a number of countries. We will take them as the opportunity to consolidate traditional friendship and expand cooperation bilaterally, strive to maintain overall steady and balanced growth of China’s relations with other major countries, continue to advance interconnected development with neighboring countries, and offer full support for all developing countries in sharing the benefits of development.
Sixth, we will continue to resolutely safeguard China’s core interests. We will faithfully fulfill our duties and responsibilities, and fully live up to the expectations of the Party and the people. We will resolutely and forcefully fight off any attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. And we will firmly and effectively fight back against any move to undermine the Chinese people’s legitimate rights and interests.
Seventh, we will actively serve China’s opening-up and development. We will promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and safeguard the stable and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains. We will take an active part in global climate governance, and lend a stronger impetus to China’s domestic endeavor promoting green and low-carbon transition and development. We will implement well the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and work to advance China’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. We will facilitate free trade arrangements with the Gulf Cooperation Council as soon as possible, speed up China-Japan-ROK free trade negotiations, and explore ways to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation with Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. In so doing, we will contribute to the national effort of boosting domestic and international economic circulations and fostering a new development paradigm.
Eighth, we will serve the people wholeheartedly through diplomatic work. We will deepen the reform of consular services, improve the working mechanisms and systems for consular protection, step up legislation concerning consular protection, and accelerate the development of smart consular services and digital consular services. We will speed up efforts to build a system for the protection of Chinese nationals and interests overseas, and take concrete actions to protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and institutions overseas.
The year 2022 is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese lunar calendar. We in China’s diplomatic service will maintain a global vision, forge ahead in confident strides and take concrete actions. We will work in solidarity and collaboration with the international community to bring dynamism to world peace and development with “the vitality of the tiger”, and promote greater progress and “a tiger’s leap” in human development.