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Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Gives Year-end Interview to People's Daily

2005-12-20

Q: Mr. Minister, what are your perspectives on the international developments this year?

A: The international developments this year have been generally relaxed and stable. On the other hand, some uncertain and unstable factors have emerged. To seek peace and promote development through cooperation has increasingly become a natural choice for countries.

The interaction of multi-polarization and economic globalization has produced profound changes in both international relationship and configuration of interests. Multi-polarization is gaining momentum. There is heated debate over the future of international order. Accelerated economic globalization has led to greater interdependence and closer cooperation and coordination among countries.

Non-traditional security threats have become more acute. The spread of terrorism as well as disasters and pandemics such as tsunami, hurricane, earthquake and bird flu have inflicted huge losses on mankind. Global challenges can only be met through global cooperation-this is now the consensus of the international community.

The world economy has maintained steady growth. But it also faces risks and challenges. To keep the world economy on the track of stable, balanced and sustainable growth is a common challenge facing the international community. The special difficulties encountered by the developing countries in globalization are drawing greater public attention.

Q: What are China's major diplomatic achievements this year in the complex and changing international environment?

A: This year, led by the Chinese Government and with the support of the Chinese people, we have, with the firm belief that the conduct of diplomacy should serve the people and China's national interest, responded to changes in international developments in a cool-headed way and properly handled difficult issues. Working with dedication, we have opened new grounds and contributed our full share to China's social and economic development and reunification.

This year has witnessed new progress in China's friendly cooperation with its neighbors. We have strengthened the mutual trust and cooperation with ASEAN and promoted practical cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China is now an observer of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation. We have been playing a constructive role regarding the Korea nuclear issue and worked hard and enabled the six-party talks to achieve important progress and to issue the Joint Statement.

China enjoys stable and growing relations with major countries. President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Bush have met, written to and telephoned each other on many occasions. They agreed to increase exchange and mutual trust, expand areas of agreement and cooperation and promote China-U.S. constructive cooperation in all fields. China and Russia signed the China-Russia Joint Statement on 21st Century International Order, launched the strategic security consultation mechanism and successfully carried out the first joint military exercises. This has greatly boosted the strategic partnership of collaboration between the two countries. China and the EU commemorated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between them and have further strengthened and enriched their comprehensive strategic partnership.

China's friendly cooperation with other developing countries is growing in depth. President Hu Jintao attended the Asia-Africa Summit and the commemoration activities of the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference. On that occasion, he put forward a proposal on building a new-type Asia-Africa strategic partnership. At the United Nations, President Hu announced new steps to support the development of developing countries, which were warmly received. China has continued to enhance the collective dialogue and cooperation with other developing countries, promote cooperation with African and Arab countries within the framework of China-Africa Cooperation Forum and China-Arab Cooperation Forum and deepen the relationship with the regional organizations in Latin America.

China has played an active role in multilateral diplomacy. It has endeavored to move the UN reform in the right direction. The Chinese leaders attended numerous major multilateral meetings. They include the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of Russia, the dialogue meeting between G-8 members and developing countries, the 60th Anniversary Summit of the UN, the 13th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, the 2nd World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments, the World Summit on the Information Society and the 10+3 Meeting (Meeting of ASEAN Nations and China, Japan and the Republic of Korea). During these meetings, the Chinese leaders expounded China's domestic and foreign policies and sent a clear message to the world that China is committed to pursuing a path of peaceful development.

China's economic diplomacy has also yielded much progress. China has worked hard to settle trade disputes and expand win-win cooperation with other countries. More countries have recognized China's full market economy status. We have taken an active part in the activities of multilateral economic mechanisms and in the formulation of international trade rules. China successfully hosted the G20 Finance Ministers' and Central Bankers' Meeting.

We have upheld China's sovereignty and security. Respectively for the 13th time and 9th time, we foiled Taiwan authorities' attempt to "return to" the United Nations and to attend the WHO Assembly. The Anti-secession Law passed by the National People's Congress has won the wide understanding and support from the international community. China's diplomatic ties with Grenada and the Republic of Senegal were respectively restored.

We have, acting on the principle that the conduct of diplomacy should serve the interests of the people, made great efforts to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and companies overseas. This year, we have handled more than 20,000 cases of consular protection involving kidnapping, robbery, labor disputes and discrimination and unfair treatment.

We have actively conducted public diplomacy by publicizing China's foreign policies and activities to the Chinese public, thus winning their understanding and support. At the same time, we have extensively sought public views and absorb their wisdom to improve our work.

Q: What are your comments on the growing keen international interest in China this year? How do you look at China's role in international affairs?

A: China is the largest developing country. We have maintained stable and fast growth for over two decades. This has benefited not only the Chinese people but also the people in other countries. Most countries welcome and support China's development. They regard China's development as an opportunity to themselves.

China pursues peaceful development, which means to promote development and harmony domestically and enhance peace and cooperation internationally. China will expand cooperation of mutual benefit with all the other countries and develop itself, and, in the course of doing so, contribute to world peace and human progress.

Against the background of deepening globalization and increasing interdependence, China pursues a foreign policy that both safeguards its own interest and expands common interest with other countries, and that addresses not only China's own concern but also the concerns of other countries. China will remain a force for world peace and common development.

Q: The year 2006 is the first year for the implementation of the 11th five-year development guidelines, and China is in an important period with strategic opportunity for development. What are China's mid-term and long-term foreign policy goals?

A: At the Fifth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's future development goals were set. In terms of Chinese diplomacy, the central goal is to maintain and sustain the important period of strategic opportunity, ensure a peaceful and favorable international environment for China's modernization drive and enhance friendship with other countries. In pursuing Chinese diplomacy, we will stick to the scientific approach to development, uphold the banner of peace, development and cooperation, adhere to the independent foreign policy of peace, keep pace with the time, expand friendly cooperation with other countries, handle differences properly and achieve mutual benefit and common progress. We will work hard to make greater contribution to the building of a moderately prosperous and harmonious society in China and to the building of an international order of durable peace and common prosperity.

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