China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (center) takes reporters' questions on "China's foreign policy and foreign relations" at the Press Center of the 13th National People's Congress in Bejing on March 8, 2018. (ZHANG YUWEI / XINHUA)
BEIJING - President Xi Jinping has been the chief architect of China's major-country diplomacy, personally involved in planning and conducting "brilliant" head-of-state diplomacy, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday.
Xi visited 57 countries and received more than 110 foreign heads of state since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, deepening the world's understanding of China, enhancing China's profile and influence, and facilitating the solution to many global problems, Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress.
"President Xi's leadership and charisma has earned him and his country many good friends, among foreign leaders who represent a diverse range of cultures and social systems," he said.
Apart from hosting the four major events in China, Xi will attend the BRICS Summit in South Africa, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Papua New Guinea and the G20 Summit in Argentina this year, Wang said.
These will make a positive and responsible contribution to the welfare of Chinese people, interest of China, and wellbeing of the world, and will write a whole new chapter of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era, he said.
Speaking at the press briefing, Wang said China itself had a long way to go to realize modernization and it had no need or intention to displace the United States. "Some Americans allege that China will replace America's role in the world. This conclusion is fundamentally wrong," Wang said.
Despite elements of competition, China-US ties are defined more by partnership, not rivalry, he said.
China's foreign minister Wang Yi was speaking at a press briefing in Beijing on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC)
On trade frictions between the two countries, Wang said that trade war is never the right solution, as it will harm both the initiator as well as the target country in a globalized world.
"In the event of a trade war, China will make a justified and necessary response," Wang said. "We hope China and the US will have a calm and constructive dialogue as equals, and find a win-win solution."
Despite elements of competition, China-US ties are defined more by partnership, not rivalry, he added.
Citing a latest poll, Wang said over 50 percent of the American people have a favorable view of China and the figure has been rising steadily in recent years.
Strategic ASEAN partnership
At the same time, Wang said China looks to upgrade the strategic partnership and build a closer community of shared future with ASEAN.
China will continue to put the cooperation with ASEAN high on its agenda of international cooperation this year.
He cited the three-point approach to help settle regional flashpoints saying that China favored a peaceful, justifiable and constructive approach.
A new blueprint for cooperation between the two sides will be fostered this year.
"The proposed China-ASEAN strategic partnership vision 2030 will lead to better coordination between the Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN's development plans," Wang said.
Meanwhile, cooperation will be broadened in political, security, economic, trade, social and people-to-people fields, according to the minister.
Additionally, more efforts will be made to build a Lancang-Mekong economic development belt. China will support ASEAN community building and work for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, he said.
Committed to South China Sea peace
China has strong resolve and deep commitment to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wang Yi asserted.
"China's position is firm and consistent," Wang said at the press conference.
China follows a responsible approach to the South China Sea issue, taking into account interests of the Chinese people, historical facts, regional peace and the international rule of law, Wang said
China follows a responsible approach to the South China Sea issue, taking into account interests of the Chinese people, historical facts, regional peace and the international rule of law, he said.
Wang said there is a golden opportunity as China and ASEAN countries all agreed to develop a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to preserve its hard-won tranquility.
"China and ASEAN countries are willing and able to draft regional rules on our own, rules which will meet our region's imperatives and be adhered to by all," he said.
However, Wang said there are also challenges in the South China Sea.
"Some outside forces are not happy with the prevailing calm, and try to stir up trouble and muddle the waters. Their frequent show of force with fully-armed aircraft and naval vessels is the most destabilizing factor in the region," he said.
According to Wang, China will work with ASEAN countries to seize the opportunity, broaden cooperation, prevent interference, and overcome challenges in the year ahead.
"Cherishing what we have achieved together, China and ASEAN countries will speed up COC consultation, explore a mechanism of cooperation among the coastal states and promote peace and cooperation in the South China Sea," he said.
Mutual trust with India sought
The Chinese foreign minister Thursday called mutual trust "an issue that needs to be addressed urgently" between China and India.
"With political trust, not even the Himalayas can stop us from friendly exchanges. Without it, not even level land can bring us together," Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress.
When China and India, the two largest developing countries in the world, each with a population of more than 1 billion, become modernized,the two countries must do everything to empathize with and support each other, he said.
Despite elements of competition, China-US ties are defined more by partnership, not rivalry, Wang Yi said
Chinese and Indian leaders have developed a strategic vision for the future bilateral ties, which is the Chinese "dragon" and the Indian "elephant" must not fight but dance with each other, he said.
Stressing that shared understanding between the two countries far outstrips difference and common interests far outweigh frictions, Wang said China is willing and ready to carry on traditional friendship.
He said he hopes the two sides will replace suspicion with trust, manage differences through dialogue and build a future through cooperation.
China, Japan partners
Wang said Thursday that Japan should earnestly implement the political understanding that "China and Japan see each other as partners, not threats."
China is willing to work with Japan to restore the relationship to healthy and steady growth, as long as Japan "does not prevaricate, flip-flop or backpedal and instead accepts and welcomes China's development," Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the National People's Congress.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
"Never forget why you started, and you can accomplish your mission. At this important juncture, we ask Japan to have political credibility and act accordingly to cement the political foundation of its relations with China," Wang said.
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Dialogue with DPRK urged
Wang said China urged the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to make contact and conduct dialogue as soon as possible.
All relevant sides, particularly the US and the DPRK, should make contact and conduct dialogue as soon as possible based on the "dual-track approach," advance denuclearization of the peninsula and promote peace mechanisms, Wang said.
He also called for resolving the legitimate security concerns of all sides including the DPRK on an equal footing.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula is easing as the DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been engaged in a series of contact thanks to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, according to Wang.
China's suspension-for-suspension proposal has proven to be a right prescription for the problem in creating the basic conditions needed for improving inter-Korea relations, Wang said.
The next step is to bring the situation on the Peninsula back to the track of peace, and the nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue, he said.
"There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it will not be all smooth sailing ahead of us," Wang said, as various disruptions could occur when tensions ease off.
Tackling regional flashpoints
Wang Yi also said China takes a peaceful, justifiable and constructive approach to help settle regional flashpoints.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China takes seriously of its responsibility for maintaining international security, Wang said.
China is for resolving the legitimate security concerns of all sides, including the DPRK on an equal footing
Wang pointed out that China today is in a much better position to help resolve various regional and international issues and is ready to play its part, which accords with international anticipation.
"In helping to settle regional flashpoints, China has its do's and don'ts," he said.
China prefers a political settlement through dialogue and negotiation and firmly rejects use of force, Wang said.
China respects other countries' wishes and sovereignty, never meddles in their internal affairs and firmly rejects imposing one's own views on others, according to the minister.
"We do our best to be fair and objective, and proceed from the merits of the matter. We firmly rejects pursuing private interests," he added.
No place for bloc confrontation
Wang said stoking a new Cold War was out of sync with the times and inciting bloc confrontation will find no market.
Wang made the remarks in response to media reports on the "Indo-Pacific" strategy, which claimed that it was introduced to contain China.
Wang cited the official positions of the United States, Japan, India and Australia as "it targets no one."
"I hope they mean what they say and their actions match their words," said Wang at the press conference.
"There's never a shortage of headline-grabbing ideas, but they are like sea foam in the Pacific or Indian Ocean," said Wang.
"They may get some attention but will be short-lived," he said.
'China threat theory' laid to rest
It is time the "China threat theory" was laid to rest, the Chinese foreign minister said.
Those who do not have bias or practice double standards will see China's development as an opportunity instead of a threat, Wang said at a press conference on the sidelines of the national legislature's annual session.
For decades, the West has made all kinds of assessment and predictions about China. To some Westerners, China is either collapsing or threatening, according to Wang.
"As China grows, the 'China collapse theory' has collapsed and become an international laughing stock. Meanwhile, the 'China threat theory' with its various sensational versions is losing market," he said.
Citing facts in the past years, Wang said for years China has been the leading contributor to global economic growth at more than 30 percent. "China's contribution is bigger than that of the United States, Japan and euro zone combined."
China accounts for more than 70 percent of poverty reduction worldwide, a miracle in human history.
"As the largest contributor of peace-keeping personnel among the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the second largest contributor to the UN peace-keeping budget, China is bearing a weighty responsibility for maintaining world peace," he continued.
In the past five years, with its Belt and Road Initiative and other major proposals, China has come to the fore in championing global governance, free trade and an open global economy, Wang said.
BRI a transparent initiative
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global public good that follows international rules, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday.
It is an international cooperation platform that follows market principles, Wang made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress.
The BRI is a transparent initiative that follows the "golden rule" of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, Wang said.
"Everything is in the open," Wang told reporters. "There is no backroom deal, and every step is transparent."
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an international cooperation platform that follows market principles
The foreign minister said China sincerely asks for ideas from all parties to make the BRI a success. China will work on both hardware connectivity of infrastructure and software connectivity of policy, regulation and standard.
More than 140 countries participated in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation last May, which is a clear vote of confidence from the international community, according to the minister.
The Chinese Foreign Minister welcomed African countries to board China's "fast train of development."
"As we work together for a community with a shared future for humanity, African brothers and sisters are welcome to get on board China's fast train of development," Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
Changes in the world will not break China-Africa friendship or China's promise of sincerity, real results, friendship and good faith to Africa, Wang said.
"Africa's concerns are China's concerns. Africa's priorities are China's priorities," he said.
The cooperation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) does not target or seeks to replace anyone, Wang Yi said Thursday.
"China will not move anyone's 'cheese,'" Wang said on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress. "China and LAC are helping and supporting each other as fellow developing countries."
Wang said China's cooperation with the region has grown rapidly because it suits the needs of the LAC nations, helps improve the livelihoods of their people, and boosts the LAC nations' capacity for self-driven growth.
When describing China-LAC relations, Wang cited a Chinese proverb: "Nothing not even mountains or oceans can separate those with a shared goal."
Promoting Xiongan New Area
China will promote Xiongan New Area to the world this year, Wang said.
Xiongan New Area, established in April 2017, is a new economic zone about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing in Hebei Province. It is the third new area of national significance after the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area.
He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said Tuesday the area welcomes foreign investment that meets its functional requirements.
"Projects from the world over, which can meet requirements of the non-capital functions from Beijing and high quality development, are welcome," He said at another press conference.
Major infrastructure projects had begun in the new area, including the construction of a rail link with Beijing. Travel time between Beijing and Xiongan will be 30 minutes.
Wang began his briefing by extending greetings to women including female journalists present and expressed gratitude to Chinese and foreign journalists for their support of China's diplomacy.
Wang began his briefing by extending greetings to women including female journalists present
He listed the four events to be held in China this year at the press conference.
First, Boao Forum for Asia annual conference will take place in Hainan this April, and focus on reform and opening-up.
Second, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit will take place in Qingdao this June, and focus on revitalizing the Shanghai Spirit.
Third, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit will take place in Beijing this September, and focus on the Belt and Road Initiative.
Fourth, the First China International Import Expo will take place in Shanghai this November, and focus on further opening up of market.
Adhere to 1992 Consensus
The Taiwan authorities should return to the 1992 Consensus as soon as possible, Wang said.
"The key to unlocking the cross-Straits stalemate lies in recognizing the 1992 Consensus and acknowledging that the two sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China," said Wang.
"This correct move will create a bright future for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations."
"Adhering to the one-China principle and not having official ties with Taiwan have become a generally observed norm in international relations," he said.
"It is a correct choice in line with the tide of history to establish diplomatic relations and carry out regular cooperation with the government of the People's Republic of China, the sole legal representative of the whole of China.
"Such a choice would best serve the long-term interest of these countries and their people. Of course this is the overriding trend and an unstoppable one," he said.
China and the European Union (EU) should speed up negotiations on a bilateral investment protection treaty, Wang said.
China wants to partner with Europe to create a more stable world in what are uncertain times
"Global governance has emerged as a new dimension of China-EU cooperation. The two have a shared responsibility to safeguard the global free trade system," Wang said.
China wants to partner with Europe to create a more stable world in what are uncertain times, according to the foreign minister.
"In spite of some disagreements, both sides have realized the need to put oneself in the other's shoes, be more open, tolerant and have more understanding of each other," Wang said.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. Earlier this year, both French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May paid visits to China.
"We hope at the end of the year China-EU relations will be as strong as when we started it," Wang said.
He also stressed that China would always support European integration and had faith in Europe's future.