BEIJING: Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi received interviews from Chinese state media on Thursday after attending the series of Foreign Ministers’ meetings on East Asia cooperation, visiting Cambodia, Bangladesh and Mongolia, and hosting the ROK and Nepali foreign ministers’ visit to China.
ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting and East Asia cooperation
In the interview, Wang Yi introduced the main achievements scored in the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting and highlighted China’s efforts in promoting East Asia cooperation.
Wang said that in face of challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic, increases of economic downward pressure on economic and the comeback of the Cold War mentality and camp confrontation, foreign ministers from China and ASEAN’s member states gathered in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh to make a voice of seeking peace, planning for common development, and promoting stability together. It has demonstrated our firm determination to safeguard international fairness and justice, and has made political preparations for the holding of a series of East Asia cooperation leaders’ meetings this year.
In the first half of this year, China-ASEAN trade volume exceeded $450 billion, 11.5 percent increase year-on-year, Wang said, China imported more than $21 billion of agricultural products from ASEAN. The favorable spillover effect of the China-Laos Railway is obvious and the vaccine research, development and production between China and ASEAN member states has increased steadily. All parties believed that China-ASEAN cooperation has become the most successful and dynamic example for all Asia-Pacific regional cooperation, Wang added.
Wang pointed out that the biggest achievements of the meeting came from fully implementing the consensus reached on China-ASEAN Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, carrying out an action plan for the China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and outlining the focus and direction for next-step cooperation.
All parties have agreed to prioritize development and share development opportunities, and have agreed to stick to open regionalism, and carry forward multilateralism, he added, China firmly supports ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation, which is widely welcomed by ASEAN countries.
South China Sea issue
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). During the interview, Wang Yi emphasized the important role of the DOC in maintaining overall stability in the South China Sea.
Wang said that the South China Sea is the “common home” of China and the ASEAN and to safeguard the peace and stability of the South China Sea is the shared interests of China and ASEAN countries. Over the past two decades, all parties have focused on the overall situation, placed the South China Sea issue in an appropriate position, effectively managed differences and disputes, maintained overall stability, and ensured a good environment for the development of China-ASEAN relations, Wang stated.
All parties have highly recognized the important role of the DOC in the South China Sea issue and have agreed to hold the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the DOC, and look forward to issuing a joint leaders’ statement to demonstrate our common determination to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wang said.
In addition, all parties have agreed to resume the consultations on the “code of conduct” in the South China Sea (COC) and made the COC an upgraded version of the DOC. As comprehensive strategic partners, China and the ASEAN countries will firmly uphold the principles of the DOC, advance the consultation process of the COC, deepen maritime dialogue and cooperation, and firmly grasp the correct direction of properly handling the South China Sea issue, and build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship, and cooperation, Wang said.
Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan and the Taiwan question
When being asked about U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region, Wang said that Pelosi landed in China’s Taiwan when the Chinese delegation arrived in Phnom Penh to attend the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting. We immediately condemned Pelosi’s visit, Wang said, the move violated the commitments made by the U.S. government to China on the Taiwan question, violated the basic norms governing international relations and infringed upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Countries including Russia, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Bangladesh, Greece, Turkey, and New Zealand clearly stated that they would adhere to the one-China policy and hope to maintain international and regional peace and stability. The ASEAN foreign ministers issued a statement reiterating the one-China policy, calling for upholding the principles of the UN Charter.
Wang emphasized that China’s countermeasures to Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan are justified, reasonable, necessary, and appropriate. It is the United States and the Taiwan authorities that are changing the status quo on the Taiwan question. China’s countermeasures are for the sake of peace in the Taiwan Strait and maintaining the regional stability.
Wang reiterated that the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs is the “golden rule” for governing international relations. China’s move is to safeguard the basic norms of international relations and safeguard the international fairness and justice.
Wang warned against three dangerous trends as the situation develops.
He said that, firstly, it is necessary to be prepared for the United States gathering some accomplices to pour fuel on the fire, enhancing regional military deployments, further escalating the situation and attempting to create a new and bigger crisis.
Secondly, we must be wary of “Taiwan independence” forces misjudging the situation, continuing to collude with external forces, and heading further along the path of splitting the country, he added.
Thirdly, he said we must be wary of politicians in some countries following suit. This will seriously undermine the political foundation for relations between China and these countries, and will seriously undermine the UN Charter and the post-World War II international system.
China’s white paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” which was released recently, Wang said, stated that we have been closer to, more confident in and capable of achieving the goal of national reunification than at any time in history.
Wang Yi said that China and Cambodia are important close neighbors and best friends. The friendship between the two countries has stood the test of international situations and is unbreakable.
During this visit, Cambodia adheres to the one-China principle, resolutely opposes any words and deeds that violate China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will stand with the 1.4 billion Chinese people, he emphasized.
In recent years, the two countries have jointly built the “Belt and Road” with high quality, which has brought benefits to the two peoples. During the visit, China and Cambodia agreed to strengthen the docking of development strategies and implement various cooperation, he added.
Meanwhile, Wang said that China will continue to provide vaccine assistance according to Cambodia’s needs, carry out cooperation in traditional Chinese medicine, import more Cambodian high-quality agricultural products, increase Cambodian flights to China, and facilitate Cambodian students returning to China to resume classes.
Wang Yi expressed that China and Bangladesh are friendly and neighboring strategic cooperative partners, and this visit to Bangladesh aims to continue friendship and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation.
During this visit to Bangladesh, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized that Bangladesh cherishes its friendship with China and regards China as an important partner for maintaining peace and common development, Wang added, the Bangladeshi side stated that it abides by the one-China principle, believes that Taiwan is part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China, and does not approve of provocative actions by individual countries.
Wang said that China and Bangladesh agreed to enhance political mutual trust, practice the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, support each other in safeguarding national independence, national dignity and core interests, and support each other in taking a development path that suits their national conditions.
In addition, China and Bangladesh agreed to enhance the dovetailing of the Belt and Road Initiative with Bangladesh’s Vision 2041, and deepen cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, digital economy, and green development.
Wang Yi announced that China decided to grant duty-free access to 98 percent of Bangladeshi goods, and support Bangladesh in expanding exports to China.
The two countries also agreed to strengthen social and cultural exchanges, signed a new cultural and tourism exchange plan, and made it clear that exchanges and cooperation in the field of poverty alleviation will be strengthened, Wang added, China welcomes Bangladeshi students to return to China to resume classes, and will increase flights between the two countries in an orderly manner.
Wang Yi said that since his last visit to Mongolia two years ago, he has witnessed encouraging changes in Ulan Bator and felt the vitality of the vast grassland. As a friendly neighboring country, China is heartily pleased for Mongolia’s rapid progress and looking forward to its development and revitalization. Wang Yi briefed the broad consensuses reached by the two sides during the visit.
The two sides agreed that faced with the current complex and volatile international and regional situation, China and Mongolia are closely connected with a shared future, and should be good neighbors more valuable than gold, good brothers sharing weal and woe, and good partners striving for common development.
The two sides are willing to promote the in-depth synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia’s Steppe Road Program, the Global Development Initiative and Mongolia’s New Revival Policy, and China’s “two-step” development strategy and Mongolia’s long-term development vision, so as to create three major engines for further development of bilateral relations.
The two sides reaffirmed mutual respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continue to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests. China supports Mongolia in maintaining stability, focusing on development and exploring a development path in line with its own national conditions. Mongolia emphasizes the adherence to the one-China principle and opposes other countries’ interference in China’s internal affairs. This position has been consistent and has not changed.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation at the border, promoting the opening of ports and connection of railways and highways to the largest possible extent, so as to keep the industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded. The two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the cross-border railway connection program at the Gants Mod port will be important in helping Mongolia to expand its opening-up and achieve strong growth.
The two sides will enhance cooperation in afforestation and counter-desertification. China hopes that both sides support each other in greening the common home and guarding the green land and blue sky.
Wang Yi said that China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are close neighbors and inseparable partners.
Wang said that ROK Foreign Minister Park Jin’s visit to China this time comes on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The two countries agreed to strengthen political and diplomatic communication and pragmatic cooperation, negotiate, and sign a joint action plan for the future development of China-ROK relations between the foreign ministries of the two countries.
The two sides agreed to hold a high-level strategic dialogue between the foreign ministries of the two countries and a “two-plus-two” diplomatic and security dialogue, actively promote the joint research work of the Committee for Future Development of China-ROK relations.
Both sides agreed to speed up the second-phase negotiation on the China-ROK free trade agreement and strive to reach a consensus at an early date; hold dialogues on maintaining the stability of industrial and supply chains, and strive for the integrity, security, smoothness, openness and inclusiveness of industrial and supply chains; stick to trade and investment liberalization, abide by World Trade Organization rules, and uphold the principles of non-discrimination, non-exclusion, openness and transparency.
The two sides agreed to hold the “China-ROK Year of Cultural Exchanges” well, and strengthen exchanges and cooperation between China and the ROK in areas of people-to-people and cultural affairs and media. It’s important to launch more direct flights to further facilitate personnel exchanges.
The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views and expounded respective positions on the THAAD issue. The two sides underlined the need to take seriously each other’s security concerns and to strive to properly handle the issue so that it will not become a stumbling block to bilateral relations.
China expects that after 30 years of changes, the relationship between the two countries should become more mature, more independent and more stable.
Park Jin said the ROK is willing to, on the basis of the ROK-China strategic cooperative partnership, respect each other, and inclusive cooperation to make bilateral relations more mature and healthier.
Wang Yi said, China and Nepal are good neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, good friends who help each other.
During Nepali Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka’s visit to China, the two sides also reached an important consensus on cooperation.
China will continue to firmly support Nepal’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, explore a development path in line with its national conditions.
Nepal firmly pursues the one-China principle and will never allow any activities that use Nepal’s territory to oppose China and undermine China’s interests. Nepal will unswervingly honour this commitment. Nepal supports China’s legitimate position on Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other internal affairs.
The two sides will jointly build the “Belt and Road” with high quality, speed up the feasibility study of cross-border railway.
The two sides will speed up the Kathmandu Ring Road Improvement Project at a faster pace and advance electric power interconnection projects.
Wang Yi announced that China will grant zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of Nepali products. China welcomes Nepal to expand its export to China.
The two sides will strengthen cooperation on justice, combating cross-border cybercrimes, border management, joint prevention and control, and ports, among others.
The two sides will deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges and increase direct flights to facilitate personnel exchanges. China welcomes Nepali students to return to China to continue their studies.