Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press
On 8 March 2018, the First Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress held a press conference. Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered questions on China’s foreign policy and external relations.
Wang Yi: Dear members of the press, good morning. At the outset, I wish to extend festive greetings to all women, particularly the female journalists in this room. I also wish to thank the press, Chinese and foreign, for having shown understanding and support for China’s foreign policy and external relations. Everything we have accomplished, you have played a part. Thank you! Now I am ready to take your questions.
People’s Daily: Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has made unprecedented progress in its foreign relations, which is widely praised across the country. Following the 19th Party Congress, what will be the highlights of China’s diplomatic agenda this year?
Wang Yi: Under the outstanding leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core since the 18th Party Congress, we have traveled on a road of major-country diplomacy that reflects China’s distinct vision, style and values. Producing historic accomplishments, our diplomatic efforts have been instrumental to upholding national sovereignty and interests, and to facilitating domestic reform and development. Last October, General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized in his report to the 19th Party Congress that China will work with other countries to foster a new type of international relations and to build a global community with a shared future. This is the aim of China’s major-country diplomacy in the new era.
The year 2018 kicks off efforts to implement the decisions of the 19th Party Congress. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we in the diplomatic service will take new steps and make new strides. The main highlights of China’s diplomatic calendar will include the following four events we are going to host:
First, the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, which will take place in Hainan this April and focus on reform and opening-up. In this 40th anniversary year of reform and opening-up, we will review China’s successful experience and sketch new possibilities for reform and opening-up in the new era.
Second, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, which will take place in Qingdao this June and focus on revitalizing the Shanghai Spirit. The expanded SCO will rededicate itself to the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust and benefit, equal-footed consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development. The summit will set the SCO on a new journey of consolidation and growth.
Third, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit, which will take place in Beijing this September and focus on the Belt and Road Initiative. A great opportunity for our African brothers and sisters to participate fully in the BRI, the Summit will give new impetus to the China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership.
Fourth, the first China International Import Expo, which will take place in Shanghai this November and focus on further market opening. China will embrace the world with open arms and enormous market potential. All will be welcome to access and benefit from the new opportunities of China’s development.
China’s diplomatic agenda for 2018 are unfolding even as we speak. In the new era, we will work even harder to see that China will enjoy a better environment for development and make greater contributions to human progress.
Reuters: What role does China have to facilitate direct talks between North Korea and the United States? Does China believe that the US needs to withdraw its military forces in South Korea?
Wang Yi: This is the hottest topic right now. Seizing the opportunity of the PyeongChang Olympics, the DPRK and the ROK have had a succession of interactions and achieved a rapid thaw in their relations, reversing the long-standing chill on the Korean Peninsula. The recent developments may seem baffling to some people, but are actually within the bounds of reason. During the Winter Games, the DPRK did not conduct any nuclear test and the US and the ROK suspended their joint exercises targeting the DPRK. This proves that China’s “suspension for suspension” proposal was the right prescription for the problem and created basic conditions for the improvement of inter-Korean relations.
The Korean Peninsula issue has finally taken an important step in the right direction. China fully commends and supports the efforts made by the two Koreas. To return the Peninsula to peace and stability and the nuclear issue to the track of dialogue, these initial steps must be followed up by corresponding and concerted efforts by the parties. To this end, we call on the parties, particularly the US and the DPRK, to engage in dialogue sooner rather than later. We encourage all to follow the dual-track approach of remaining committed to the goal of denuclearization and working actively to establish a peace mechanism on the Peninsula. The parties’ legitimate security concerns, including those of the DPRK, can be addressed in exchange for and in tandem with progress towards denuclearization. This is China’s long-standing position and also the vision set forth in the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Of course, it takes more than one cold day to freeze three feet of ice. Despite light at the end of the tunnel, the journey ahead won’t be smooth. History has reminded us time and again that whenever tensions subsided on the Peninsula, the situation would be clouded by various interferences. Now is a crucial moment for testing the sincerity of the parties. Every effort must be made for peace, and the opportunity must be seized. It falls to all parties to bear in mind the imperative of peace and the well-being of people in the region. All must demonstrate political courage and make a political decision to expeditiously carry out all necessary and useful engagements, both bilateral and plurilateral, and to do their best to restart dialogue and negotiation for the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue. China will continue to make unremitting efforts for this outcome.