State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press
On 8 March 2019, the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) held a press conference, at which State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered questions from Chinese and foreign media about China’s foreign policy and external relations.
Wang Yi: Friends from the media, good morning. It’s my great pleasure to host this annual press conference again on the margins of the National People’s Congress Session. As always, let me begin by extending festive greetings to all women, including those in this room. Looking back at the past year, we in China’s diplomatic service, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, navigated the complex international currents, forged ahead with a clear sense of purpose, and made new and important strides. Today, I will try to give you a full picture of China’s foreign policy and do my best to improve understanding between China and the rest of the world. Now, I’d be happy to take your questions.
People’s Daily: The year 2019 marks 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). What are the most important achievements and experience of China’s diplomacy in these seven decades? How do they inform what you’re doing today?
Wang Yi: Indeed, 2019 marks 70 years since the founding of the PRC. Under the strong and correct leadership of the CPC, our people have forged ahead as one in the last 70 years and made great strides that have truly impressed the world. On the diplomatic front as well, we have broken new ground, overcome many difficulties and traveled an extraordinary journey. As General Secretary Xi Jinping has rightly stated, China is ever closer to the world’s center stage.
Our diplomatic accomplishments are due, first and foremost, to the leadership of the Party, which is the fundamental political guarantee for China’s diplomacy. For seven decades, the Party has advanced with the times, developed a rich body of diplomatic theories with Chinese characteristics and established a fine tradition with distinctive features. They include: independence as a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy, concern for the common good of humanity, pursuit of equity and justice, commitment to win-win outcomes, the mission of facilitating domestic development, and dedication to serving the Chinese people. At last year’s Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy was established as our guideline, an epoch-making milestone in the development of New China’s diplomatic theories. It sets the fundamental course for our diplomacy in the new era and points the way for navigating through the complex array of issues in today’s world.
The world is experiencing profound shifts unseen in a century. Chinese diplomacy has reached a new starting point. Led by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we will fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, uphold our founding principles and keep our mission firmly in mind. We will remain committed to the path of peaceful development, work for win-win outcomes, uphold the existing international system and shoulder more international responsibilities. We will both strive to create a better environment for China’s rejuvenation and make new and greater contributions to world peace and human progress.
Yonhap News Agency: The second DPRK-US summit did not produce any agreement, making the situation on the Korean Peninsula more complicated and unpredictable. What will China do this year to facilitate denuclearization and the establishment of a peace regime on the peninsula?
Wang Yi: The Hanoi summit was an important step toward a political settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The fact that DPRK and US leaders overcame obstacles to meet again for a candid, face-to-face discussion itself represents a positive development that must be applauded. The international community should encourage both sides to have patience and keep moving toward the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula and establishing a peace regime. If the parties continue their dialogue and stay the course, the day will come when the denuclearization of the peninsula will become a reality. Of course, as the nuclear issue has dragged on for decades and complicated factors are at play, one cannot expect it to be solved overnight. All parties need to have reasonable expectations. One shouldn’t set the bar too high at the outset or make unilateral, unrealistic demands. The key to solving the issue lies in not being a prisoner of history and breaking the cycle of mistrust. As we see it, it would be useful to jointly work out a general roadmap for denuclearization and the establishment of a peace regime. Based on the roadmap and in a phased and synchronized fashion, we may identify specific, interlinked and mutually reinforcing steps, which will be taken in sequence, starting with the easier ones, and monitored in a way agreed to by the parties.
China’s position on the issue has been consistent. We are committed to achieving the denuclearization of the peninsula, to solving the issue through dialogue and to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula. We have been working for these goals for over 20 years and our role has been irreplaceable. China will, along with the other parties, continue to contribute to meeting these goals.
China Arab TV: China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this year. Can you give us an indication of how many foreign leaders are going to attend and what China hopes the forum will achieve?
Wang Yi: The much-anticipated second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will be held in Beijing in late April. It’s the most important diplomatic event China will host this year and an international gathering that will capture the world’s attention. President Xi will give a keynote address at the opening ceremony and chair a leaders’ roundtable. There will also be a high-level meeting, thematic forums and a CEO conference.
The second BRF has three things to watch for: First, the number of foreign heads of state and government expected to attend will be much larger than that of the first BRF. Second, it will be a much bigger gathering with thousands of delegates from over 100 countries. Third, there will be more side events including 12 thematic forums focusing on practical cooperation and, for the first time, a conference organized specifically for the business community.
With the theme of “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”, the second BRF aims to bring about high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China looks forward to a full exchange of views on future cooperation plans.
China will build consensus with the parties on high-quality development, follow the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, champion an open, transparent and inclusive approach to BRI cooperation, and strive for green and sustainable development.
China and the participating countries will seek greater complementarity between the BRI and their development strategies, agree on a line-up of key cooperation projects, promote the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and pay more attention to improving the lives of the ordinary people as we deepen our cooperation.
China will act in the spirit of win-win, focus on improving physical connectivity, build a stronger momentum for common development and forge an even closer partnership.
China will champion open and inclusive cooperation, support economic globalization, uphold multilateralism and work with all to make the world economy an open one.
As President Xi has said, the BRI originates in China, but its benefits are shared by the world. We have reason to hope and believe that the second BRF will be a great success and another milestone in BRI cooperation.