Busy diplomatic agenda revealed as China pursues "proactive" global role

08:19, March 08, 2011      

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Chinese President Hu Jintao is going to Russia, Premier Wen Jiabao will join a summit with leaders of Japan and Republic of Korea in Japan, and Vice President Xi Jinping plans for a U.S. trip "at an appropriate time" this year.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Monday revealed a busy globe-trotting schedule of the country's top leaders this year, after a successful state visit of President Hu to the United States in January, in addition to a host of multi-lateral events China will host or participate in.

"We will carry out diplomatic work in an all-round way this year" to foster a more favorable external environment for China's development while contributing more to the building of a harmonious world, Yang said at a press conference in Beijing.

China on Saturday unveiled its blueprint for economic and social development in the next five years, which predicts the external environment for China's development will be complicated by a lot of factors such as energy, resources, food, climate change and protectionism.


President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to Russia this year at the invitation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Yang told the press on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

He said the two countries will work together to step up their cooperation on some key projects in such fields as economy and trade, high technology as well as their exchanges at local levels.

In May, Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with leaders of Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in a three-country summit in Japan, during which the government heads should give priority to the joint research on a free trade area and the negotiation process for investment agreements, Yang said.

"We need to deepen cooperation in recycling economy, science and technology and environmental protection, and step up cultural and people-to-people exchanges," Yang told reporters.

He also announced that Vice President Xi Jinping will visit the United States "at an appropriate time" this year, after his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden's trip to China in mid 2011, and a series of high-level meetings on trade and diplomatic ties.

"There is now good atmosphere in China-U.S. relations," Yang said, though he acknowledged some differences or even frictions that need to be "properly handled on the basis of mutual respect."

In mid April, China will host a meeting of leaders of "BRICS" group, referring to major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in the southern city of Sanya, Hainan Province.

China hoped the meeting will produce important and positive results as BRICS nations have played an important and constructive role in tackling global financial crisis and climate change and facilitating economic recovery, Yang said.

The schedule of Chinese leaders will be filled with many other multilateral events including the 10th anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June, the East Asia Summit in October, the G20 summit in November in Cannes, France, and the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Hawaii.

In 2012 China will also host a ministerial level meeting under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

"All these are very important international conferences. ... We believe China will make greater contribution to the success of these meetings and to promote regional and international cooperation," Yang said.


Commenting on the view that China, now the world's second largest economy, is emerging as a rival of some other countries, Yang said China wants a competition on the basis of equality and fairness, in the pursuit of mutual benefit and common development.

"Competition should be viewed with an open and inclusive mind and conducted on equal and fair terms," the minister said, adding China opposes politicizing trade issues and rejects double standards and discrimination.

"While pursuing its own interests, one needs to accommodate the interests of others, one should learn to put himself into the shoes of others. ... One should not advance its interests at the cost of others," he said.

China's development offers a broader space for its cooperation with other countries, such as African nations where some 2,200 km of railways and 3,400 km of highways have been built with Chinese assistance, according to Yang.

"As the process of globalization keeps deepening, countries are becoming increasingly inter-dependent. In the same boat we should help each other, instead of crowding someone out," Yang said.

Responding to calls for "global governance" to tackle emerging global threats such as climate change and food crisis, Yang said global governance should help foster a more favorable environment for developing countries, not otherwise.

The Group of 20 serves as an important platform for global economic governance in meeting crucial economic and financial challenges, because it represents a useful attempt to build a new type of global partnership for development and reflects the changing landscape of the global economy, Yang said.

He said he hoped the G20 summit to be held in Cannes later this year can help facilitate the shift the G20's role from a short-term mechanism for crisis response to a long-term mechanism for global economic governance.

He expects the Cannes summit can take more steps to support the interests of developing countries, and the G20 countries can increase their input in supporting the growth of developing countries.


Premier Wen said Saturday that China will carry out multilateral diplomacy "proactively" and play a constructive role in finding solutions to global and hot-spot issues with other countries, and for a stronger, more sustainable and balanced growth of economy.

Yang Jiechi said China, still a developing country, is making greater efforts to fulfill its international obligations and is achieving more positive results in this regard.

At the same time, China can only do that "within the realm of its capabilities," since there are still 150 million Chinese people living in poverty according to the United Nations' standards, he added.

"Every one of them is a member of the Chinese family as well as the global family," Yang said.

"While fulfilling its international obligations, China is contributing to the creation of a better world by handling its own affairs well," he said.


During the two-hour press conference, Yang touched upon various foreign policy issues and voiced China's principles and stance:

-- On China-U.S. ties: China firmly opposes U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. The U.S. should "take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations."

-- On China-EU relations: China will work with the European Union to deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership. "Both sides should work together to pursue the political partnership based on mutual respect and mutual trust and deepen their win-win economic and trade partnership."

-- On China-Japan ties: Maintaining sound China-Japan ties is a wise choice for both. China's Foreign Ministry is ready to maintain good working relations with the next Japanese foreign minister whoever he is.

"Diaoyu Island is a sensitive issue, which should be handled carefully. We have told the Japanese side that last year's accident should not repeat."

-- On ties with neighboring countries: China will stick to the policy of "building friendship and partnership with neighboring countries" and work with neighbors to ensure regional peace and stability so as to create a favorable condition for regional development.

-- On six-party talks: Relevant parties should seize opportunities to resume the talks as soon as possible and to find solutions via dialogue and consultation.

-- On China-Africa relations: China-Africa relations remain sound despite the recent turmoil in North Africa, and the overall situation on the continent is peaceful and stable.

-- On BRICS: BRICS nations are committed to cooperation, not confrontation with the developed countries. "Cooperation among the BRICS countries is open and inclusive. "

Source: Xinhua
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