Ghana Broadcasting Corporation: Many African countries seem to have increasingly recognized China’s development model and become more active in the BRI, much more than countries in the West. Now what are China’s ideas for further developing Sino-African relations?
Wang Yi: China and Africa have a long-standing friendship. We are good brothers whose destinies and fortunes are entwined. China’s relationship with Africa is at the best it has ever been. China-Africa cooperation continues to be a pace-setter for the rest of the world.
After decades of diligent nurturing, the sapling of China-Africa cooperation has grown into a towering tree that no force can topple. Going forward, we will fully implement the eight major initiatives announced at last year’s FOCAC Beijing Summit and continuously deepen our BRI cooperation. Seizing these two opportunities, we can build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.
China-Africa cooperation is becoming more and more successful, and this brings some criticisms and smears. But there’s deep mutual trust between our two sides, our friendship is time-tested and the fruits of our cooperation can be seen across the African continent. You may have noticed that some African leaders and individuals have come out against the ludicrous claim that China is setting up a “debt trap” or acting like a “neo-colonial power”. It shows that such slanders have no audience in Africa.
China-Africa cooperation has always been open and inclusive. Africa’s development requires more input from the international community. The exemplary effect of China-Africa cooperation can be leveraged to encourage more countries to give greater attention, weight and input to Africa. When all of us combine our strength, we can contribute more to peace and development in Africa.
Associated Press of Pakistan: The relations between India and Pakistan have become tense following recent escalations. This situation could endanger peace and stability in South Asia. As a neighbor and an important country, what is China’s position on this issue?
Wang Yi: The recent events have refocused international attention on Pakistan-India relations. China has stressed from the beginning the need to exercise calm and restraint, prevent escalations, find out what has happened and resolve the matter through dialogue. In the meantime, the countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity should be fully respected. China has followed these principles in its mediation efforts and played a constructive role in defusing the tension. In the last couple of days, both Pakistan and India have indicated a desire to de-escalate the situation and start talks. We welcome this.
Pakistan and India are neighbors that will always live with each other. They are both heirs to a millennia-old civilization on the South Asian subcontinent. Both countries face important opportunities to realize stability, development and prosperity. China hopes the two countries will get along, help each other and progress together. We sincerely hope that Pakistan and India will transform the crisis into an opportunity and meet each other halfway. We advise both parties to quickly turn this page and seek a fundamental, long-term improvement in their relations. When confrontation gives way to dialogue and disagreements are settled by goodwill, they can create a better future through cooperation.
TASS: Last year the US government made a decision to pull its troops out of Afghanistan. There is a lot of international attention on the peace and reconciliation process there. Will China step in to fill the vacuum left by the US?
Wang Yi: Afghanistan is at a critical moment. We see both the potential dawn of peace and a buildup of risks and challenges. Pursuing peace requires more courage than stoking conflict. We appeal to all parties in Afghanistan to set store by the greater good of their country and people, seize the major opportunity for political reconciliation, settle differences through dialogue, beat swords into plowshares and join hands to push open the door to peace. We call on the international community to give firm support for the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned reconciliation process, play a constructive role from the sidelines and build a momentum for dialogue.
There is no vacuum in Afghanistan that needs to be filled, because the land belongs to the Afghan people. This year marks the centenary of Afghanistan’s independence. China ardently hopes that this country, after suffering so much, will have a rebirth, take destiny into its own hands from now on, and enjoy genuine independence and lasting peace. Afghanistan should not again become an arena of great-power rivalry, nor should it be subject to incessant conflict and mayhem. As Afghanistan’s neighbor and friend, China will, respecting the Afghan people’s wish and needs, continue to do its best for reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
Global Times: How does China view the situation in Venezuela? Washington has reacted strongly to several Latin American countries’ decision to establish diplomatic ties with China. Against this backdrop, how will China approach its ties with Latin America?
Wang Yi: In regard to the latest developments in Latin America, I wish to emphasize China’s principled position as follows:
Firstly, the sovereignty and independence of Latin American countries must be respected. This is a basic norm in international law. It’s up to the people of a country to decide its internal affairs. External interference and sanctions will only aggravate tension and bring back the law of the jungle. There have been plenty of such lessons in history and they shouldn’t be repeated. The sovereignty and independence of every country is precious, and must be cherished and preserved in equal measure. China will continue to support the search for a political solution in Venezuela through dialogue between the government and the opposition so as to keep the country stable and the people safe.
Secondly, Latin American countries’ right to develop relations with China must be respected. The one-China principle is a widely recognized norm of international relations and an understanding accepted and acted upon by an overwhelming majority of countries. The decision by Latin American countries to establish and grow relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle accords with the trend of history and our times. It’s a correct choice that serves their fundamental and long-term interests. Such a choice shouldn’t be interfered with or criticized.
Recent years have seen significant advancement of China-Latin America ties. Our cooperation, which is part of South-South cooperation, is grounded in equality and mutual benefit. It does not target other parties or try to “move other people’s cheese”. In the year ahead, China will deepen its engagement with Latin American countries through the China-CELAC Forum, the BRI and other mechanisms so as to usher our comprehensive cooperative partnership into a new phase.
Bloomberg: Last year Chinese diplomats had rows with their host government in Canada, Sweden, et cetera. Why have they become so assertive?
Wang Yi: Assertiveness has never been part of the Chinese tradition, and hegemony will never be our choice even when we become stronger. Yet like all countries, China will protect its lawful and legitimate interests and will not allow any infringement of its sovereignty and dignity. Whenever such things are at stake, Chinese diplomats, wherever they are in the world, will state China’s firm position.
As a civilization that has run uninterrupted for 5,000 years, China may be said to be the world’s most consistent and predictable country. China’s preference and goal have always been to interact with other civilizations on the basis of mutual respect, live in peace with all countries and pursue win-win results with the rest of the world. China will surely become stronger, but will not be assertive. China values its independence, but will not go it alone. China will stand up for its rights, but will not seek hegemony. Now and in the future, China will always reach fair conclusions on the merits of each matter and act within the bounds of international law.
The Paper: Over the past year, President Xi Jinping and Chairman Kim Jong-un had four meetings and opened a new chapter in China-DPRK relations. What is China’s expectation for the relationship?
Wang Yi: General Secretary Xi and Chairman Kim have had four meetings in less than a year, a record-setting pace of interactions in the 70-year history of China-DPRK ties. Under the joint guidance and push of our top leaders, our traditional friendship is brimming with vitality and our relationship is turning a new chapter.
China-DPRK traditional friendship was forged and nurtured by the older generations of our leaders. It’s a valuable asset shared by both sides which should not and will not be affected by any temporary incident. The 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties is a great opportunity to build on this strong legacy and take it forward. It is in our shared interests to cement and develop our long-standing friendship, and China is determined to do so. China fully supports the DPRK in exploring a development path that suits itself and making continuous progress in socialist construction, in implementing a new national strategy and focusing more on economic growth and better livelihoods, and in keeping to the goal of denuclearization and having its legitimate concerns addressed in this process. China will work with the DPRK to build a strong relationship for the new era, safeguard the fundamental interests of our peoples, move toward solving the issues on the peninsula by political means, and maintain peace and stability in our region.