D-Day. 1944. Lest We Forget.
Hi everyone - thanks for your forbearance yesterday.

How China views its recent South Pacific excursions - in its own words.

Courtesy Google Translate

Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 4.10.40 pm
Screen Shot 2022-06-06 at 4.10.40 pm

On June 5, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave an interview to the central media after his visit to the South Pacific island country. The full text is as follows:

1. Question: This trip to South Pacific has visited all South Pacific island countries that have established diplomatic relations with China. What is China's purpose?

Wang Yi: Pacific island countries are important members of the big family of developing countries. Although China and the Pacific island countries face each other across the sea, the friendly relations between the two sides have a long history. In 2014 and 2018, President Xi Jinping held two collective meetings with the leaders of the Pacific island countries that established diplomatic ties, and upgraded the relationship between the two sides to a comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development, opening a new chapter in the relationship between China and the island countries. In recent years, the relationship between the two sides has made great strides, bringing tangible benefits to the people of the region and setting a model for South-South cooperation.

China has always adhered to the principle that all countries, big or small, are equal, and advocated that "no one should be missing" in the global sustainable development goals. At present, the new crown epidemic has repeatedly delayed, the global economic recovery is weak, and the international situation is turbulent. Pacific island countries are facing more risks and challenges. This trip to the South Pacific is a journey of peace, cooperation and friendship with all the island countries that have established diplomatic relations with each other.

When talking with me, Tonga's foreign minister quoted two ancient Chinese poems to describe the friendly exchanges with China: "There are confidants in the sea, and the ends of the earth are like neighbors." I returned to her two ancient Chinese poems: "Long distance knows horsepower, and long time sees people's hearts" to show the tenacity and stability of the friendship between China and the island country. We are willing to join hands with our friends from the island countries to implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and leaders of other countries, move forward side by side more unitedly, support each other more firmly, and cooperate more pragmatically and mutually beneficially, so as to promote the development, revitalization, peace and tranquility of the island countries. Make new contributions and build a closer China-Pacific island country community with a shared future.

2. Q: In recent years, the relations between China and Pacific island countries have developed rapidly. What is China's basic policy towards Pacific island countries?

Wang Yi: China and Pacific island countries are both developing countries and share broad consensus, similar concerns and common missions. The direction of China's policy towards island countries has been clear, that is, to continuously push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development. Mutual respect is the basic principle for China to develop relations with island countries, and common development is the fundamental goal of China's cooperation with island countries.

The connotation of China's policy towards island countries can be summarized as "four insistences". The first is to uphold equal treatment. China will continue to uphold the correct concept of justice and interests and the concept of sincerity, amity and sincerity to develop friendly relations with the island countries. The second is to insist on mutual respect. China always respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the island countries, respects the people of the island countries to explore a development path that suits their own national conditions, and does not interfere in the internal affairs of the island countries. The third is to adhere to win-win cooperation. China will deepen pragmatic cooperation with the island countries in various fields, sincerely help the island countries to develop their economies and improve people's livelihood, and share the dividends of China's development with the people of the island countries. Fourth, adhere to openness and inclusiveness. China's cooperation with island countries is not aimed at or interfered with by any country. China is always willing to carry out trilateral or multi-party cooperation with willing developed countries in island countries with an open attitude to achieve multi-win and win-win results.

3. Question: How do you think the island countries view China now? How do you view China's relations with island countries?

Wang Yi: This trip to South Pacific has achieved "full coverage" of the Pacific island countries that have established diplomatic relations. I had extensive and in-depth communication with 17 leaders and more than 30 minister-level officials of the 10 island countries that established diplomatic relations with me, and I personally felt the Pacific island countries' pursuit of development, their desire for cooperation, and their expectations for China.

Over the years, due to their weak national strength and small voice, Pacific island countries are often easily forgotten by the international community, or even marginalized. The island nations proposed that they should not be reduced to "spectators of the world", let alone be left behind, but should keep pace with the world. China is also a developing country, and we can best understand the situation, needs and concerns of small and medium-sized countries. The PNG foreign minister and others appreciated China's unremitting efforts for the development and prosperity of the island countries for nearly half a century, and hoped that other major countries could learn from China. The President of Vanuatu and other leaders of the island countries believe that China is a true friend and good partner of the island countries. The President of Kiribati emphasized the right of the island countries to independently choose partners, and hoped that China would play a greater role in helping the island countries develop. Island countries all hope to ride on the express train of China's development and contribute to their own sustainable development. They all hope to expand exchanges with China, inherit friendship, and consolidate the public opinion foundation for friendship. The island countries also appreciate China's upholding justice in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the island countries on the international stage, and speaking up in global affairs such as climate change.

China is willing to continue to enhance mutual trust and cooperation with Pacific island countries. In the process of revitalization and prosperity of the island countries, China will always be a reliable strategic partner of the island countries.

4. Q: This trip to South Pacific has achieved a large number of cooperation results, which have attracted wide attention from all parties. Can you tell us about the next steps for cooperation with island countries?

Wang Yi: The outside world has paid great attention to this trip to South Pacific, and the response has been positive. At the same time, there are also some comments and suspicions, and some people even spread false information. I would like to reiterate that China's cooperation with Pacific island countries is open, transparent and upright. It does not attach any political conditions, does not impose things on others, does not target any third party, and does not seek so-called "spheres of influence". historical test.

China's cooperation with island countries has always been premised on the needs of the island countries, always focusing on economic development and improving people's livelihood. During the visit, we reached new broad consensus on deepening bilateral pragmatic cooperation.

One is to cooperate in addressing climate change, the most pressing challenge facing island nations. China will continue to support island countries in enhancing their ability to cope with climate change under the framework of South-South cooperation, including training talents for island countries and providing material assistance to deal with climate change. Give full play to China's advantages in the field of new energy and renewable energy, and help island countries promote green and low-carbon transformation.

The second is to help island countries promote diversified development, which is the only way for island countries to move towards modernization. The island country expects to develop the processing industry, increase the added value of products, and speed up the process of industrialization. China fully understands and fully supports it. We are willing to share the development and growth experience with the island countries, help the island countries to turn their resource advantages into development advantages as soon as possible, and effectively improve the independent development capabilities of the island countries.

The third is to work together to do a good job in the big article of the ocean, which is the key to the sustainable development of island countries. The island has a vast exclusive economic zone, rich marine and fishery resources, and huge potential for the development of the blue economy. On the premise of protecting the marine ecology, China is willing to help island countries develop and utilize the ocean rationally according to their wishes, and inject inexhaustible impetus into their own development.

The fourth is to expand emerging industries such as the digital economy, which is the future growth point of the island country's economy. The information and communication infrastructure of the island countries is generally backward. China is willing to provide support for the island countries to develop information technology and digital economy, help them accelerate their own technological progress and industrialization, create more jobs and improve their economic competitiveness.

On this planet, a rich country will always be a rich country, and a poor country will always be a poor country. The 21st century should be an era of accelerated development for developing countries. China has completed the poverty alleviation goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. We are willing to help and support Pacific island countries to achieve the historic mission of accelerating development and revitalization together.

5. Q: The international community is paying close attention to the second China-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers' Meeting. How would you rate this?

Wang Yi: On May 30, I co-chaired the second China-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Suva with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Bainimarama of Fiji. This meeting is the first time that it has been held in an island country since the establishment of the China-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers' Meeting mechanism last year. President Xi Jinping specially sent a written speech to the meeting, pointing out the direction for the successful convening of the meeting.

Participants at the meeting spoke highly of China's mutually beneficial cooperation with island countries, and fully affirmed China's efforts to maintain peace, stability, development and prosperity in the South Pacific region. The meeting discussed the vision and assumption of future cooperation and reached a new consensus. The parties agreed to continue this positive process in order to build more and broader consensus. After the meeting, the Chinese side issued a position paper, focusing on the vision of mutual respect and common development between China and the island countries that have established diplomatic relations, and put forward 15 principled proposals and 24 specific measures. It shows China's positive attitude and pragmatic spirit, and is highly valued by the island countries.

The cooperation between China and the island countries has always been mainly through bilateral channels. At the same time, according to the wishes of the island countries that have established diplomatic relations, they have held foreign ministers' meetings to conduct collective dialogues, increase communication and coordination, and form greater synergy. There are other regional organizations such as the Pacific Islands Forum in this region. China attaches great importance to exchanges with them and is also an important development partner of these organizations. The foreign ministers' meeting mechanism and these organizations complement each other and go hand in hand. The relationship between China and the island countries will present a dynamic situation of "two-wheel drive" between the main bilateral channel and the new multilateral platform.

6. Q: How do you view the competitive and cooperative relations between China, Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific Island countries?

Wang Yi: For Pacific island countries, China is not a "newcomer", but an "old friend" who has known each other for many years. It has been nearly half a century since China established diplomatic relations with the island countries, and they have become friends and partners who help each other and know each other. The all-round development of relations between China and the island countries is not just "born out of nowhere", but "a matter of course".

We have no intention of competing with anyone for influence, nor do we have any interest in engaging in geopolitical competition. China respects the various ties that have been established between the island countries and other countries, and respects the traditional ties between Australia, New Zealand and the island countries. China has carried out some tripartite cooperation with Australia and New Zealand in the island countries. The results are good, and they are also supported and welcomed by the island countries. China is willing to continue to carry out more tripartite or quadrilateral cooperation with Australia and New Zealand in the South Pacific region with an open attitude and in accordance with the wishes of the island countries, so as to give full play to their respective advantages and form greater synergy.

7. During this visit, what progress has been made in the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" between China and the Pacific island countries?

Wang Yi: Pacific island countries are located in the southward extension of the Belt and Road Initiative and are important partners in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. During this visit, we felt that the island countries have high enthusiasm and strong desire to jointly build the "Belt and Road". They all look forward to strengthening the alignment of their own development strategies with the "Belt and Road", and to speed up their own development and revitalization through high-quality joint construction of the "Belt and Road".

China has signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" with the 10 island countries that have established diplomatic ties, and further signed a cooperation plan for the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" with Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. During this visit, China and Kiribati signed an implementation plan for the joint construction of the "Belt and Road", and signed and reached 52 bilateral cooperation outcomes with the island countries that have established diplomatic ties, covering climate change, epidemic prevention, disaster prevention and mitigation, green development, 15 areas of cooperation including medical and health care, agriculture, trade, civil aviation, tourism, and local governments. A large number of mutually beneficial cooperation projects such as the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital General Medical Center have either been delivered or will be launched soon.

China will continue to adhere to the concept of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, strengthen policy communication, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds with the island countries, and actively respond to the island countries' expansion of trade and investment with China, agriculture, forestry, fishery, minerals, energy, tourism, culture and other fields The voice of cooperation, expand market access to island countries, and help island countries better share the dividends of the Chinese market. In a word, China will work with the island countries to tap the potential of cooperation and set up a road of cooperation, development and prosperity in the Pacific Ocean.

8. At the second China-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers' Meeting, China stated that it will successively build six new cooperation platforms for Pacific Island countries. Can you further introduce China's considerations?

Wang Yi: At the first China-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers' Meeting last year, China announced the establishment of a China-China Pacific Island Countries Cooperation Center on Climate Change, a Poverty Reduction and Development Cooperation Center and an emergency supplies reserve, which was warmly welcomed by the island countries. Island countries have special and urgent needs to deal with climate change. The new crown epidemic has exacerbated the occurrence of poverty. Natural disasters are a recurring challenge faced by island countries. The above-mentioned three platforms are what the island country urgently needs and what the island country needs. Among them, the emergency material reserve has played an active role in helping Tonga's post-volcanic reconstruction and the island countries' fight against the epidemic.

At the second foreign ministers' meeting, China announced the establishment of the China-Pacific Island Countries Agricultural Cooperation Demonstration Center, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Cooperation Center, and the Juncao Technology Demonstration Center. Agriculture is the main industry of the island country and is closely related to the livelihood of the islanders. Juncao technical cooperation is a gift given by President Xi Jinping to the people of the island countries. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Cooperation Center complements each other with the emergency material reserve, which can help island countries strengthen comprehensive disaster detection and early warning, and improve emergency rescue capabilities. Once the announcement was made, all the island countries that established diplomatic relations responded enthusiastically and expressed their desire to participate actively.

These six new cooperation platforms are tailor-made for the island country and closely follow the reality of the island country. Under this framework, China will mobilize more resources, build more consensus, carry out manpower training, set up demonstration projects, and work with the island countries to promote the quality and upgrade of cooperation for the benefit of the people of the island countries.

 

Comments