Full text of Yang Jiechi's written interview with Xinhua News Agency
2019-12-22 10:04

BEIJING, Dec. 21  -- The following is the full text of a written interview of Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, with Xinhua News Agency on Friday on his visit to Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and Senegal.

Written Interview with Xinhua News Agency

By H.E. Yang Jiechi

Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs

Upon Conclusion of Visits to Three African Countries

1. Against the backdrop of the complex and fluid international landscape, China and Africa enjoy close and frequent high-level exchanges and active interactions at various levels. This reflects the strength of China-Africa relations. What are your expectations for developing China-Africa relations under the new circumstances?

Yang Jiechi: This year marks the 70th anniversary of New China's diplomacy. Over the past 70 years, the unbreakable friendship between China and Africa has stood the test of time and international vicissitudes and has continued to flourish. Developing friendly ties and cooperation with African countries has been the consistent basic policy and firm strategic direction of China's diplomacy. There is no historical baggage or ill feeling between China and Africa. Our close high-level interactions and exchanges between localities and our peoples over the years speak to our traditional friendship and are a hallmark of China-Africa friendly relations.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core has set great store by China-Africa relations. President Xi Jinping has given personal attention to this relationship. Since he took office as President, he has visited Africa four times and held meetings or talks with most African leaders. He has proposed the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests in China's relations with Africa. This has pointed the way for and lent strong impetus to the advancement of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa.

The FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018 was a great success and a historic milestone of solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa. Both sides agreed to build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future and chart the course for the further growth of China-Africa relations. Under the new circumstances, it is the shared aspirations of China and Africa to renew traditional friendship and deepen friendly cooperation. Rain or shine, China will continue to stick together with Africa, shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand, to carry forward this friendship forged by the older generation of Chinese and African leaders.

With the official launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Africa has come to a critical stage in its transformation and development. Now is a prime time for China and Africa to advance Belt and Road cooperation. To date, 44 African countries and the African Union (AU) Commission have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. Steps have been taken to enhance synergy between China-Africa Belt and Road cooperation with the AU's Agenda 2063, the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the development strategies of African countries. China will work with Africa for higher quality and efficiency of our practical cooperation, so that together we can deliver greater benefits to our two peoples and set a fine example of mutually beneficial cooperation between developing countries.

The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. A large group of emerging markets and developing countries are growing rapidly. At the same time, unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practices are on the rise in international affairs, bringing more uncertainty and instability to the world. As it was underlined in the Beijing Declaration - Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future issued at the FOCAC Beijing Summit, China, the world's largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have supported and cooperated closely with each other in international affairs. Under the new circumstances, enhanced strategic coordination between China and Africa serves the common interests of both sides and contributes more to upholding multilateralism and equity and justice. Both China and Africa firmly safeguard the international system underpinned by the UN, the international order anchored on international law and the multilateral trading system centered on WTO rules. No matter how the international situation may evolve, China will stand firm with Africa to jointly uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, safeguard multilateralism and international equity and justice, and contribute to the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

2. Could you talk about the details of your visit to Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and Senegal?

Yang Jiechi: During my visit to Uganda, the Republic of the Congo and Senegal, I was received warmly by all three countries and their people. I met with the presidents of the three countries and had talks with the foreign ministers. We reached many common understandings. I conveyed the hearty greetings of President Xi Jinping to leaders of the three countries and extended congratulations on their achievements in national development and rejuvenation. Leaders of the three countries asked me to convey their warm greetings to President Xi Jinping and spoke highly of the People's Republic of China's great achievements in the past seven decades. China and the three countries are pleased with the good momentum in the growth of our relations. We all agree to continue to keep the good momentum of high-level exchanges and deepen ties and cooperation across the board by enhancing Belt and Road cooperation and completing the follow-up actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit. In this way, we will realize common development through win-win cooperation.

China and Uganda have, building on our traditional friendship, seen ever greater political trust in recent years and more active cooperation across the board. President Yoweri Museveni attended the FOCAC Beijing Summit in China last year. This year he paid a working visit to China and attended the first China-Africa Economic and Trade expo, during which he and President Xi Jinping had fruitful talks. During my visit, I had in-depth exchange of views with the Ugandan leader and the foreign minister on bilateral relations and other issues of mutual interest. The two sides both believe that we should approach bilateral relations from a strategic height and with a long-term perspective. Based on our respective strengths and development needs, we will build synergy between our Belt and Road cooperation and the implementation of the follow-up actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit with Uganda Vision 2040. We will focus on cooperation in trade, industrial capacity, infrastructure and industrial zones to steadily enrich our comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and make our mutually beneficial cooperation a pace-setter in China-Africa cooperation.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the Republic of the Congo. The two countries have a profound traditional friendship. President Denis Sassou Nguesso has already paid three state visits to China at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. During his first trip to Africa in 2013, President Xi visited the Republic of the Congo. During my visit, I had in-depth meetings and talks with leaders of the Republic of the Congo. I expressed China's deep sympathy over the recent serious flooding affecting parts of Congo. Both sides spoke highly of China-Congo relations. We agreed to keep up the momentum of high-level exchanges, enhance friendship and mutual trust, and offer each other firm support on issues concerning the other's core interests and major concerns to demonstrate the strength of our comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. China is ready to continue doing our utmost to support Congo in its economic and social development. The two sides agreed to work together to actively promote cooperation in finance and aviation, and make our cooperation a model for the transformation and upgrading of China-Africa cooperation.

Senegal is the incumbent African co-chair of FOCAC. Senegal was the first West African country President Xi Jinping visited and the first in West Africa to sign a Belt and Road Cooperation document with China. During my visit, the two sides had in-depth discussions on bilateral ties and other issues of mutual interest. Both sides underscored the need to view our relations from a strategic height and agreed to expand cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and within the FOCAC framework, and enhance cooperation in areas like infrastructure and development of industrial zones. China supports Senegal in implementing its Plan for an Emerging Senegal and in hosting the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics. We will work to advance the China-Senegal comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and make our cooperation a paradigm of high-quality and sustainable cooperation. The two countries reaffirmed commitment to their duties as FOCAC co-chairs, and agreed to work together to implement the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit, advance China-Africa relations, and uphold multilateralism and the common interests of developing countries.

During my visit, I briefed leaders of the three countries on the fourth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the Central Economic Work Conference. The three countries congratulated China on the success of these meetings. They spoke highly of China's achievements in modernizing the system and capacity for governance. They expressed optimism in China's development prospects and firm support to China's pursuit of a development path suited to its national reality. They acknowledged China's contribution to the progress of mankind. They expressed firm support for China's domestic and foreign policy and its development path. They applauded China's resolve and courage to deepen reform and opening-up amidst a global slowdown. They expressed full confidence that China will seize opportunities, rise to challenges and make greater progress in its development, thereby contributing more to peace in the world and progress of Africa.

In general, this visit has helped to implement the important understandings reached between President Xi Jinping and African leaders as well as the follow-ups to the FOCAC Beijing Summit. It has enhanced mutual understanding, friendship and win-win cooperation between China and these countries, and achieved its expected goals.

3. You have visited Africa many times in recent years. What do you think of the current situation on the continent? The international community is paying closer attention to Africa. Many countries are enhancing and expanding cooperation with the continent. After your trips this year, can you share with us some of your thoughts?

Yang Jiechi: My visits to African countries have impressed upon me that Africa is a land of promise that has come a long way in its development and shown enormous growth potential. With overall peace and stability, African countries are actively pursuing economic diversification and sustainable, home-grown development, and have maintained the strong momentum of growth.

The coming into being of the AfCFTA marked another major step forward in African integration. Africa is set to further unleash its growth potential. The continent sees its influence in international affairs on the rise and receives increasing international attention and investment. This trend means more alternatives for cooperation and much-needed capital and technology for Africa's growth. It will also help Africa improve its environment for development and realize industrialization and sustainable, home-grown development at an early date.

China's cooperation with Africa has been guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy. Such cooperation has followed the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests and an approach of no interference in African countries' internal affairs, no imposition of our will on African countries, no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa, and no seeking of political interests in investment and financing cooperation with Africa. China has always supported African countries in their search for development paths suited to their national conditions. China is actively involved in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa. We are ready to further enhance cooperation with Africa in peace and security. These consistent policies and practices have stood the test of time. They have won the trust of African governments and peoples and the recognition of the wider international community.

China has long held the view that cooperation with Africa must be based on respect for the desire and call of African countries, and be conducted in an open, inclusive and win-win manner. China's cooperation with Africa does not target any third party. Some people who are unhappy about the growing China-Africa relations have made groundless accusations to defame and attack our cooperation. Their irresponsible behavior has been refuted by both China and Africa and people with vision from the international community. Facts speak louder than words. People with fair judgment can tell right from wrong. Those who attempt to sow discord between China and Africa will find no audience in Africa. Those who attempt to undermine the traditional friendship between China and Africa will only fail.

As Africa's good friend, good partner and good brother, China will continue to firmly support Africa's effort to seek strength through unity and the economic and social development of African countries. We will expand friendly and practical cooperation with African countries in all fields for win-win results. We have no doubt that an even brighter future is ahead of Africa. China will work closely with the rest of the international community to draw on each other's strength and form synergy to contribute together to Africa's peace and development.

4. Senegal, the last stop of your trip, has taken over as the new African co-chair of FOCAC. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of FOCAC. What is your comment on the journey FOCAC has traveled in the past two decades and how will China take forward its relations with Africa in 2020?

Yang Jiechi: Since the inception of FOCAC in October 2000, seven ministerial conferences and three summits have been held thanks to the concerted efforts of China and Africa. FOCAC has grown into a valuable platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for practical cooperation. The Beijing Summit of September 2018 was a great success. As a new milestone in the pursuit of greater solidarity and cooperation and common development between China and Africa, the Summit established FOCAC as an important pace-setter in international cooperation with Africa. Indeed, FOCAC has traveled an extraordinary journey in the past two decades.

First, in keeping with the desire of the two sides, China-Africa relations have been upgraded from a new type of partnership, to a new type of strategic partnership, and to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership. During last year's Beijing Summit, President Xi Jinping and African leaders agreed to build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, adding more substance to the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa.

Second, China-Africa relations and the bilateral ties of China and African countries have been running at a high level. In particular, on the sidelines of the 2018 Beijing Summit, President Xi Jinping had bilateral meetings with all participating African leaders, including 50 heads of state and government and the Chairperson of the AU Commission. The discussions between Chinese and African leaders on friendship and cooperation brought China-Africa friendly ties and mutual trust to a new height and gave a strong boost to the all-round development of China-Africa relations.

Third, all FOCAC meetings have produced practical outcomes that furthered China-Africa cooperation. They have been duly implemented as China takes its commitments seriously. After years of development, the Forum has seen its outcomes spreading across Africa and truly benefiting the African people. At last year's FOCAC Beijing Summit, eight major initiatives were adopted. Their implementation have become part and parcel of the cooperation between China and Africa under the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as implementation of the AU's Agenda 2063 and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the development strategies of African countries. The eight major initiatives have been warmly received by African countries. China and Africa are working together to implement them as quickly as we can.

Fourth, through FOCAC, China and Africa have made our own voice heard on major international and regional issues, adding to the voice of unity and cooperation among China, Africa and other developing countries. As the outcomes of FOCAC have had a positive impact, the international community has paid more attention to Africa and major countries in the world have increased their engagement in Africa. These have brought positive energy and new hope to an international landscape that is otherwise full of uncertainty.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of FOCAC, and will be crucial in the full implementation of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit. Next year will also mark the 60th anniversary of China's diplomatic relations with Ghana and Mali, our traditional friends. Taking the 20th anniversary of FOCAC as an opportunity, China will work closely with Senegal as co-chairs, and with other African countries, to maintain close high-level exchanges and deepen Belt and Road cooperation. We will actively advance institution-building of the Forum, explore new development approaches and cooperation models, and work together to ensure sound implementation of the Beijing Summit follow-up actions, bring our practical cooperation to a higher level, and we will step up coordination and cooperation in international affairs. Together, we will build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, and achieve mutual benefit and common development.

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