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PHNOM PENH - Zhang Jianmin, Spokesman of the Chinese delegation to ASEAN Foreign Minister Meetings was interviewed by the Xinhua News Agency on China's Asia-Pacific policy here at Tuesday mid-night.
Question 1: The annual ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held today. The Asia-Pacific, especially Asia, has maintained fast development and become one of the most dynamic regions with the fastest growth and a rising status in the world. China is a member of the big Asia-Pacific family. What is China's foreign policy on this region?
Answer: China's commitment to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening-up is born out first and foremost in the Asia-Pacific which is home to China. China upholds the policy of fostering friendship and partnership with its neighbors and sticks to developing friendship and cooperation with all the neighboring countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China's Asia-Pacific policy follows the following basic principles:
-- Uphold cooperation. With deepening globalization and wider application of information technology, the world has increasingly become a global village where countries are inter-dependent on each other. Asia-Pacific countries are important members of the global village, and face the common mission of maintaining peace and stability, the common task of promoting growth and eradicating poverty, and the common challenge of preventing frequent outbreak of disputes and achieving transformation of the mode of development. We maintain that countries abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices, uphold a new concept of solidarity and win-win cooperation, and open up a new prospect of an Asia-Pacific enjoying peace, cooperation and mutual benefit.
-- Seek development. The Asia-Pacific has on the whole maintained a sound momentum of growth. But the region also faces many uncertainties and destabilizing factors. In terms of the external environment, the deep impact of the international financial crisis is still with us. Sovereign debt crises in some countries are still acute. The Western Asia and Northern Africa region remains turbulent. In terms of the internal environment, Asia-Pacific still faces such challenges as uneven development, regional hotspot and non-traditional security issues. We should seize the overriding trend of development, promote better and faster development of the region, make the pie of common interests bigger, let the people in this region enjoy the dividends of development, and effectively resolve multiple challenges through common development.
-- Implement the new security concept. International security threats are more complex and diverse today. Security issues tend to be more explosive, contagious and inter-connected. To effectively meet various security threats, we uphold the new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and seek integrated security, common security and cooperation-based security.
-- Respect diversity. The Asia-Pacific is remarkably diverse and complex. Countries are different in political and economic system, historical and cultural background and social development model. This is the feature of this region and its source of vigor and vitality. We should respect the realities in the Asia-Pacific, carry on the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, seeking common ground while shelving differences and mutual accommodation, and promote diverse and parallel forms of development.
Question 2: You have talked about the basic principles in China 's Asia-Pacific policy. What are the objectives that China seek to achieve in this region?
Answer: China is committed to working with other countries in the region to share opportunities, counter challenges, expand cooperation, properly deal with differences, and build a peaceful, growing, prosperous and harmonious Asia-Pacific.
On the political front, we uphold equality among all countries, regardless of their size, follow the principle of mutual respect and non-interference in internal affairs and work continuously to build political mutual trust and mutual understanding. China believes that the internal affairs of a country should be independently decided by the country itself while regional affairs should be settled by regional countries through consultation on an equal footing. We respect the development paths and values chosen independently by regional countries and the exploration of countries in promoting economic and social development and improving people's living standards. We are committed to enhancing good-neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the region through close high-level contacts and sustained strategic communication.
On the economic front, we are committed to achieving common development in the region and beyond. Many Asia-Pacific countries are at crucial stages of economic development and social transition. China stands ready to step up coordination on macroeconomic policies and support and help regional countries within our ability in order to strengthen the internal drivers and dynamism for regional economic growth, promote balanced economic and social development in regional countries, and deepen common interests for the benefit of development and prosperity throughout the region.
On the security front, we maintain that countries, while upholding their own security, should respect the security of other countries to create a peaceful and stable regional security environment. China advocates and follows a new security concept and opposes any move to ensure one's own security at the expense of others' security. We call on countries in the region to accommodate each other's security concerns, demonstrate as much goodwill, wisdom and patience as possible, solve differences through dialogue and consultation, take gradual steps to build consensus, remove differences and advance cooperation, and work together for an Asia-Pacific security architecture featuring openness, transparency and equality.
On the cultural and people-to-people front, we respect the diversity of our region, work vigorously to increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and join hands with other regional countries to build a large Asia-Pacific family of diversity and harmonious co-existence. China holds the view that countries in the region should respect each other's choice of development path, turn the diversity of the region into vitality and driving force for closer exchanges and cooperation between countries, enhance the affinity and friendship among the people of different countries.
With regard to regional cooperation, given the great diversity of the region, we are working with other regional countries to push forward regional cooperation mechanisms along the path of consensus based on consultation, gradualism, openness and inclusiveness. China maintains that the existing mechanisms should be upheld on the basis of respecting the wishes and accommodating the comfort level of all parties and that various mechanisms should complement and reinforce one another to promote regional cooperation. We respect the presence and interests of countries from outside the region in Asia-Pacific and welcome the active participation of all countries in the Asia-Pacific cooperation process. China is open to and welcomes any cooperation initiative that is conducive to converging interests and common development of regional countries.
Question 3: What are the concrete results of China's Asia- Pacific policy?
Answer: China always gives top priority to its neighborhood in its foreign policy and takes active steps to further good- neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with other Asia-Pacific countries. Since the turn of the century, thanks to the concerted efforts of China and other Asia-Pacific countries, China's development and the development of the Asia- Pacific region as a whole has accompanied and reinforced each other. In the course of working through the crisis together, mutual trust between China and other regional countries has become a deeply ingrained belief and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides has grown in a steady and comprehensive way, ushering in a new era of Asia-Pacific development.
China and other Asia-Pacific countries have conducted close political contacts, established partnerships in various forms and maintained frequent high-level visits and exchanges. In the first half of this year alone, there were over 50 high-level mutual visits between China and other Asian countries. The good- neighborly relations between China and its neighboring countries have strengthened.
China has been actively involved in mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the region in trade, investment, finance, hi-tech, new energy, energy conservation, environmental protection, infrastructure connectivity and FTA building. This has injected strong impetus into regional economic development and presented enormous business opportunities to all countries. China is the largest export market for other Asian countries, the biggest trading partner of ASEAN, Japan, the ROK, India and Australia, and has become the largest source of investment for many countries in the region. China has stepped up its assistance to and personnel and technical training for other countries in the region with a view to promoting common development and common progress.
The people-to-people exchanges between China and other Asia- Pacific countries have deepened. Last year, China co-hosted with relevant countries the "China-Pakistan Year of Friendship", the "China-India Year of Exchange" and activities marking the 20th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue partnership. China held the Asian cultural cooperation forum and the Asian art festival, and received a large number of Japanese and Indian youth. These activities were warmly received by relevant countries and regions and have tremendously boosted the friendship between the Chinese people and people of other countries in the region. Exchanges between China and the relevant countries are in full swing. China has established in Asia more than 100 Confucius institutes and Confucius classes, set up cultural centers in the ROK, Japan and Mongolia, and hosted a large number of Asian students.
China has played an active part in advancing regional cooperation, and made important contribution to its development. In the first half of this year, China successfully hosted the China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting and the first China-Japan-ROK consultation on Asian policies, promoting new progress in the trilateral cooperation. China sticks to the East Asian cooperation architecture with ASEAN playing a central role, 10+1 as the basis, 10+3 as the main channel and the EAS as an important supplement. China has worked for new headway in 10+1 and 10+3 cooperation in economy, trade, finance, food security and people-to-people exchanges. China has steadily advanced its practical cooperation with SAARC and appointed its representative to SAARC. China has actively promoted trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region and supported building APEC into an important regional platform for business cooperation.
China has taken an active part in regional security cooperation, worked hard to facilitate peaceful resolution of regional hotspot issues, actively participated in efforts to meet non-traditional security challenges and played an important role in upholding regional peace and stability. China has played an active role in advancing the Six-Party Talks process for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and made unremitting efforts to maintain peace and stability in Korean Peninsula and to promote long-term peace and stability in Northeast Asia. China has been actively involved in Afghanistan's reconstruction and supported the country in achieving stability and development. It is China's consistent position that disputes over the sovereignty of some islands and delimitation of some waters in the South China Sea should be peacefully settled by the parties directly concerned through negotiations, and that pending the settlement of the disputes, the parties concerned may put aside their differences and engage in joint development. In 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. In 2011, China and ASEAN countries reached agreement on the guidelines for the implementation of the DOC, and launched practical cooperation under the DOC framework. China has set up the China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund and is ready to carry out with ASEAN practical cooperation in maritime connectivity, marine scientific research and environmental protection, safety of navigation, search and rescue and fighting transnational crime to build up mutual trust and expand common interests.
Facts have shown that China has been committed to promoting enduring peace, mutually beneficial cooperation and common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. China will always be a good neighbor, good friend and good partner for other Asia-Pacific countries, and contribute more to building a peaceful, growing, prosperous and harmonious Asia-Pacific region.