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Interview with H.E. Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Tian XuejunBy Greek Diplomatic Life Magazine
2007-05-24

Interview with H.E. Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Tian Xuejun

By Greek Diplomatic Life Magazine

 

GDL: What is the foreign policy of China internationally, and in particular, regionally?

At our current times, peace and development remain the theme while multi-Polarism and globalization is developing in sinuosity. At the same time, the world is undergoing significant and complicated changes. We are faced with opportunities as well as challenges. The peoples of the world are aspiring to share the opportunity and shoulder the challenge to achieve common development.

China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. The fundamental goals of this policy are to preserve China's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, create a favorable international environment for China's reform and opening up and modernization construction, maintain world peace and propel common development. To this end, China strictly abide by the UN Charter and other commonly recognized international norms, and forge friendly relations with other countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. We oppose hegemonism and avoid imposing our values upon others. We also oppose interference into the domestic affairs of others.

Harmony is one of the most important values of the Chinese culture. We call for and promote the building of a harmonious world, which we believe is in line with the trend of the times in the world today and reflects the common interests and aspirations of people across the globe. This embodies a firm commitment on the part of the Chinese government and people to work for world peace and progress. In order to build a harmonious world, there must be political equality and democracy, mutually beneficial economic cooperation, and cultural exchanges that promote common progress. Countries of the world must work together in friendly cooperation to address traditional and non-traditional global security threats and bring about lasting peace and common prosperity for the whole world.

 

 

GDL: China plays a crucial role in talks between the international community and North Korea. How is the current situation and pace of negotiation procedures for a final settlement of the issue?

China has conducted active consultations around the clock with other parties in a highly responsible attitude. The goal of the Six Party Talks cannot be reached by China's effort only. Rather, it requests positive and constructive efforts from all parties concerned. The key is that all parties should fulfill their commitments in a balanced and comprehensive way. We hope to see all parties have continuous and effective cooperation and take solid steps towards the goal of the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

The sixth round of talks has recessed and will restart soon. During this round of talks, the parties listened to reports by the five working groups, and conducted discussions on implementing the initial actions and an action plan for the next phase. The parties agreed that they will continue to advance the process of the Six Party Talks, and reaffirmed that they will faithfully carry out their commitments in the Sept. 19 joint statement and the Feb. 13 joint document.

As for the frozen funds issue, which is a major block for the current round of talks, all Parties concerned have reached an agreement over the transfer of DPRK's funds at the BDA (Banco Delta Asia). The existing problems now are technical and procedural. We have repeatedly advised all parties to have patience and prepare for the difficulties over the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, which is highly significant, complex and sensitive.

 

 

GDL: Cooperation between China and the EU is getting stronger. Which are the areas that are particularly effective, and in which sectors is there room for improvement?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Through all those years EU has made remarkable achievements in maintaining peace and promoting prosperity in Europe. It is our sincere wish that the consolidation of EU will be even successful in the future.

 China-EU relations have a solid foundation. Politically, both sides uphold the multilateralism, advocate the democratization in international relations and maintain the authority of the UN. Economically, China and EU are highly complementary. Culturally, enjoying a long history and splendid civilization, both of us endeavor to keep the diversity of world civilizations.

With some 30 years of development, China-EU relations are becoming more mature and new progress is taking place in all respects of cooperation. EU has become China's largest trading partner with the bilateral trade volume reaching $272.3 billion last year, biggest technology supplying source and the fourth foreign investor, while China now is the second largest trading partner of EU. With the rapid change of the international situations, China-EU share vast common interests in coping with challenges of globalization, maintaining the world peace, promoting mutual developments and solving the international and regional hotspot issues. The strategic consensus and coordination are increased. Henceforth, viewing from an overall and strategic perspective, both sides should continue to advance the development of comprehensive strategic partnership, to realize the potentiality of cooperation, to take consideration of each other's major concerns and to try to promote the bilateral relationship to a new height.

In my opinion, the following four aspects are the key points to promote China-EU relations: firstly, continue strengthening political dialogues and consultations at all levels to build up the mutual political trust; secondly, try to promote positive progress of the negotiations on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between China and EU so as to establish a legal framework for a long, healthy and steady development of China-EU relations; thirdly, expand and deepen actively the China-EU cooperation in all fields such as economy and trade, science and technology, agriculture, education, energy and environment; lastly but not the least, settle the existing differences appropriately, including EU lifting arms embargo on China and recognizing China's complete market economy status as soon as possible and both sides solving properly the disputes in trade and economy areas.

 

 

GDL: The international community is currently facing several crises. China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has a significant role to play in settling international disputes. For example, in the Balkan region, the Kosovo issue is going to be settled at the UN, and in the Middle East, the complex Iraq crisis is still at a deadlock. What is your country's stance on these two issues?

The question of Kosovo is sensitive and complicated; it has a direct bearing on peace and stability in the Balkan and the neighbouring regions. Whether the question of Kosovo can be appropriately resolved is a source of concern to all. In resolving the question of Kosovo, we need to listen to the views of all parties, especially those of neighbouring countries. We must be mindful of the possible impact that the modalities of a settlement could have on neighbouring regions. Any settlement must lead to a lasting resolution of the question of Kosovo; it must not create new turmoil or have a negative impact on the stability of other regions. China has always abided by the principle in international law that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected. The international community and the Security Council should be impartial on the question of the future status of Kosovo and encourage both sides to seek a mutually acceptable plan through constructive negotiations on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

As to the Iraq issue, China welcomes the efforts by the Iraqi Government to stabilize security conditions, promote ethnic reconciliation, and carry out reconstruction. The current security situation in Iraq continues to be unstable and the reconstruction is faced with many difficulties. China holds that the key to solve the Iraq issue is to strengthen the solidarity and dialogue among factions in order to stabilize the security situation as soon as possible and to advance reconstruction together. The UN should continue playing a positive role during such a process. China is willing, together with the international community, to continue to provide all help in her power to achieve peace, stability and development in Iraq.

 

 

GDL: The economy of China is developing at an impressive annual growth rate implementing the scientific concept of development. Nevertheless, there is still a big gap between the rich and poor provinces. What is your Government doing to reduce this gap?

The uneven development of different regions in China has always been one of the issues Chinese government concerns most. As Chinese President Hu Jintao stressed recently, it is one of our top priorities to curb the growing gap between different regions and promote a balanced regional development instead. The very essence of the scientific concept of development is the harmony between man, nature and society. I am happy to tell you that specific plans, mechanism as well as policies have been mapped out in our 11th Five-year program for 2006-2010 that is formulated in line with the scientific concept of development. And they have been carried out accordingly and smoothly. What I want to remind you is that this is a long-term and Herculean task which needs great efforts of more than one generation and can not be achieved during a short period but I firmly believe we must and will accomplish.

 

 

GDL: Since the Establishment of diplomatic ties 35 years ago, the two countries have entered their best period of cooperation in their history. What needs to be done to push for an in-depth development for a comprehensive bilateral strategic partnership?

This year we commemorate the 35th anniversary of establishing our diplomatic relations. There is no reason that we should not feel proud of what we have achieved so far. And this dynamic and multi-faceted relationship is a tribute to the tireless efforts of both the governments and peoples of our two countries. At the moment, the relationship between China and Greece has entered a golden period. It features frequent mutual visits among leaders of both countries, dynamic parliamentary exchanges, increased trade, flourishing cultural events and close cooperation on the international affairs. A comprehensive strategic partnership has been established since 2006, which drew an outline of our bilateral cooperation in the future. We are willing, together with the Greek side, to make concrete efforts in the following aspects, to push forward our mutually beneficial cooperation.

In the political aspect, to forge a closer relationship and consolidate mutual political trust. Maintaining the exchanging visits at all levels, including governments, Parliaments and Parties, and strengthening the cooperation and coordination between our two countries in international organizations.

    To upgrade trade and economic cooperation. Trade and economic cooperation has always served as a key component of and an important driving force for the bilateral relations. Increasing the imports and exports between our two countries, while more efforts should be focused on Marine and Tourism, in which China and Greece share respective advantages and are highly complimentary to each other.

To enhance the exchanges and cooperation of the two sides in the field of Humanity. The civilization history of thousands of years of our two countries has demonstrated that, both of our countries are adept at drawing upon from other cultures and civilizations the positive, beneficial experience and the experience that suited us so as to constantly enrich and widen our own cultures and achieve great progress. In educational area, we will further facilitate the cooperation among education institutions of our two countries, including language teaching in respective countries. In science and technology area, to deepen extensive cooperation ranging from energy, environment, to agriculture.

 

 

GDL: What is the current level of trade relations between China and Greece in both the public and private sectors? Is this cooperation at a satisfactory level and what steps should be taken to strengthen economic relations between the two?

Recent years have witnessed rapid and remarkable development of Sino-Greek trade and economic cooperation. As to the trade relations, the total bilateral trade volume has jumped to $2.28 billion in 2006, two times as much as the one in 2003.  Now, Greece ranks as No.1 trade partner of China in Southeast Europe.   Considering the initiative level where bilateral trade begins and dramatic difference between our two countries in terms of population and economic structure, the present cooperation level is more than satisfactory. And I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the business community and relevant organizations of our two countries that has contributed in this endeavor. However, I have to point out that when we talk about trade, we should not focus only on the tangible goods with the label of made in China or Greece. We can't afford neglecting the service trade, which is not so well recorded in statistics but played a more important role in bilateral cooperation. Taking shipping as an example, service trade related to shipping ranges from ship building, repairing, chartering, seamen recruiting etc. where our two countries have traditionally forged such a strong bond and now envision great cooperative potentials. Allow me to quote the famous figure again, that is, more than 60% of China's import of crude oil and more than half of China's import of cargo is transported by Greek ships. Another outstanding example is tourism. The latest poll in China indicated that Greece ranks among the top 10 overseas destination among Chinese travelers. I suggest that you make full use of your imagination to draw the future picture for bilateral cooperation in this field. As to what steps we have taken to strengthen the economic relations, I prefer action to words as we have always done so. One example is that we have made unrelenting efforts to promote opening of the direct flight between Athens and Beijing, which we believe will inject new energies into bilateral relations.

 

 

GDL: Mr. Ambassador, China and Greece have an old history and culture. In the summer you are opening the official 'Culture Year of Greece' in China. Could you tell us more about this and some examples of what activities are to be included in the programme?

Cultural Year of Greece in China will begin just before the Beijing Olympic Games. It will be held from September 2007 to August 2008 in Beijing and Shanghai and will include a series of events such as performances, cultural, tourism, commercial and historical exhibitions etc. For example, Exhibition "AGON", Exhibition "Byzantine Luxury", Exhibition "Costumes of the Opening Ceremony of Athens 2004 Olympic Games", Concert by the State Orchestra of Hellenic Music, Aristophanes' and Euripides' theaters etc. I believe Cultural Year of Greece will be a big success and further strengthening exchanges and cooperation between Greece and China.

 

 

GDL: As a result of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the assumption of Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games there has been an influx of contacts between the two countries. Is this new pace of bilateral relations between the two to be continued after the Games and how are preparations for the Games coming along?

At the beginning of 21st century, the successive assumption of Olympic Games by Greece and China, two countries with ancient civilizations, will be beneficial to spread the true Olympic Spirit all over the world. Olympic Games cooperation has become a new growth point in our relations. Since the establishment of a joint-committee for cooperation concerning Olympic Games, contacts and cooperation of our two sides have proceeded frequently and smoothly. Olympic Games bring our two peoples closer and greatly promote the cooperation of our two countries in cultural, educational and other fields. I believe this new pace of our bilateral relations will be continued and strengthened after the Games. At present, all the preparations for the Games are undergoing smoothly as scheduled. We appreciate very much the valuable experience we obtained from the Greek side.

 

 

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