On October 21, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan had an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency, in which he spoke highly of the just concluded 9th APEC Informal Leadership Meeting. The details of the interview is as follows:
Q: The 9th APEC Informal Leadership Meeting was just concluded today in Shanghai. Would you please to have an overall assessment of the meeting?
Tang: The meeting is a centennial event at the focus of world attention. The leaders of the member economies of APEC came together in Shanghai, centering upon the theme, Meeting New Challenges in the New Century: Achieving Common Prosperity through Participation and Cooperation, had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on the economic scenario of the world and the Asia-Pacific region, the direction of APEC development in the future, human capacity building and other issues, and issued the APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration.
The meeting represented a steady step forward for Asia-Pacific regional cooperation, consolidated and strengthened friendly and cooperative relations among APEC members, and has also offered an opportunity for the rest of the world to understand China better and vice versa. This is a successful meeting. It has an important and far-reaching impact. As the host of the meeting, China is satisfied with the achievements of the meeting.
Q: It has been 12 years since the establishment of APEC and there have been 9 annual leadership meetings since 1993. How do you put this year's meeting into perspective?
Tang: The summit has been held at a time when humanity has just entered a new century, and the whole world, including the Asia-Pacific region, is facing severe challenges produced by economic globalization and a knowledge-based economy. As the most important economic forum in the region, how to strengthen regional economic cooperation for the promotion of common development in the face of new opportunities and challenges is the historic mission of the summit.
The Shanghai Accord endorsed at this year's APEC meeting has reiterated the members' determination to attain the Bogor Goals in the pursuit of common prosperity, enriched the content of APEC cooperation and enhanced its cooperative mechanism. In addition, the e-APEC Strategy adopted by the meeting will have a positive impact on narrowing the digital divide among member economies and promoting the development of the information industry in the region. This meeting, as a link between the past and future, will have a lasting impact on the future of APEC and is expected to help promote a sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific regional economy.
Q: China hosted this year's APEC meetings. What kind of role did China play in this year's meeting and will play in future APEC process?
Tang: China hosted 21 related meetings, such as APEC Leadership Meeting, Ministerial Meeting, counterpart meetings, and Senior Officials Meeting.
As the host of a series of APEC meetings, China has taken into full consideration different situations facing APEC members and their different concerns and pushed for the discussion of frontier issues facing the global economy and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region as the focus of the meetings. China has also worked hard coordinating the positions of different countries. It is thanks to all these efforts on the Chinese side that the participants have reached consensus on a wide range of issues of common concern and made substantive progress on major issues discussed at the meetings. China has played an irreplaceable, important role in the successful holding of the meetings, for which it has won the praise of all members.
Since it joined the APEC in 1991, China has actively participated in all APEC activities in the spirit of active participation, seeking common ground while shelving differences and promoting cooperation, and that its positive and constructive stance has always drawn praises from other APEC members. With the deepening of its domestic reforms and its economic development, China will have much closer ties with other economies in the Asia-Pacific region, and it will play a more important role in setting the APEC agenda.
Q: Please talk about the prospects for APEC.
Tang: APEC was established in the late 1980s when profound changes were taking place in international political and economic fields. Since its establishment, APEC has advanced trade and investment liberalization and economic and technological cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and made positive contributions to regional and global economic development. The APEC meetings in Shanghai have enhanced the confidence of APEC members in the economic development of the Asia-Pacific region and laid a solid foundation for APEC's development in the new century.
Along with an ever changing international situation, APEC will continue to play a guiding role in solving some outstanding issues in global and regional economic development, boosting the development of a multi-lateral trade system, contributing to economic and trade cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and meeting new challenges with full respect given to diversity. In this way, APEC will march firmly toward attaining the Bogor goals and common prosperity.
Q: Many leaders of APEC members were in Shanghai for the APEC Leadership Meeting. U.S. President's Bush's presence drew a lot of attention in particular. What kind of positive role does the meeting play in promoting China-U.S. relations?
Tang: The U.S. is the biggest developed country and China is the biggest developing country. Both are key members of APEC and share important common interests in enhancing APEC cooperation. We can cooperate in a number of fields such as trade, investment, the new economy, and economic and technological cooperation. The Shanghai APEC meetings are favorable to strengthening economic and trade cooperation and promoting a sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
This is Mr. Bush's first visit to China as U.S. President. The two Heads of State met in Shanghai, exchanged views and reached consensus on bilateral relations, APEC cooperation as well as international and regional issues of common concern. Their meeting has given a vigorous push to the improvement and development of Sino-U.S. relations and laid a good foundation for a relationship of constructive cooperation between the two countries in the new century.
Q: On September 11th, a terrorist incident occurred in the U.S., which has shocked the world. Can you brief us on the discussion in that regard in the APEC meetings?
Tang: The September 11th Incident has sent shock waves around the world and become everybody's concern. The negative impact of the incident on the global and regional economy has become apparent. Leaders of APEC members exchanged views and made a joint statement in this regard. They condemned the terrorist attacks and expressed the wish of strengthening cooperation and making efforts to mitigate the incident's impact on world economic development as soon as possible.
Q: As far as we know, to host 2001 APEC meetings is the highest level diplomatic activity in New China's diplomatic history. What kind of importance do the meetings have on China's diplomacy in the new century?
Tang: President Jiang Zemin met with many other leaders of APEC member economies on the sidelines of the meetings and there has been active summit diplomacy. It has played an important role in stabilizing and developing relations between China and the world powers such as the United States and Russia, promoting good neighborly ties between China and its neighbors, and contributing to regional and global stability and prosperity.
The successful hosting of the APEC 2001 meetings exhibited achievements China has made since the country's reform and opening and raised China's international status. The success was a good beginning for China's diplomacy in the new century.