Planning the Future from a Strategic Height and Promoting Cooperation for Mutual Benefits and a Win-win Situation ---- Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talking about the achievements of Premier Wen Jiabao's Visit to Five European and Asian nations and his attendance to ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea Leaders' Meeting and other meetings.
Premier Wen Jiabao started his visit to five European and Asian nations on December 4, 2005. During the following 12 days, Wen paid official visits to France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Malaysia and attended the 9th China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders' Meeting, the 9th ASEAN and China, Japan and Korea (10+3) Leaders' Meeting and the 1st East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur.
Wen was warmly welcomed in both Europe which is full of festive atmosphere for the coming New Year and Malaysia which is busy preparing the series of ASEAN meetings. Wen attended 8 to 9 activities each day on average. He met with leaders from Europe, Asia and Oceania as well as people from political, commercial, cultural, educational and scientific circles extensively and paid visits to a number of high-tech companies. China reached over 50 bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements with related countries and ASEAN.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing who was accompanying Premier Wen during his visit accepted the interview on the special plane by the journalists who were part of the delegation. Li said Wen's current tour represents a significant diplomatic move with European countries and China's neighboring countries following President Hu Jintao's visit to Europe and East Asian neighbors and will exert a profound impact on bilateral relations and East Asian cooperation.
Deepening Political and Strategic Relations with Mutual Trust
Li said France is China's strategic partner and the two countries enjoy broad common interests and share global responsibilities. Premier Wen proposed to continue to promote bilateral relations for long-term, stable and sound development from a strategic height. The French leaders held an active and firm attitude toward the proposal. Both sides agreed to comprehensively plan bilateral strategic cooperation in various fields. France indicated it would continue its efforts to promote the development of EU-China relations and address China's reasonable concerns.
Slovakia and the Czech Republic enjoy traditional friendly relations with China. However, due to the change of domestic situations, the two countries did not have much contact with China in a certain period of time and the ties between China and the Czech Republic even witnessed some twists and turns. Premier Wen stressed mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits are important bases for bilateral relations. China insists all countries, large or small, are equal and it respects the development path chosen by the people themselves. The Slovakian and Czech leaders indicated they give priority to relations with China and wish to become reliable partners for China. The first visit to the two countries by a Chinese premier in 18 years represents a new landmark in bilateral relations.
Li said Portugal gives priority to developing relations with China in its foreign policy. During the visit, the two sides declared to establish comprehensive strategic partnership, making Portugal the 5th EU member to establish strategic partnership with China following France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain. The Portuguese President even told Premier Wen with affection he was proud to get to know Chinese leaders, to be part of Portugal-China friendship and to help realize the smooth return of Macao to China in his political career.
As an important partner for China in ASEAN, Malaysia always believes that China's development is an opportunity for East Asia and has been actively seeking development of bilateral relations. During the visit, the leaders of the two countries agreed to conduct strategic cooperation and enhance planning on the development of bilateral relations.
Enhancing Economic and Trade Cooperation through Scientific and Technological Exchanges
Li said it is an important part of the development of China-EU strategic partnership to enhance economic and trade cooperation. During the visit, China and the visited countries signed a series of economic and trade cooperation agreements between governments and businesses, including Agreement on Investment Protection and the Agreement on China's Purchase of Airbus Aeroplanes and also reached broad consensus on a wide range of cooperation areas, such as aviation, space, energy, railway, machinery manufacturing and environmental protection. China and Malaysia agreed to conduct feasibility study on closer bilateral economic partnership and further the ongoing efforts in various fields.
Premier Wen also delivered speeches to the people from the business circle in France, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Malaysia to comprehensively elaborate China's economic development strategies and market opportunities which inspired entrepreneurs to conduct economic and trade exchanges with China and to invest in the country.
Premier Wen stressed we should inject new vitality into China-EU economic and trade relations through innovations in the way of cooperation and enhancement of science and technology contribution in economic and trade cooperation. China reached consensus with Airbus on strengthening industrial cooperation and an integrated system of research and development, manufacturing and sales is expected to be created through technology transfer with a view to benefit bilateral long-term cooperation. China and France also reached agreements on high-tech cooperation projects such as aviation and space, which demonstrated mutual trust and uplifted bilateral cooperation.
Laying the Foundation for Future Relations through Cultural and Youth Exchanges
Li said Wen spoke highly of China-France Cultural Year, noting the event showed a reformative, romantic and innovative France to the Chinese people and an ancient, colorful and modern China to the French people. Premier Wen noted China-France Cultural Year is only a beginning for bilateral cultural exchanges and should continue. When making a speech in Ecole Polytechnique de Paris, he cited the famous saying of Confucius which goes, "Things co-breed without doing harm to each other and ways co-exist without going against each other", pointing out different civilizations and cultures can co-exist harmoniously in the long-term and can learn from each other for common development. The speech was hailed by the audience. During the visit, China and France as well as China and Portugal also reached agreement on creating the Confucius Academy in the two countries and China and the Czech Republic as well as China and Slovakia also discussed the possibility to hold cultural expositions in the two countries.
Wen also stressed repeatedly the strategic significance of enhancing youth exchanges. He said China would invite 400 French youngsters to visit China, an event bearing greater significance than the order for 150 Airbus aeroplanes. Economic and trade cooperation represents the present and youth exchanges represent the future. We need to plant seeds of friendship in the hearts of the young people and make them blossom.
Promoting East Asian Cooperation with an Open and Inclusive Spirit
Li said Wen proposed to identify transportation, energy, culture, tourism and public health as the five key areas for 10+1 cooperation, make the prevention and control of bird flu one of the priorities for China-ASEAN cooperation, enhance information exchange and lab resources sharing and establish a joint prevention and control mechanism as early as possible. China will provide medicine and vaccines for ASEAN to conduct technical personnel training. Wen noted the 10+3 cooperation should be continuously consolidated and deepened and the principles of long-term perspective, pragmatic cooperation, openness and inclusion, mutual trust and mutual benefit as well as seeking a win-win situation should be carried on in a bid to boost East Asian cooperation.
The East Asia Summit was convened for the first time. Premier Wen stressed at the summit China supports East Asian cooperation to be transparent and open. China is opposed to self-enclosed or exclusive East Asian cooperation or cooperation targeted to any particular party. China insists to keep open-minded and advocate open regionalism in the process of regional cooperation in a bid to promote common progress of various countries and common development of various regions. 10+3 should be the major channel for East Asian cooperation and countries and organizations out of the region are welcomed to establish contact with East Asian cooperation. These proposals were welcomed and appreciated by the various parties.
During the conferences, Premier Wen also conducted bilateral meetings with leaders from various countries attending the meeting to exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern, which enhanced mutual trust and cooperation.
Elaborating the Peaceful Development Path with a Frank Attitude
Li said Wen elaborated on different occasions including meetings, talks, speeches and multilateral conferences the necessity and inevitability for China to pursue a peaceful development path given China's history, cultural traditions, philosophical heritage and realities. In a speech made in Paris, Wen expounded in an in-depth manner the important ideas in Chinese cultural tradition of "top priority for harmony", "harmony but not homogeneity" and "everything deriving from harmony", noting that harmony means peace between different countries, different people as well as man and nature. In a speech made at the East Asia Summit, Wen said to pursue a peaceful development path means that China is to take advantage of world peace to develop itself and in return to promote and safeguard world peace through its own development and also China is to stick to opening up and actively participating in economic globalization and to develop cooperation with the rest of the world on the basis of equality and mutual benefits. We will firmly follow the path. Wen's persuasive speeches deeply impressed the people in the visited countries. Le Figaro quoted French leaders to say China is a responsible and positive element instead of a threat to France. Malaysian and Thai Prime Ministers openly indicated that China is an engine for peace, stability and prosperity in East Asia.
Inspiring Overseas Chinese Compatriots with Sincerity
Li Zhaoxing said Premier Wen always remembered to see the staffs at Chinese embassies and representatives from Chinese-funded companies, overseas students and overseas Chinese during his visit regardless of his tight schedules to share with them China's domestic development and encourage them to study and work hard for their own country as well as for the friendship between the Chinese people and people in other countries. He said great progress has been achieved in China's economic development, but there are still a lot of problems. The Chinese nation went through numerous hardships but still managed to go ahead thanks to its perseverance, independence, openness and inclusion as well as innovation and reform. There is always a light before us and it fuels hope, courage and vitality in every Chinese. The light has never gone out even at the hardest times and it encourages us to strive and explore. The audience were deeply touched and inspired.
Li said Premier Wen's European and Asian tour has come to an end. He brought with him sincerity and friendship and brought back with him trust and consensus. The visit has achieved its objectives of enhancing trust, expanding consensus, deepening cooperation and orienting to the future.