Li Zhaoxing Briefs on the Achievements of Premier Wen Jiabao's Four-Nation Tour : Planning for the Future and Advancing the Journey of Cooperation
From April 1 to 8, 2006, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council of China made a state visit to Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, and Cambodia, during which he attended the opening ceremony of the First Ministerial Meeting of China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in Fiji.
On April 8, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing who accompanied Premier Wen Jiabao during the visit accepted the interviews from accompanying journalists on the eve of leaving Cambodia.
Li said that Premier Wen visited 4 countries and attended 70 bilateral and multilateral activities, traveling a distance of over 30,000 kilometers in one week. China signed a total of 59 bilateral and multilateral cooperation documents with related countries. The visit was both substantive and productive.
I. Having improved bilateral relations between China and the four countries.
Australia and New Zealand are important countries in the Asian-Pacific region. In recent years, the relations between China and these two countries have been developing quickly and bilateral cooperation has yielded productive results. During his visit, Premier Wen Jiabao had in-depth discussions with the leaders of these two countries to draw up blueprints for the future of bilateral ties from a strategic height and long-term perspective. Broad common consensus was achieved. The leaders of both Australia and New Zealand stressed that the relationship with China has become one of their most important external relationships. China and Australia, China and New Zealand have respectively identified developing an all-round cooperative relationship featuring mutual benefits and win-win results in the 21st century and established annual exchange of visits and annual meeting mechanisms. With the concerted efforts, China-Australia and China-New Zealand relations will become new models for the harmonized co-existence and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries with different social systems, cultural and historical backgrounds.
Fiji is an important island country in the Pacific and a major partner of China in this region. Premier Wen's visit marks the first visit by a Chinese premier since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and a new milestone of bilateral relationship. To promote the long-term and stable growth of bilateral ties in the new century, the leaders of the two countries declared establishing and developing an important cooperative partnership. Fiji made an announcement to acknowledge China's full market status.
Cambodia is a friendly neighbor of China. Premier Wen exchanged views with Cambodian leaders on consolidating bilateral traditional friendship and expanding bilateral cooperation. Both sides agreed to establish a comprehensive cooperation partnership.
II. Having promoted mutually beneficial cooperation with Australia and New Zealand in key areas
Australia and New Zealand are developed countries boasting abundant resources and advanced technologies. China is a huge developing nation having rich human resources and a stable yet growing market. China and Australia, China and New Zealand enjoy great potentials and promising prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation. Premier Wen had pragmatic and constructive discussions with the leaders of Australia and New Zealand on strengthening the cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, energy, and mineral resources. The premier stressed that both sides should have a long perspective so as to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results through consultations on an equal footing. The following consensus was reached:
Accelerating negotiations on China-Australia and China-New Zealand free trade areas (FTA). China and Australia agreed to make negotiations achieve substantive progress in 1 to 2 years. China and New Zealand will strive to reach a comprehensive, balanced and high-quality accord acceptable to both countries through negotiations in 1 to 2 years.
Premier Wen visited West Australian State, a state with rich resources in Australia. He attended the briefing on the resources in Australia and visited the iron ore smelting reduction project that utilizes advanced technologies. Wen said that the establishment of a long-term supply and demand relationship between China and Australia in energy and minerals sector and a pricing mechanism that complies with international practice is in the interest of both countries. Both sides should expand bilateral cooperation from trade to exploitation of upstream products, new, renewable and clean energies, safe production of mines and related technologies, with which the Australian side agreed. China and Australia also signed a cooperation accord on peaceful use of nuclear energies. The cooperation between China and Australia in the above-mentioned fields is of positive significance to the implementation of the scientific development concept and the building of a resources-saving and environment-friendly society.
Premier Wen also proposed that China and Australia, China and New Zealand strengthen cooperation in traditional areas such as agriculture, forestry and husbandry based upon mutual complementarities and foster new growth points for cooperation in environmental protection, biology, information technology and other fields.
III. Having built up a new platform for the development of friendly cooperation between China and Pacific island countries.
The First Ministerial Meeting of China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum, which was proposed by the Chinese side, was successfully held in Fiji. Premier Wen respectively met the leaders of Pacific island countries present at the meeting and together they attended the opening ceremony. Premier Wen expounded in his address China's policy toward Pacific island countries. He pointed out China and Pacific island countries are all developing countries located in the Asian-Pacific region, having common interests and confronted with common challenges. We may strengthen cooperation for common development based upon mutual respects, equality and mutual benefits. Premier Wen announced a number of preferential policies and measures aimed at supporting and helping Pacific island counties. The related parties signed 25 cooperation documents. Such move was widely recognized by participating parties. They all expressed that they cherish and value the relations with China and reaffirmed that they will continue to firmly follow the one-China policy and support the peaceful reunification of China. It is widely believed that the Forum opened a new historical chapter for the relationship between China and Pacific island countries. China gives priority to developing the cooperation between China and Pacific island countries. This is conducive to the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and sets up a new example for South-South cooperation.
VI. Looking into the future of bilateral ties and promoting cultural and educational exchanges.
Premier Wen always stressed the importance of cultural and educational exchanges whether attending meetings, having talks, delivering speeches, accepting interviews or talking with the youth students. He pointed out that China and the 4 countries I visited have different cultures, but we can live in harmony while maintaining our difference. We can learn from each other to help each other forward. He stressed that educational exchange and the exchange of youths represent the future of bilateral ties. He extended invitations to 100 Australian youths to visit China in the coming 2 years. The opinions and initiatives of Premier Wen were greeted with warm response. All the countries expressed that they would like to strengthen such exchanges with China, enhance mutual understanding and friendship with China, and further the long-term growth of bilateral ties.
V. Having enhanced mutual trust, reduced mistrust, expounded China's peaceful development path, and won wide understanding and support.
The international community is universally concerned of China's development and China's role in the world. Premier Wen intentionally introduced China's development scenario tailored for a special country. In Australia, Premier Wen delivered an important speech titled China Will Follow the Road to Peaceful Development, in which he stressed that China's development is aimed at peace, openness and cooperation. In the opening ceremony of the Forum, Premier Wen reaffirmed in his speech that China is dedicated to seeking and promoting peace through cooperation in international and regional affairs. Premier Wen's rational elaboration aroused wide echoes. Australian Prime Minister Howard said, "Australia welcomes the development of China for it benefits the world. We can get no benefits from containing China." Prime Minister Helen Clark of New Zealand commented, "China is a close partner of New Zealand." The leaders of Pacific island countries all expressed that China proves itself to be a good friend and partner of Pacific island countries with its practical actions. We welcome China and support China in playing a positive role in this region. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said,"China is an important force for safeguarding world peace and promoting common development." Some local newspapers recently also published articles titled Win This Friend Influence a Region, A Journey of Opportunities and China Develops We Benefits, commenting positively upon the opportunities brought about by China's development to this region.