Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei Meets with Joint Press Delegation from SAARC Countries
On May 22, 2008, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei met with a joint press delegation from 8 member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Bhutan.
He made positive comments on China's relations with South Asian countries. He said China and South Asia are linked by mountains and rivers with a time-honored history of friendly exchanges. Many of the South Asian countries are among the first to acknowledge and establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence jointly proposed by China and India has become an international norm guiding state-to-state exchanges. Recent years have witnessed enhanced high-level exchanges, expanding economic and trade cooperation, more frequent exchanges in all areas and deepening coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. China follows the foreign policy of "building an amicable, tranquil and prosperous neighborhood" and hopes to see a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia. China is also ready to continuously deepen friendly cooperative relations of long-term stability and orientation towards the future with all South Asian countries based on the spirit of equality, mutual trust and win-win cooperation. China will continue to offer support and assistance with no political strings attached within its ability for economic and social development of these countries and share development experience with them for common development.
He said after the Wenchuan earthquake, the Chinese government collected forces and resources from all sides and the Chinese people united as one in their all-out dauntless relief efforts. Since the quake, all SAARC countries had extended sincere condolences and disinterested assistance to the Chinese people, which demonstrated the profound feelings of South Asian people towards the Chinese people. He expressed heartfelt thanks for this.
He said the year 2008 is of special significance to China, since it not only marks the 30th anniversary of the reform and opening up, but also China's hosting of the Olympic Games. He introduced China's achievements since its adoption of the reform and opening up policy and emphasized the successful experience in reform and opening up is that China has found a development path suitable to its own realities. China will as always adhere to the road of peaceful development, unswervingly follow the open strategy of mutual benefits and work with Asian countries including all SAARC members to seize the opportunities, cope with challenges and build a peaceful, developing, cooperative and open Asia. He also said the Beijing Olympics is not only a great event of Chinese people, but also a sports festival for people all over the world. The Chinese government and people are going all out in preparing for the Beijing Olympics, he said, adding that China warmly welcomes athletes from across the world to participate in the Beijing Olympics and wishes them good results at the games.
He emphasized that to enhance media exchanges is conducive to building up mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and South Asian people and to promoting bilateral friendly cooperative relations. He expressed hope that the journalists can gain a deeper understanding of China through the visit and offer all-round, objective reporting on a rapidly developing China to South Asian people.
He also took questions from the journalists on such issues as China's foreign policy, its relations with South Asian countries and regional cooperation.
The members of the delegation extended deep condolences to the victims in the Wenchuan earthquake as well as their sincere sympathy to the people in the affected areas and expressed admiration for the spirit of solidarity and high efficiency demonstrated by the Chinese government and people in disaster relief. The journalists spoke highly of China's achievements in reform and opening up, describing China as a model of developing nations. They also thanked for China's support and assistance for their countries' development, agreeing that the enhanced traditional friendship and deepened pragmatic cooperation between China and South Asian countries is conducive to regional peace, stability and development. They appreciated China's enormous efforts in preparing for the Beijing Olympics and wished the games a great success.