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Journey of Peace to Carry Forward Friendship, Inherit Past and Usher in Future

——Foreign Minister Wang Yi's Comments on President Xi Jinping's State Visits to Viet Nam and Singapore

2015/11/08

From November 5 to 7, 2015, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and President of China, paid state visits to Viet Nam and Singapore. At the end of the visits, Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed journalists on the visits.

Wang Yi said that at a time when autumn turns into winter, China's diplomacy centers around its neighborhood again. Immediately after the fifth plenary session of 18th CPC Central Committee, President Xi Jinping started his journey to the Southeast Asia. He first visited Viet Nam to jointly establish a community of common destiny with same objectives and integrated interests. He then visited Singapore to forge an all-round cooperative partnership advancing with the times. He profoundly explained China's good-neighborly and friendly policy to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and displayed the prosperous prospects of common development.

The visits came at the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Viet Nam and the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Singapore, and as President Xi Jinping's first visit to Viet Nam and Singapore since he assumed the top leadership of China's Party and state, it is long expected by the two countries and attracted world attention. From Hanoi to Singapore, President Xi Jinping met intensively with high-level officials of the two countries, frequently contacted with friendly personnel, delivered important policy announcements, reached extensive cooperation consensus, and achieved a series of fruitful results. Viet Nam and Singapore attached great importance to President Xi Jinping's visits. Viet Nam accorded President Xi Jinping a super-high-level reception, and Singapore made special arrangements rarely seen. The three-day short period witnessed activities one after another, and the achievements are vivid in our minds. Viet Nam is China's close neighbor linked by common mountains and rivers, while Singapore is a country bearing special origin with China. President Xi Jinping's visits have not only built new important consensus, but also planned new prospects for cooperation, which enables the region and even other countries in the world to gain new understanding and recognition toward China's domestic and foreign policies.

First, carry forward friendship and forge China-Viet Nam community of common destiny with strategic significance

China and Viet Nam are close and inter-dependent neighbors to each other with the same political system, connected ideals and faiths, similar development path and related future and destiny. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Viet Nam 65 years ago, the bilateral relations have kept improving despite the setbacks during the process. China-Viet Nam traditional friendship forged and cultivated by the older generations of leadership of the two sides has remained as wealth for developing the relations between the two Parties and countries. President Xi Jinping visited Viet Nam both as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and the Chinese President. It is the second visit to Viet Nam in ten years by China's top Party and state leader, and the top leaders of the two Parties and states exchanged visits within a year, which is not common in bilateral relations.

Maintain a correct direction in politics. During the visit, President Xi Jinping intensively met with Viet Nam's Party and state leaders such as General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng, President Trương Tấn Sang, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Sinh Hùng, and discussed with them the bilateral relations, party building, state governance, traditional friendship and practical cooperation. The two sides reached high-degree consensus on the common interests, common challenges, common needs and common tasks of the two Parties and countries under the current situation. President Xi Jinping pointed out that both as socialist countries under the leadership of the Communist Party, China and Viet Nam have been a community of common destiny with strategic significance, and China-Viet Nam traditional friendship should be carefully cherished and maintained. As for the future, regardless of the changes in the international situation, the two Parties and countries should offer mutual help and step forward hand in hand. The two sides should seize the political direction, serve as good comrades of mutual help and trust, good partners of win-win cooperation, good neighbors friendly to each other and good friends with frequent visits, so as to ensure the China-Viet Nam relations always develop along the right track. President Xi Jinping's views and proposals were highly recognized by Viet Nam's Party and state leaders. Viet Nam's leaders congratulated the Chinese Party and government on the splendid achievements gained on the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, and stressed that Viet Nam will firmly follow the socialist path. The Vietnamese side also said that they will always bear in mind the Chinese people's valuable support and generous assistance to the just cause of the Vietnamese people, and welcome a more stable, developed and strong China to play a greater role in international affairs.

The two sides issued a joint statement, stressing that the two sides should inherit, maintain and carry forward traditional China-Viet Nam friendship, adhere to the guideline of "long-term stability, future orientation, good-neighborly friendship and comprehensive cooperation" and the spirit of "good neighbors, good friends, good comrades and good partners" and promote China-Viet Nam comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation for sustained, sound and stable development. The significant consensus above reflects the two leaders' strategic vision of focusing on the overall situation, taking a long-term view, seizing the fundamentals and grasping the mainstream, plays the main melody of China-Viet Nam friendly cooperation and injects powerful impetus into the guidance and promotion of the development of China-Viet Nam relations.

Dock the development strategies in practical cooperation. The two sides agreed to promote practical cooperation for new progress. China has been Viet Nam's largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years, and Viet Nam has become China's second largest trading partner in the ASEAN. Currently, both China and Viet Nam are in a critical period of comprehensively deepening reforms and implementing national economic development strategy, which provides important opportunities for the two sides to advance practical cooperation at a strategic level and build a community of common destiny. The two sides agreed to integrate their advantages, intensify consultations on cooperation within the frameworks of the "Belt and Road" and "Two Corridors and One Circle", promote bilateral production capacity cooperation in multiple fields in a coordinated way, focus on construction of major projects, vigorously promote border and financial cooperation, and promote bilateral trade for balanced and sustainable development. The two sides decided to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between departments of national defense and security, and enhance cooperation and coordination in international and regional affairs. The two sides signed a series of cooperative agreements covering fields such as party-to-party exchanges, economic and trade investment, infrastructure construction and people-to-people and cultural engagement.

Improve understanding and friendship in people-to-people and cultural exchanges. China and Viet Nam enjoy a profound traditional friendship and heart-warming stories in the friendly exchanges between the two peoples. President Xi Jinping visited the Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum and met with representatives of youth and friendly personnel from China and Viet Nam together with General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng. President Xi Jinping recalled the valuable histories of friendship during the era of revolution such as "Uncle Hồ's" personal experience in the two countries' revolutionary courses, General Nguyễn Sơn dedicating himself to China's revolution, and Dou Jinbo from Chinese Military Advisory Group naming his daughter "Yue Hua" (meaning Viet Nam and China literally). President Xi Jinping hoped that the friendly personnel and youth play a tutoring role as envoys of friendship to make the cause of China-Viet Nam friendship deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples and be carried on from generation to generation.

When exchanging with Viet Nam's Party and state leaders, President Xi Jinping referred to the reality that a gap exists between the affection of the peoples of China and Viet Nam and that of the best period, and proposed that the two sides should strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges to enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples and consolidate the public opinion basis of China-Viet Nam friendship. The two sides decided to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in fields such as journalism, culture, education and tourism, speed up the mutual establishment of culture centers, well operate the Confucius Institute at the Hanoi University and successfully run non-governmental exchange activities such as the China-Viet Nam youth festival and friendly meeting between youth of China and Viet Nam.

"Neighbors wish each other well, just as loved ones do to each other." The common goal and destiny closely link China and Viet Nam together, thus the two peoples shall make China-Viet Nam brotherhood forever young.

Second, inherit the past, usher in the future and establish China-Singapore all-round cooperative partnership advancing with the times

Singapore is China's important neighbor among the surrounding countries. China and Singapore enjoy constantly advanced relations with the steps of China's reform and opening up, and constantly deepened cooperation in the course of China's development and growth. In China's critical and historical stage of achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China-Singapore cooperation is facing important opportunities of comprehensive upgrade.

Define the new position of China-Singapore relations. During the visit, President Xi Jinping held talks and meetings with President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and other leaders of Singapore. President Xi Jinping pointed out that reviewing the 25 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Singapore, we find the constant and sound development of the bilateral relations benefits from adhering to strategic planning, adhering to advancing with the times and adhering to innovation. The two sides should continue to focus on their development needs and especially China's development pace, constantly innovate in ideas for cooperation and expand cooperation areas to make China-Singapore cooperation continuously play a leading and demonstrative role in the region. President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the experience over the past 25 years shows that the more open and developed China is, the more development opportunities Singapore-China relations face. Singapore holds that China's development and growth is a positive factor in the current international and regional situation. Singapore is willing to assist China in reform and opening up in the "post-Lee Kuan Yew era" and constantly open up new prospects for Singapore-China cooperation.

Leaders of the two countries issued a joint statement and unanimously decided to set China-Singapore relations as an all-round cooperative partnership advancing with the times. This new orientation matches the major characteristics of China-Singapore relations, reflects the overall grasp of the strategic direction of China-Singapore relations, and becomes a significant milestone of China-Singapore relations in the new period.

Develop new ideas for practical cooperation. Singapore is China's important partner of foreign cooperation. Its development experience once provided beneficial reference for China's reform and opening up, and China's development also brings great opportunities to Singapore. China has become Singapore's largest trading partner, and Singapore has become China's largest source of investment. Under the new circumstances, the two countries have further docked their development strategies and opened up new opportunities for practical cooperation.

During the visit, leaders of the two countries unanimously agreed to advance with the times, innovate in ideas, and enrich and expand the arrangement of the bilateral all-round cooperation. They announced to launch and fully support the establishment of the third inter-governmental cooperation project in western China, namely, the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Project of Strategic Connectivity. The two sides will continue the sound construction of the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-City, start the upgraded negotiations on the China-Singapore free trade agreement, and push the bilateral economic relations to a new level. The two sides will actively explore the cooperation mode in the third-party market between their companies under the "Belt and Road" initiative and jointly build a financial support platform for regional production capacity cooperation. The two sides signed a series of outcome documents covering finance, education, science, technology and city governance, and the bilateral practical cooperation is expected to achieve an all-round development.

Keep high-level people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The two sides decided to ensure the success of cooperative projects such as exchanges between the two countries' youth and college students, discuss carrying out bilateral cooperation in the cultural industry, successfully hold the China-Singapore Forum on Leadership and find new content and new ways for human resource training.

President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the National University of Singapore. With a broad vision, vivid examples and comprehensive analysis, he reviewed the history of China-Singapore friendly exchanges, listed the highlights of China-Singapore relations, and looked forward to the prospects of China-Singapore friendly cooperation. President Xi Jinping also witnessed the unveiling ceremony of the China Cultural Center in Singapore. This center is currently the largest cultural center that China has constructed overseas. It is endowed with the full care from President Xi Jinping, highlights the close and high-level China-Singapore people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and will become a bridge of friendship for the two peoples to know each other well and become intimate.

Accompanied by Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, President Xi Jinping and his wife attended the naming ceremony for a new variety of orchid, or Papillonanda. It is the national flower of Singapore. The new variety named after President Xi Jinping and his wife blooms vigorously under the sun with elegant fragrance, meaning that the new friendship between China and Singapore is "excellent, splendid and immortal". This unique and heart-warming arrangement has enhanced the deep friendship between the leaders and peoples of the two countries, and left a bright mark on President Xi Jinping's visit to Singapore.

Third, highlight peace and expound China's road and policy

Reiterate the firm commitment to the ASEAN. Viet Nam and Singapore are both important members of the ASEAN, and Singapore has been the coordinator of China-ASEAN relations since this August. Currently, both the ASEAN and China-ASEAN relations have entered a critical period. The ASEAN will complete the first sub-regional community in Asia at the end of this year, and China and the ASEAN will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations next year. China-ASEAN relations are facing important opportunities.

President Xi Jinping stressed that China persists in giving priority to the ASEAN in China's neighborhood diplomacy, and is willing to strengthen strategic dialogue with the ASEAN countries and deepen practical cooperation in various fields to jointly elevate China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a higher level. Looking ahead to China-ASEAN cooperation framework in the next decade, President Xi Jinping pointed out that the two sides should actively discuss signing a China-ASEAN agreement on good-neighborly and friendly cooperation, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the security area, strengthen connectivity infrastructure construction, strengthen financial cooperation and risk prevention, steadily promote maritime cooperation, and enhance exchanges in people-to-people and cultural engagement, science, technology and environmental protection.

President Xi Jinping stressed that China will firmly develop friendly cooperation with the ASEAN, firmly support the ASEAN's development and growth, firmly support building the ASEAN community, and firmly support the ASEAN's leading role in East Asian regional cooperation. These four firm and solemn promises are made by China wholeheartedly and sincerely. The ASEAN countries and the international community will witness that China will do what it promises and its actions will deliver results.

Interpret the ideas of "harmony" and "cooperation" with the neighbors. The neighborhood is where China can settle down and the basis to develop and prosper. In his speech at the National University of Singapore, President Xi Jinping gave an in-depth interpretation of the path of peaceful development that China adheres to, the independent foreign policy of peace that China upholds, the idea of amity, sincerity, mutual benefits and inclusiveness in neighborhood diplomacy that China carries forward, and the initiative to build an Asian community of common destiny, manifesting again China's position and sending a clear message to the region and the international community.

President Xi Jinping pointed out that peaceful development is the inherent gene of the Chinese culture, and upholding faith and forging harmony are the fundamental connotation of China's neighborhood diplomacy. China's prosperity is a trend, but the idea that the strong will bully is not in accordance with the law of history. Since the ancient times, China has always advocated that "the strong should not oppress the weak, and the rich should not bully the poor", and been well aware of the principle that "though a country is now strong, bellicosity will eventually lead to its death". President Xi Jinping stressed that China is willing to combine its own development more closely with that of the neighboring countries, and welcomes the neighboring countries to take advantage of China's rapid development to enjoy a good life together with China.

President Xi Jinping put forward China's propositions on deepening cooperation and seeking common development with the Southeast Asian and neighboring countries under the new situation. First, jointly maintain peace and tranquility. The peoples of the Asian countries should never become enemy, and should enhance mutual trust to create good conditions for the development of all countries and people's living in peace and contentment. Second, deepen docking of development strategies. We should concentrate on promoting development, explore new cooperation motivation, plan new cooperation vision, and focus on new cooperation results to make a bigger "cake" of mutually beneficial cooperation. Third, actively carry out security cooperation. We should fulfill the security concept of Asia and stick to settling contradictions and differences through friendly consultations in peaceful ways, and jointly seek a mode of getting along with neighbors featuring mutual respect, mutual trust, aggregating common ground while defusing differences and win-win cooperation. Fourth, constantly consolidate amity among the peoples. We should expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation, put the traditional ideas of "harmony" and "cooperation" into the mode of communication between each other and promote inclusiveness of the different civilizations to pass down the torch of harmony and cooperation to future generations.

President Xi Jinping's excellent discourse won rounds of warm applause from the audience. The international community speaks highly of it and holds that President Xi Jinping's speech analyzed the reality through history, combined politics with culture, explained profound ideas in simple language, convinced people by sound argument, educated people by moral power, and accurately interpreted China's neighborhood diplomacy.

Safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea. The international community and especially the neighboring countries pay attention to the maritime situation. Bearing larger interests in mind and viewing the main trend, President Xi Jinping stressed that the overall situation in the South China Sea is stable, and China will insist on settling disputes through peaceful ways and firmly safeguard the freedom of navigation. China and the ASEAN are fully capable of safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea region. During his visit to Viet Nam, President Xi Jinping stressed that China and Viet Nam should take maintaining stability as the top priority, bilateral negotiation as the right approach, and cooperative development as the common goal to duly handle and manage maritime differences. In the meantime, efforts should be concentrated on carrying forward maritime cooperation, gradually accumulating consensus and enlarging common interests. Viet Nam's Party and state leaders responded positively to this by stating their own views and agreeing that Viet Nam-China cooperation should prevail over disagreement and that maritime differences should not be the obstacle for both sides on their way to building political mutual trust. The two sides agreed to well implement the upcoming joint investigation of the outer waters at the mouth of the Beibu Gulf and then discuss joint development of wider-range waters so as to realize substantial progress at an early date.

During his visit to Singapore, President Xi Jinping further set forth China's policy and stance, and stressed that the South China Sea islands are China's territory since the ancient times and that it is the Chinese government's due responsibility to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and legitimate and reasonable maritime rights and interests. China's policy concerning the South China Sea takes safeguarding peace and stability in the area as the starting point and ultimate goal. At present, the most important subject facing governments of the Asian countries is how to realize sustained and rapid development, which requires a peaceful and stable environment. This is the greatest common divisor of countries in the region, and countries outside the region shall also understand and respect this and play a constructive role.

Introduce China's recent development. President Xi Jinping had in-depth exchanges of views with leaders of Viet Nam and Singapore on each other's experience in state governance, and took advantage of all kinds of public occasions to introduce to the Vietnamese and Singaporean peoples and the international community China's economic development, the cooperation initiative of the "Belt and Road", the decisions of the fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and the planning guidelines of the 13th Five-Year Plan. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China's economy has entered the new normal, and keeping long-term, stable and sound development has a good foundation. We will implement the development concept featuring innovation, coordination, environmental protection, opening up and sharing, and stick to working out a new development road of higher quality, more benefits and optimal structure. President Xi Jinping's introduction contributes to promoting countries concerned to effectively dock their development strategies with China so as to realize their respective development goals.

At last, Wang Yi said that President Xi Jinping's visits to Viet Nam and Singapore face the ASEAN and radiate to the neighborhood. It will not only promote the realization of sound and stable development of China-Viet Nam relations and raise the level of China-Singapore practical cooperation, but also has strongly accelerated the further development of China-ASEAN cooperation. It is one of China's successful actions in neighborhood diplomacy this year. In the recent period, China's diplomacy enjoys various highlights and fruitful achievements. China and the US have stepped on a new stage of "cross-Pacific cooperation". China and the UK have entered into the "golden era" of comprehensive strategic partnership. China's "diplomatic session" with Europe is in the ascendant. China's all-dimensional diplomacy is vibrant and promoted comprehensively. We should earnestly implement the significant achievements of President Xi Jinping's visits to provide a strong guarantee for the realization of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and to constantly contribute to the maintaining of world peace.

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