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Building a Bridge of Friendship, Mutual Understanding and Cooperation:Foreign Minister Wang Yi On President Xi Jinping's Attendance at Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands and Visits to Four European Countries, UNESCO Headquarters and EU Headquarters

2014/04/02

From March 22 to April 1, 2014, President Xi Jinping attended the third Nuclear Security Summit held in The Hague, the Netherlands, paid state visits to the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium, and visited the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and of the European Union (EU). At the end of the visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed on the relevant information.

Wang Yi said, the visit is President Xi Jinping's first visit to Europe as the head of state, with a tight schedule, intensive activities, rich content and fruitful results. President Xi Jinping attended 84 activities, covering both bilateral and multilateral occasions, considering both big and small countries, and achieving interaction among politics, economy and culture. The visit included both activities at state level and exchanges with the local peoples, both planning of top-level design and the promotion of specific projects, both the publicity of brilliant concepts and the subtlety of touching words. Wherever he arrived, President Xi Jinping received high-level courteous reception and sincere and friendly welcome. President Xi Jinping had several long and in-depth talks with leaders of the four countries and the EU, and had extensive contacts with all circles of people of the visited counties, talking about friendship, communication and cooperation. The international media have continuous and intensive coverage of the visit, launching a "China fever" in Europe and setting the international clock to the "China-Europe relations time".

I. Comprehensively upgrade the level of China's relations with the four countries and the EU

Wang Yi said, China and Europe are two major forces, major markets and great civilizations in the current world. Under the background of world multi-polarization, economic globalization, cultural diversification and democratization of international relations, China-Europe cooperation is more global, strategic and exemplary and is of great significance to the promotion of balanced international powers and world peace and development. President Xi Jinping's visit to the EU headquarters is the first visit paid by the Chinese head of state since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and the EU, thus fully indicating that, under new circumstances, China attaches great importance to the EU and Europe as well. It served as a highlight attracting great attention during the visit. To sum up, during President Xi Jinping's visit, three significant achievements have been made in promoting the China-Europe relations:

First, China-Europe political relations have entered a new stage. We can see that in terms of bilateral political relations, President Xi Jinping's visit has repositioned China's relations with all the host countries, and new breakthroughs have been made at every stop. France and Germany are bellwethers in the EU leading the relations with China. President Xi Jinping visited France on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-France diplomatic relationship, comprehensively reviewing the experience drawn in the China-France relations and planning the future for the bilateral relations. Both sides decided to jointly open up a new era of a close and enduring comprehensive strategic partnership. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Germany are not only economic partners, but also political and strategic cooperative partners. He and the German leader jointly announced to establish an all-round strategic partnership. The China-Netherlands relations and China-Belgium relations have witnessed groundbreaking progress, and clear and specific political positioning was made for the first time. China and the Netherlands decided to establish an open and practical comprehensive cooperative partnership. China and Belgium announced to establish an all-round friendly cooperative partnership. China and the EU issued a joint statement for the first time, declaring to jointly forge four major partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization. These indicated that both China and Europe are looking at each other with a new strategic vision, with deeper mutual trust, stronger willing to become partners, broader cooperation fields and more confidence in the future of the China-Europe relations. Leaders of the four countries and the EU agreed unanimously that they will attach great importance to China's development, and take the relations with China as a priority. China and Europe are to become strategic partners of common development and progress.

Second, China-Europe economic and trade cooperation has ushered in new opportunities. The EU is China's biggest trading partner, and President Xi Jinping has been focusing on promoting China-Europe cooperation for a qualitative leap. President Xi Jinping pointed out that at present, China is comprehensively deepening reforms, and accelerating new-type industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, while Europe is also implementing structural reforms. Both China and Europe should seek more converging interests and points of growth for cooperation by combining respective reform processes, which was highly appreciated by the European side. The European leaders thought that, China's new round of reform and opening-up will bring about new opportunities for Europe and the world at large, and will open up new prospect for Europe-China cooperation. Both sides agreed to accelerate negotiations on China-Europe investment agreement, to initiate feasibility research on China-Europe free trade agreement at an early date, and to settle trade disputes through dialogues and negotiations. Both sides agreed to broaden cooperation fields and foster new highlights in cooperation in the fields of scien-tech innovation, green environmental protection, agriculture and food, health care and medicine, sustainable development and urbanization while deepening cooperation in traditional fields of nuclear energy, aerospace and automobiles. Both sides agreed to expand the domain of cooperation, and the European side is willing to actively participate in China's initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and to jointly forge an Asia-Europe grand market. Both sides agreed to innovate cooperation mode and stride towards joint production, joint research and development, joint investment and joint development of the third-country markets. During President Xi Jinping's visit, China signed over 120 cooperative agreements with the four countries, covering extensive fields and showing the huge potential and bright prospect of China-Europe cooperation.

Third, China-Europe people-to-people and cultural exchanges have entered into a new stage. President Xi Jinping's visit highlights cultural elements. President Xi Jinping pointed out that both China and Europe boast splendid civilization. The China-Europe relations attribute to and are originated from the civilization and the history. In the meantime, differing in national conditions, systems and development stages, China and Europe can promote mutual understanding by strengthening dialogues and exchanges, then understand each other and conduct cooperation. China and France, China and Germany declared to establish high-level mechanisms of people-to-people and cultural exchanges to build the third pillar of bilateral cooperation. China has decided to establish the first Chinese Cultural Center in the Netherlands. China and Belgium have expanded the scale of students going to study in each other's countries. China and Europe are committed to becoming partners of civilization and learning from each other. China will give further play to the role of Confucius Institute and promote Chinese language teaching and China studies in Europe. President Xi Jinping visited the Charles de Gaulle Foundation and the former site of the Lyon Sino-French Institute in France, held a free discussion with German sinologists, visited the youth football players from Zhidan County in China's Shaanxi Province who were trained in Germany, attended the opening ceremony of the panda garden in Belgium, and had heart-to-heart communication with peoples of the visited countries to shorten the distance between each other. Mme. Peng Liyuan accepted the designation of "Special Envoy for the Promotion of Education for Girls and Women" conferred by the UNESCO, and visited local schools, hospitals and cultural organizations of the host countries to convey friendly feelings, which received positive response from the local community and the world.

II. Publicity of China's diplomatic concepts

During this visit, President Xi Jinping made many public speeches and published quite a number of important articles, which profoundly expound on China's approach to civilization, view of the world and diplomatic concepts from different aspects and perspectives. At the height of world harmony and human progress, President Xi Jinping put forward the important proposal of mutual exchanges and learning among civilizations. President Xi Jinping pointed out that civilizations are colorful, equal and inclusive. We should promote mutual respect and harmonious coexistence among different civilizations, and turn mutual exchanges and learning among civilizations into a bridge to promote friendship among peoples of all countries, a driving force to push forward the progress of human society, and a bond to safeguard world peace. President Xi Jinping stressed that to achieve the "Chinese Dream" is a development process in which material civilization and spiritual civilization go together. The Chinese civilization, together with the civilizations created by other countries in the world, will provide correct spiritual guidance and strong spiritual impetus for the mankind.

President Xi Jinping comprehensively stated China's upholding of peaceful development, endowing China's independent foreign policy of peace with the zeitgeist. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the World War I and the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the World War II, and has prompted the international community to reflect on the meaning of war and peace. President Xi Jinping chose to deliver a speech in Germany, and expounded the inevitability of China's unswerving adherence to the road of peaceful development from multiple perspectives such as the excellent Chinese cultural tradition, China's sufferings of repeated foreign aggression in modern and contemporary times, and the need of a peaceful international environment to realize the "Two Centenary Goals". He stressed that such choice was made on the basis of the understanding of the general international situation, and it represents the organic consistency of the intellectual confidence and self-conscious practice. President Xi Jinping solemnly stated that China will not follow the old path of "seeking hegemony after becoming strong"; instead, China will always adhere to peaceful development and hoped that other countries in the world will also follow the path of peaceful development.

President Xi Jinping proposed China's approach to nuclear security for the first time as well. Nuclear energy has a bearing on the development and progress of the mankind. The nuclear security issue is becoming a shared challenge faced by the international society. During his attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit, President Xi Jinping systematically stated China's approach to nuclear security, and emphasized the equal importance of development and security, rights and obligations, independent and collaborative efforts, and treating symptoms and addressing causes. China will continue to take an active part in international nuclear security cooperation, advance the establishment of an international nuclear security system which aims at promoting cooperation in a fair environment and seeking win-win results through cooperation, and maintain regional and world peace and stability.

President Xi Jinping's above important statements received positive response from the international community. It is believed that President Xi Jinping made a comprehensive and thorough speech with philosophical implications and Chinese characteristics, which proposed new ideas for the reform of the international system.

III. Lead the world to a correct understanding of China

China's development has attracted international attention. All countries are reflecting on China's development path, and are concerned about which direction China is heading for.

During his visit, President Xi Jinping took every opportunity including meetings and speeches, to provide broad and thought-provoking references to the past and present, for the promotion of China and the exchange of experience of governance and administration of state affairs. He said that after long-time hard working and exploration, the Chinese people have finally found the right development path conform to China's national conditions. He said that reform takes a present tense only and has no present-perfect tense. He also said that the Chinese people are striving for the realization of the "Chinese Dream", a dream of pursuing peace and happiness and contributing to the world.

President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the College of Europe in Belgium. He stated from five aspects that China is a country that enjoys a long history and civilization, has undergone enormous sufferings, practices socialism with Chinese characteristics, stands as the largest developing country in the world and is experiencing profound reforms. During his visit, President Xi Jinping emphasized many times that one cannot obtain a right understanding of China without the knowledge of the Chinese history and culture, the spirit of the Chinese nation, and the profound reforms of the contemporary China. To understand China, one should not do as the blind men trying to size up an elephant by touching only one part of it. It requires an objective, historical and multi-dimensional view to perceive a comprehensive, real and three-dimensional China. China is willing to strengthen communication and exchanges with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. In this process, China will enhance confidence in its own path and culture, and exert influence with endurance and composure in an imperceptible way like constant dripping wearing away a stone, so as to disperse prejudices and misunderstandings. He encouraged all circles of the society in the host countries of his visit, especially the statesmen and the young people, to visit China more often to understand a true China.

President Xi Jinping's important exposition fully demonstrated China's image as a confident, friendly, inclusive and responsible major country, and effectively enhanced Europe's understanding and recognition of China. The European leaders said that China enjoys a long history and a bright future. The European countries respect the development path chosen by the Chinese people, understand the various challenges China faces at present, and are willing to strengthen dialogues and exchanges with China.

In addition, President Xi Jinping met with some other state leaders during the Nuclear Summit and exchanged views with them on bilateral relations and international and regional topics of common interest.

President Xi Jinping held talks with US President Barack Obama. This is the first meeting between the Chinese and US heads of state this year. The two heads of state agreed to continue the close communication and be jointly committed to building a new model of major country relationship between China and the US. The heads of state also made arrangements for a series of contacts and dialogues between the two countries in the next period of time, and exchanged views on key cooperation fields and the expected outcomes. The meeting made a good start for the China-US relations this year.

During the visit, President Xi Jinping worried about the safety of the Chinese and foreign passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight all the time, listened to the reports of the searching progress and made work deployments for many times, and sent the Chinese government's special envoy to Malaysia to deal with relevant matters. He required to make all-out efforts in searching and stressed not to give up as long as there is any glimpse of hope.

Wang Yi said to conclude that for the past year, President Xi Jinping's diplomatic tour has covered Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America. His visit to Europe this time has not only greatly promoted the development of the China-Europe relations, but also further improved China's overall diplomatic layout in the new era and enhanced China's international status and influences. The series of initiatives and proposals put forward during this visit have further enriched China's diplomatic thinking and theories of contemporary international relations, and will certainly serve as new guidelines for China's diplomatic actions. At present, with the complicated and changing international situation and the full-scale scheduled reform in China, we should continue to grasp the overall situation, coordinate domestic and international issues and actively conduct an all-dimensional diplomacy to create a sounder international environment for national development, and to make greater contributions to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

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