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Speech by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Opening of the Symposium On International Developments and China's Diplomacy in 2016


3 December 2016

Distinguished experts,
Dear friends,

Good morning!

Before we even notice it, we are now approaching the end of 2016. I still remember that I said at last year's symposium that 2016 would see accelerated adjustment and transformation of the international architecture from a new starting point. Looking back today, that assessment has been proven correct on the whole, with some changes even more dramatic than expected. The world economy remains sluggish. Brexit has caught everyone by surprise. The Middle East is mired in aggravating tension. And there is growing backlash against globalization. All these taken into account, I would encapsulate the world situation in 2016 with two words, "volatility" and "turbulence". We are seeing a more volatile and turbulent world, one with greater uncertainty and instability that the international community finds deeply unsettling. On the other hand, we must also recognize that this is the unavoidable result of the realignment and transformation of the international architecture. It brings about not just new challenges, but also new opportunities. For countries around the world, what matters most is how to seize the opportunities, overcome challenges and make the international architecture more peaceful, stable and equitable, and better serve development and prosperity of our world.

For China's diplomacy, 2016 can be summed up as an important year in which China has blazed new paths and made new progress. Facing the complex and fast-changing international situation, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core and guided by the foreign policy it sets out, we have forged ahead and overcome various difficulties. We have secured a sound external environment conducive to China's development amidst the grim world situation, and elevated China's standing, influence, and institutional rights in the changing international system. In 2016, China is more proactive, more enterprising, more confident and more mature in the diplomatic arena. It has made steady progress in developing a distinctive diplomatic approach befitting China's role as a major country with a series of important achievements that have made the Chinese people proud and also won international admiration.

First, we have demonstrated a keen sense of responsibility in shaping the reform of global governance system.

Over the last couple of years, economic growth in the world, advanced countries in particular, has remained anemic. Yet all this while, the Chinese economy has maintained a steady medium-high growth rate. Therefore, more people are looking to China to play a greater role in driving the recovery and growth of the world economy and moving forward the reform of global governance system. Bearing in mind China's domestic and international interests,the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core has worked earnestly and proactively to live up to these expectations. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee has had two group study sessions on global governance in less than 12 months, and decided to act along the trend and seize the opportunity to help shape the international order toward greater justice and equity.

We have successfully hosted the G20 Hangzhou Summit. The Summit, chaired by President Xi Jinping, took place at a critical moment for the world economy, global governance and institution-building of the G20 itself, hence was looked upon with high hopes by the international community. As the host, China actively encouraged parties to make innovation and structural reform the new pathway to re-energize the world economy. This has increased the international visibility of China's vision for innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, enhanced the relevance of China's reform and opening-up experience to other countries, and pointed the way forward for the world economy and global governance. For the underlying problems holding back global growth, we offered a multi-pronged "Chinese prescription" that addresses both the short-term and long-term issues, injecting strong momentum into global growth.

Under China's thoughtful and diligent presidency, the Hangzhou Summit has set a record in the G20 history in terms of the number of participating developing countries and the distinctly pro-development agenda and outcomes. For the first time in the G20 history, innovation features as a core outcome; development takes a prominent place in global macro policy coordination; a framework for multilateral global investment rules is established; a presidency statement on climate change is issued; and green finance is put on the G20 agenda. The Summit has produced 29 important outcomes, leaving an indelible China mark in the G20 process and a milestone in its history.

At the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) in Lima, President Xi directly addressed such major challenges as anti-globalization, protectionism and fragmentation of regional cooperation. With a keen understanding of the historical trend and speaking for the urgent need of the times, President Xi underscored the importance of rejecting all forms of protectionism, demonstrating with concrete actions the Asia-Pacific's unwavering commitment to and confidence in economic globalization and steering economic globalization toward greater inclusiveness and shared benefits. He called on all parties to translate consensus into action, realize the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) at an early date, deepen economic integration, enhance connectivity, support reform and innovation, and strengthen cooperation for win-win results. President Xi's important views are consistent with the consensus of the AELM in Beijing and the outcomes of G20 Summit in Hangzhou and instrumental in calming nerves, boosting confidence and building consensus in the world. China has championed and worked for the adoption of the Lima Declaration on FTAAP at the AELM in Peru. The document established the guiding principles, key areas, reporting mechanism and basic framework for FTAAP. It not only helped maintain the momentum of FTAAP but also injected fresh vitality to the process.

Climate change, an issue of global nature, is something China takes seriously. With President Xi sending his special envoy to a high-level signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement, China has played a pioneering role all the way from Paris to the UN Headquarters in New York. On the sidelines of the G20 Hangzhou Summit, the presidents of China and the US deposited the instruments of joining the Paris Agreement, thus demonstrating the leadership of the two countries on climate change. While attending this year's UNGA session, Premier Li Keqiang chaired a roundtable on sustainable development, where he released China's national plan on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, making China the first country to do so. Premier Li also envisioned for the first time a path of sustainable development featuring economic prosperity, social progress and sound environment, setting an example for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda by individual countries.

Second, we have seized opportunities to maintain stability and promote cooperation in our neighborhood.

When it comes to our neighborhood, the most notable achievement we have made this year is without doubt the turnaround in China's relations with the Philippines. The confrontational approach taken by the previous Philippine government in the last couple of years on its relations with China has plunged the bilateral ties to rock bottom, which is not in the Philippine people's interest. It also hampered the efforts of the countries in this region to maintain peace and stability. After assuming office, President Rodrigo Duterte chose China as the destination of his first state visit to a non-ASEAN country, demonstrating his commitment to growing friendly relations with China. China also responded with open arms for friendship and cooperation with the Philippine people. President Xi warmly received President Duterte and the two sides reached important agreement on improving and growing bilateral ties in all respects. This commendable turnaround in China-Philippines ties marks the return of the South China Sea issue to the right track of dialogue and consultation and the complete failure of certain countries' ruse to make use of the issue to mess up the region. It has also removed stumbling blocks to deeper cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.

This year, we have enhanced exchanges and cooperation with some of our major neighbors. President Xi's successful visit to Cambodia has opened a new chapter in the history of friendship between China and Cambodia. Though small in size, Cambodia has defied power politics and pressure, upheld justice and stayed committed to friendship with China. We cherish and set great store by this valuable friendship. President Xi's visit to Phnom Penh has sent a clear message of China's full support for its old friend. It will have positive and far-reaching ramifications that go well beyond the bilateral scope. President Xi's visit to Bangladesh, the first by a Chinese head of state in 30 years, has taken the mutual trust and practical cooperation between China and Bangladesh to a higher level and made China the first strategic partner Bangladesh has chosen for itself. Premier Li Keqiang's official visit to Laos has consolidated the strategic trust and deepened the traditional friendship between China and Laos. Our proactive engagement with the new government and other parties in Myanmar has promptly ensured the stability of China-Myanmar relations amid drastic changes in Myanmar's political landscape. The first visiting foreign minister received by the new government in Naypyidaw is from China, and the first non-ASEAN country State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi visited is China. The new government in Sri Lanka has come to regard China as a sincere partner that is indispensable for its national development. The two sides have reached solid agreement on closer, mutually beneficial cooperation, thus removing obstacles one by one and bringing major cooperation projects back to the right track.

We have worked to build various mechanisms in our neighborhood. President Xi attended the SCO summit and used the SCO's 15th anniversary as an opportunity to call on all parties to promote the Shanghai spirit and take the SCO to a new stage of development with greater unity and coordination. Premier Li Keqiang attended the East Asian leaders' meetings, including a commemorative summit on the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. At the commemorative summit, Premier Li outlined new steps for practical cooperation and opened a new chapter in China-ASEAN relations. We officially launched the Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism. This mechanism and the resumed China-Japan-ROK cooperation, covering the south and north of our region respectively, will work in parallel and create new engines for regional cooperation in East Asia.

We will continue to play our constructive role in hotspot issues in our neighborhood and do our best to maintain stability in our neighborhood and the whole region. We will stay committed to the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and stick to dialogue and negotiation as the way to solve the nuclear issue and maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula. This position is aboveboard and rock firm. Committed to breaking the vicious cycle on the Peninsula, we have proposed the dual-track approach of denuclearization on one hand and replacement of armistice with a peace treaty on the other, in the hope of finding a breakthrough to restart the Six-Party Talks. This suggestion makes every sense and can stand up to scrutiny. Being firm in safeguarding our legitimate interests and strategic security environment, we oppose the deployment of THAAD on the Peninsula under the pretext of the nuclear issue. We staunchly support political reconciliation in Afghanistan, take an active part in the Istanbul Process and work for the issue's resolution through our own channels and the quartet mechanism involving China, the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Third, we have made proactive efforts to ensure stability in major country relations.

This year is a US election year. The implication of the elections on future China-US relations is a subject of intense interest not just in China but also in the global community. Amid heightened misgivings and growing noises on China in the US, President Xi and President Obama met again during the G20 Hangzhou Summit. Following their previous meetings at Sunnylands, Yingtai and Blair House, the two presidents had another long conversation by the West Lake to continue their candid exchange and strategic communication, which helped to increase trust and reduce misgivings. The two sides reached 35 outcomes of cooperation. The success of the meeting fully shows that the common interests between the two countries far outweigh their differences, and their coordination and cooperation is much more important than competition or friction. Moreover, it has exerted a far-reaching influence not only on greater stability in China-US relations, but also on peace in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large.

The two presidents met again during the APEC meeting in Lima last month, during which they reviewed the experience of China-US relations over the years, and agreed to ensure continued sound and stable development of China-US relations along the right track.

Soon after the result of the election came out, President Xi had a telephone conversation with President-elect Trump. President Xi highlighted the importance of cooperation between China and the US as the largest developing country and the largest developed country. He said that there are many areas where the two countries need to and can cooperate. China is ready to work with the US to advance bilateral relations toward no-conflict, no-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and bring more benefits to the two peoples and people of other countries. President-elect Trump said that China is a great country with enormous potential and bright prospect, and he believes that relations between the two great countries will get better and better. This conversation was a good beginning, and augurs well for the future development of China-US relations.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. The Chinese and Russian presidents met five times this year, which enabled them to update their strategic planning for the development of bilateral relations in a timely way. The two sides issued a joint statement on strengthening global strategic stability, and maintained close coordination on major international and regional issues. Steady progress was made in cooperation on major projects in energy and aviation and on the development of the Russian Far East, and greater synergy is being forged between the Belt and Road initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union. This has elevated the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a higher level. Smooth progress in China-Russia relations and their all-round cooperation in recent years has not only brought benefits to the two countries and peoples, but also added strong positive energy to regional stability and world peace. China-Russia strategic coordination has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and has become a cornerstone for global peace and stability.

President Xi visited Central and Eastern Europe twice in the year, and Premier Li attended the Riga summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). These well-coordinated diplomatic efforts have helped to build momentum and lay out a new blueprint for China-CEEC cooperation. China successfully hosted the 18th China-EU summit, and new progress was made in exchange and cooperation mechanisms with France and Germany. The new British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed Britain's renewed commitment toward building a "golden era" for UK-China relations. We have reason to believe that China-UK cooperation will continue to move forward and bring pleasant surprise with its progress.

Against the backdrop of overall slow-down in the BRICS economies and pessimistic voices on BRICS cooperation, President Xi laid out in detail the achievements and experiences gained in BRICS cooperation over the past decade at the BRICS summit in Goa. This has bolstered confidence and unity among BRICS members, outlined a bright prospect and provided strong impetus for BRICS cooperation.

Fourth, we have endeavored to expand our circle of friends among developing countries around the world.

The Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs has proposed to build a network of partnership across the world. With developing countries as the priority, we have worked to build partnerships of various types which have distinctive features and are mutually reinforcing. An initial global network of partnerships has thus taken shape and is being further strengthened. This year, we have set up new partnership relations with seven countries, and elevated existing partnerships with 11 countries, a big majority of which being developing countries.

For the Middle East, President Xi paid his first visit to the region. His visit elevated China's relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran to higher levels, and improved China's strategic presence in the region. At the Arab League headquarters, President Xi fully elaborated on China's Middle East policy in the new era, and made proposals on cooperation with the Middle East and Arab countries, which gave a strong boost to the overall cooperation between China and the Arab world.

For Africa, nearly 20 African leaders came to China for visits or to attend events this year. The Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was successfully held to fully implement the 10 cooperation plans for China and Africa announced by President Xi and raise China-Africa friendship and cooperation to a higher level.

For Latin America, President Xi has just concluded his third trip to the region, during which China upgraded its relations with Ecuador and Chile to comprehensive strategic partnership, increasing the number of such partners of China in Latin America to seven. President Xi and President Kuczynski of Peru exchanged visits in about two months, heralding new progress in the China-Peru comprehensive strategic partnership. In his important speech at the Peruvian Congress, which was intended for the whole region, President Xi called for joint efforts to advance a community of shared future between China and Latin America, broadening the horizon for relations between the two sides. New leaders of Brazil and Argentina came to China for the G20 Hangzhou Summit shortly after they took office. That signified a smooth transition of China's bilateral relations with the two countries. It has been proven that the widening and deepening of China-Latin America cooperation has transcended party divisions and government changes in Latin American countries and become the strategic consensus among all sectors of Latin American society.

Fifth, we have made new breakthroughs in carrying out the Belt and Road initiative through enhancing complementarity.

In his important speech at the Uzbekistan parliament, President Xi reviewed the progress made since the inception of the Belt and Road initiative and expressed China's readiness to work with countries along the routes with focuses on green development, public health improvement, think tank collaboration and advancement of peace. This general direction and new vision to advance the initiative has been widely echoed in the international community. So far, over 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their willingness to support and join the initiative. China has signed cooperation agreements on the initiative with more than 40 countries and international organizations. A breakthrough was made in developing multilateral economic corridors under the Belt and Road initiative as China, Mongolia and Russia officially signed the plan to build an economic corridor. Steady progress is being made in synergizing the initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union. And for the first time, APEC included in its leaders' declaration the core tenets of the Belt and Road initiative, i.e. wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit.

We have sped up effort to promote connectivity and industrial capacity cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road. The Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway is already under construction, and the construction of the China-Laos and China-Thailand railways will soon start, increasing the possibility of building a Pan-Asian Railway Network. Chinese companies won the bid for the project of Kyaukpyu deep-sea port and special economic zone, which sets the stage for designing a China-Myanmar economic corridor. The Gwadar Port has started regular operation, marking a concrete step in building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The construction of the Colombo Port City has been fully resumed, creating a promising linchpin in the making of the Maritime Silk Road. China and Kazakhstan have established a fund for industrial capacity cooperation, and their cooperation model continues to serve as a guide for similar endeavors. The newly launched Angren-Pap railway tunnel, the longest of its kind in Central Asia, is significant in opening a corridor connecting China and Central and Western Asia. The winning of the bid by a Chinese firm for the project of Greece's Piraeus Port Authority augurs well for accelerated development of the China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line. With the commercial contract on the Belgrade-Budapest Railway, the mechanism for routine operation of freight train services between China and Europe is now in place. And the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway built with Chinese equipment and standards has started operation, setting a fine example for capacity cooperation between China and Africa.

We have actively promoted institutional innovation for the Belt and Road initiative. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has started operation, and the first batch of investment projects under the Silk Road Fund have been launched smoothly. China and Saudi Arabia established a high-level committee, which has convened its first meeting and produced important outcomes on energy and industrial park cooperation. Progress is being made in China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and China-Israel FTA negotiations.

Sixth, we have stood firm on our just position and resolutely upheld our sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea.

This year, the situation regarding the South China Sea was once highly complex and acute. In particular, the award of the so-called South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the previous Philippine government was out in July, trying to completely deny and undermine China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. Confronted with such a political provocation behind the facade of law, we had to fight back firmly in defense of China's sovereign rights, national dignity and peace and stability in the South China Sea. President Xi and other members of the central leadership made clear of China's solemn position on different bilateral and multilateral occasions and worked personally on various parties. Our just position won the understanding and support of nearly 120 countries and over 240 political parties. The Foreign Ministry, together with other Chinese government agencies, presented our case from different perspectives, levels and channels and provided our legal grounds and reasoning. These efforts fully exposed the temporary arbitral tribunal's illegal acts of willfully expanding, overstepping and abusing its mandate and thwarted the political attempt of certain countries and forces to suppress and discredit China. Chinese experts and scholars wrote profusely about the history and legal basis of the issue, winning greater understanding and acceptance in the circle of international law. In the meantime, we stood firm on the high ground of safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea, reached out to ASEAN countries and proposed a fair and reasonable "dual-track" approach for parties to focus on dialogue and cooperation and adhere to the regional rules reached between China and ASEAN. These efforts brought about the unanimous agreement that relevant disputes should be solved through dialogue and consultation between parties directly concerned. The series of just actions we have taken on the arbitration case ensured that justice is upheld for China. It also restored a precious peaceful, stable and cooperative environment to the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific.

We have steadfastly upheld the one-China principle and fought the attempt to create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan". We opposed foreign interference in Hong Kong and Macao affairs, took solid steps to advance diplomatic efforts concerning Tibet and Xinjiang and worked to enhance international cooperation on counter-terrorism, law enforcement and security, which have safeguarded China's national sovereignty and security interests.

Seventh, we have introduced new measures to serve domestic development and reform and opening-up.

We have built a new platform for serving sub-national opening-up and development by launching a publicity campaign to raise the global profile of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. Four such events have been held for Ningxia, Guangxi, Shaanxi and Sichuan. Thanks to these events, various localities, especially those in central and west China, are able to engage with foreign countries and world-renowned companies and find potential cooperation partner without traveling abroad. And diplomatic envoys in China do not have to go outside Beijing to learn about the opening-up policies and development prospects of Chinese localities and explore cooperation opportunities. We have also drawn on the strength of the Foreign Ministry and overseas missions in communication channels, sources of information and social network to provide all-round support and service for sub-national opening-up and development.

We have fully cooperated with competent domestic authorities to cast an extensive anti-corruption net worldwide for going after fugitives and recovering stolen assets. Through lawful means and official channels, 19 people on the 100-person most wanted list had returned to China this year, making positive contribution to the efforts of governing the country based on the rule of law and strengthening the conduct of the Party in an all-round way.

We have also reached new arrangements with over ten countries and regions on facilitating people-to-people exchange. Forty countries have simplified visa procedures for Chinese citizens, and holders of ordinary Chinese passports can now travel to 57 countries or regions with conditional visa waiver arrangement or visa upon arrival. We evacuated over 1,000 Chinese nationals from South Sudan, rescued the sailors who were abducted by Somali pirates for more than four years and properly handled over 10,000 major emergencies involving the interests and safety of Chinese nationals. The 12308 consular protection hotline has been in smooth operation across the 200-plus overseas diplomatic missions.

Eighth, we have made pioneering efforts to improve the system of China's diplomatic theories.

The CPC Central Committee attaches great importance to and actively advances the innovation of the system of China's diplomatic theories. At the G20 Hangzhou Summit, President Xi systematically outlined the concept of global economic governance with equality as the basis, opening-up as the direction, cooperation as the driving force and shared benefits as the goal. He called for improving global governance in the four major areas of finance, trade and investment, energy and development and drew "China's roadmap" for advancing the reform of the global economic governance system.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has carried forward the past achievements and steered the trend of the times in the course of China's development. Drawing on the fine traditional culture of China, he has put forward the vision of fair, open, comprehensive and innovation-driven development, the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, the outlook of cooperation with deepening Asia-Africa cooperation, expanding South-South cooperation and advancing South-North cooperation at the core, the concept of global governance based on wide consultation,joint contribution and shared benefits, the idea of an international order featuring win-win cooperation and a right approach to upholding justice and pursuing one's own interests with emphasis on the former. All these have enriched and improved the system of theories of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and provided timely, strong guidance for the fast development of China's diplomacy.

Our diplomatic achievements over the past year show that the diplomatic guidelines and policies set by the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core since the 18th CPC National Congress are fully correct. The CPC Central Committee has made pioneering and proactive efforts with emphasis on overall planning and achieved a series of impressive outcomes in China's diplomacy. China's influence in the international system has risen fast and China's role has been more prominent in international affairs.

Distinguished experts,
Dear friends,

The year 2017 will be an important year in China's course of development. The 19th CPC National Congress will be held and the 13th Five-Year Plan will enter the stage of all-round, intensive implementation. The major global trend of peace and development remains unchanged, yet mixed new dynamics will continue to develop. We will, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, firm up the awareness of serving China's development and work hard to step up strategic planning and ensure full delivery of policies. We will consolidate the existing favorable strategic momentum and expand the international space for mutually beneficial cooperation to provide firm support for the 19th CPC National Congress and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and make greater contribution to the cause of world peace and development.

We will make full efforts to serve the holding of the 19th CPC National Congress. We will fully review the diplomatic thinking of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the diplomatic practices since the 18th CPC National Congress to make political and theoretical preparations from the diplomatic perspective for the 19th CPC National Congress. We will play a constructive part in resolving hotspot issues and addressing global challenges and actively guide the international community to better understand and appreciate the path, theories, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics to create favorable external environment for the opening of the 19th CPC National Congress.

We will make thorough preparations for the "Belt and Road" Forum for International Cooperation. President Xi made the announcement when addressing the Uzbekistan parliament. This will be the highlight event that China hosts next year. This forum is a strategic measure that China takes to bolster world economic growth. It is an important platform for deepening international cooperation on development and also an innovation in applying the idea of cooperation for win-win outcomes. By hosting the forum, we will draw a blueprint for the development of "Belt and Road" initiative, enhance the complementarity of our development strategies and push for more cooperation projects to add robust impetus to global growth and the efforts to build an open world economy.

We will make the Ninth BRICS Summit a success. BRICS cooperation has reached a new historical starting point. In Xiamen next year, the BRICS countries will review the successful experience of past cooperation, plan for its future development, identify the way forward for the BRICS mechanism and expand practical cooperation across the board. We will also deepen solidarity and cooperation with emerging markets and developing countries and build an important platform for South-South cooperation with global influence.

We must secure a favorable external environment. We will step up communication and coordination with the new US administration to expand practical cooperation while properly managing differences, and to achieve sustained, sound and steady growth of China-US relations. We will advance China's high-level strategic coordination with Russia on all fronts, tap into the complementarity of our development strategies and deepen cooperation on major projects. We will pursue greater progress in China-EU relations by seizing the opportunities presented by the 45th anniversary of China's diplomatic relations with the UK and Germany in 2017 and the vision to build China-EU partnership in four aspects. We will intensify friendly cooperation with ASEAN countries, promote solid and in-depth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, keep to the right approach of settling the South China Sea issue through dialogue and negotiation, and turn the relevant waters into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. We will actively explore viable ways to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, strive to bring the nuclear issue back to the negotiation table, and resolutely uphold peace and stability on the Peninsula. We will take a constructive part in Afghanistan's peace and reconciliation process, and advance friendly and cooperative relations with all countries in South Asia. As 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Central Asian countries, we will work to bring our relations to a higher level through the SCO and CICA.

We will remain deeply involved in global governance. We will follow up on all the outcomes of the G20 Hangzhou Summit. As we implement the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, we have an opportunity to shape the international agenda on development and cooperation through our participation in the World Economic Forum, G20, APEC, SCO and other fora, and effect change in the global economic governance system. We will encourage the UN to play a leading role, work with it to put the China-UN Peace and Development Fund to best use, and solidify UN's position at the heart of global peace and security.

We will give robust support to China's domestic development agenda. In conducting diplomatic work, we always bear in mind the larger picture of China's reform, development and stability, keenly grasp what is most needed at home, earnestly safeguard the economic and financial security of the country, and resolutely defend our legitimate interests overseas. We will better address new issues arising from China's growing business and personnel presence abroad. The Foreign Ministry will continue to present Chinese provinces to an international audience, devise creative measures to support their opening-up, and foster more enabling conditions for their reform and development efforts.

We will continue to do a good job in protecting and assisting Chinese nationals overseas. To serve the people is the very purpose of China's diplomacy and we will remain true to this mission. It is estimated that in the coming five years, Chinese nationals will make 700 million outbound visits, which will put a higher demand on our consular protection service. We will improve the consular protection mechanism and capacity, do everything in our power to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and businesses overseas, and make it easier to travel with a Chinese passport. All these efforts are designed to make the foreign trips of Chinese citizens safer and smoother, and to better protect their interests.

Distinguished experts,

The international system is going through major transformation and change. Many of the changes are unprecedented; many problems are unexpected. But on reflection, they make sense, as every transformation and change has its internal dynamics and a set pattern. Those who can grasp the underlying trend will be in an advantageous position to set the pace and shape events. It is incumbent upon the Foreign Ministry to step up forward-looking and strategic studies and provide more insightful and valuable recommendations to our leaders. Meanwhile, I would encourage you, experts and scholars who have long been engaged in international studies and foreign relations, to devote more attention to the fundamental, indicative trends in the world. Personally I would suggest that you follow these six trends: first, the evolution of the international architecture; second, economic globalization and regional integration; third, reform of the global governance system; fourth, the domestic and foreign policies of major countries; fifth, main thoughts and public opinions globally; and sixth, global challenges and hotspot issues. These are some of the possible topics for your consideration. We look forward to benefiting from your prescient views and valuable ideas.

Thank you.

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