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Members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press

ANTARA News Agency: China and ASEAN member countries agreed to accelerate negotiations for a binding Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea. What does China offer for a more harmonious and peaceful environment in the South China Sea?
Wang Yi: The Chinese people have lived by and worked in the South China Sea for generations. Since early days, the South China Sea Islands have been territories under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government in accordance with the law. Nowadays, the South China Sea is the busiest, safest and freest waterway in the world. For decades, fifty percent of the world’s merchant vessels have sailed through this waterway, accounting for one-third of maritime trade, and this has never been disrupted or hampered. Despite the turbulence in the world, peace and stability in the South China Sea have been maintained thanks to the collective efforts of China and ASEAN countries. This does not come by easily and should be dearly cherished.
The most important experience we have drawn is that we must adhere to two principles. First, differences should be properly managed and resolved through dialogue, consultation, or negotiation between states directly involved. Second, peace at the sea should be upheld by China and ASEAN countries working together. These are also the core principles in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed in 2002.
On maritime disputes, China has been exercising a high degree of restraint. We maintain that parties should find solutions that are acceptable to each and all by working in the spirit of good-neighborliness and friendship, and on the basis of respecting historical and legal facts. But abusing such good faith should not be allowed. Distorting maritime laws cannot be accepted. In face of deliberate infringements, we will take justified actions to defend our rights in accordance with the law. In face of unwarranted provocation, we will respond with prompt and legitimate countermeasures. We also urge certain countries outside this region not to make provocations, pick sides, or stir up troubles and problems in the South China Sea.
On upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, it is important that China and ASEAN countries continue implementing the DOC, and at the same time accelerate negotiations on a COC, and establish regional rules that are more effective, substantive and in line with the international law including law of the sea. With strong efforts from China, the second reading of the COC was successfully completed and procedures for the third reading launched. We will work with ASEAN countries to strive for an early conclusion of the COC and to ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace and cooperation.
Phoenix TV: The international community has introduced proposals, one after another, for global AI governance. What is China’s position on cooperation between major countries on AI?
Wang Yi: Artificial intelligence is now at a crucial stage of explosive growth. We believe that there should be equal emphasis on development and security. New things and new opportunities should be embraced; and at the same time, brakes should be checked before setting off. Concerted efforts are needed to advance global governance on AI. The Global AI Governance Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping last October has clearly laid out China’s position and proposals.
Our main focus is to ensure three principles are met. First, ensure that AI is a force for good. Development of AI should be conducive to the welfare of all humanity, in line with ethics and norms, in conformity with the rules of international law, and in keeping with the trend of human civilization. Second, ensure safety. AI should always be placed under human control, with constantly improving interpretability and predictability. For that purpose, plans should be made to assess and control various kinds of risks. Third, ensure fairness. An international AI governance institution should be set up under the U.N. framework and all countries should be able to participate on equal terms in the process of AI development and share in its benefits fairly.
I wish to stress that attempts to create “small yard, high fence” in AI development would result in mistakes with historic consequences. Such attempts cannot block other countries’ technological development. They would only fragment international industrial and supply chains and undercut humanity’s ability to tackle risks and challenges.
China takes an active and open approach on AI cooperation with other countries and has established dialogue mechanisms with a number of countries. In the field of AI, cooperation between major countries is vital, so is capacity-building for developing countries. We will submit in due course to the U.N. General Assembly a draft resolution on enhancing international cooperation on capacity-building of artificial intelligence in order to encourage technology sharing among parties, bridge the AI divide, and leave no one behind.
Zanzibar Broadcast Corporation: You visited Africa in January as a continuation of the tradition that Chinese foreign ministers make their first overseas trips to Africa at the beginning of a new year. So what will China do to consolidate its cooperation with African countries? Senior officials from the U.S. and other Western countries also paid frequent visits to Africa in recent years. Is China concerned about the competition from the West in relations with Africa?
Wang Yi: The tradition that Chinese foreign ministers start their overseas visits every year with a trip to Africa has continued for 34 years. This is unparalleled in the history of international exchanges. It is so because China and Africa are brothers treating each other with sincerity and sharing a common future. We have fought shoulder to shoulder against imperialism and colonialism. We have supported each other in pursuit of development. We have always stood for justice in a changing international landscape.
Since the start of the new era, President Xi Jinping has put forth the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and called for taking the right approach to friendship and interests. The endeavor of building a China-Africa community with a shared future has thus been steered onto a fast track. China has remained Africa’s biggest trading partner for 15 years straight, and the pie of China-Africa cooperation is growing bigger. The Chinese and African people are feeling closer to each other.
The Global South, including China and Africa, is growing fast and profoundly shaping the course of world history. African countries are experiencing a new awakening. Models imposed from outside have brought Africa neither stability nor prosperity. African countries need to explore development paths suited to their national conditions and keep their future and destiny firmly in their own hands.
In this new historical process, China will continue to stand firmly with our African brothers and supports an Africa that is truly independent in thinking and ideas. China will assist Africa in building capacity for self-driven development and support faster modernization in Africa.
China always holds that Africa should not be marginalized. While China-Africa cooperation thrives, other major countries have again turned their eyes to Africa. China welcomes that. We hope that, like China, all sides will pay greater attention to Africa and increase input to support Africa’s development. China stands ready for more trilateral and multilateral cooperation on the basis of respecting the will of Africa.
The next meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in China this autumn. Chinese and African leaders will gather in Beijing again after six years to discuss future development and cooperation and exchange governance experience. I believe that through this summit, China and Africa will enhance their long-standing friendship and deepen unity and collaboration to open up new vistas for faster common development and start a new chapter for a China-Africa community with a shared future.
Korean Broadcasting System: On the Korean Peninsula issue, does the position of the Chinese government still hold? Recently, tensions have been rising on the Peninsula. Where does China see a way out of it?
Wang Yi: The Korean Peninsula issue has been lingering for years. It has a clear root cause. That is, Cold War vestiges persist, a peace mechanism remains absent, and the security issue is yet to be fundamentally resolved. It also has a ready script. This is what China envisages as the dual-track approach and the principle of phased and synchronized actions.
Currently, tensions are rising on the Peninsula. This is not what China wants to see. The world is turbulent enough. Renewed conflict and turmoil should not happen on the Peninsula. Anyone trying to use the Korean Peninsula issue to revive the retrogressive Cold War confrontation will be held accountable by history; anyone undermining regional peace and stability will pay a heavy price.
China maintains a consistent position on the issue. All our efforts come down to one thing-to champion peace, stability and lasting security on the Peninsula. The imperative now is to desist from acts of deterrence and applying pressure, and move out of the spiral of escalating confrontation. The fundamental solution lies in resuming dialogue and negotiation; addressing the legitimate security concerns of all parties, especially those of the DPRK; and advancing the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.
China Radio International: With global challenges emerging one after another, the international community looks to the U.N. to play a bigger role. But some major countries try to bypass the U.N. and form all sorts of “small circles.” How does China see the role of the U.N.? What are China’s suggestions for the reform of the U.N.?
Wang Yi: China always believes that there is only one system in the world, i.e. the international system with the U.N. at its core; there is only one order, i.e. the international order underpinned by international law; and there is only one set of rules, i.e. the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter. No country should do whatever suits it or reinvent the wheel. The crises and challenges seen in recent years serve as repeated warnings that the role of the U.N. should be strengthened, not weakened, and the status of the U.N. must be upheld, not replaced.
Over the last 70 years and more since its founding, the U.N. has weathered wind and rain and withstood the impact of power politics. It remains the most universal, representative and authoritative intergovernmental organization, the core mechanism for achieving world peace and development, and an important platform for the many small- and medium-sized countries to participate in international affairs as equals.
China is the first country to have signed on the U.N. Charter, the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the Security Council, and the second largest contributor to the U.N.’s regular budget and peacekeeping assessment. In response to the development deficit, we advance the Global Development Initiative as a boost to the implementation of the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In response to the climate threat, we support U.N.-led international cooperation on climate change and will make the world’s biggest cut in carbon emission intensity in the shortest time frame ever seen in history.
At the same time, the U.N. also needs to reform and improve in keeping with the times, to adapt to the new realities of international political and economic development and to increase the representation and say of developing countries. Major countries in particular need to assume their responsibilities and help the U.N., including its Security Council, to better fulfill its mandate, build global consensus more effectively, mobilize global resources, and coordinate global actions. China supports the U.N. in holding the Summit of the Future and reaching a Pact for the Future that benefits all parties. We will work with the international community to support the continuous development and improvement of the U.N. Taking international rule of law as the basis, fairness and justice as a principle, win-win cooperation as the goal and effective action as an orientation, we will practice true multilateralism and promote greater democracy and rule of law in international relations.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Over the past 10 years since President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative, many countries have felt the tangible benefits from the Initiative. Could you share the outlook for Belt and Road cooperation in the next stage?
Wang Yi: Since President Xi Jinping put forward the BRI more than 10 years ago, Belt and Road cooperation has produced fruitful outcomes. The BRI has become the most popular global public good and the largest platform for international cooperation. It has also become a pathway to cooperation, opportunity and prosperity for partner countries seeking joint development. At the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping announced eight major steps that China would take, marking a new stage in high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation. China will work with all parties to uphold the Silk Road spirit, deliver on the outcomes of the Forum, and usher in a second golden decade of Belt and Road cooperation.
We will promote the upgrading of physical connectivity. We will continue to develop a multidimensional global infrastructure connectivity network that is high-quality, sustainable and resilient and covers sea, land and air. We will accelerate the development of a digital Silk Road, redouble efforts to build a green Silk Road, and work with BRI partners in addressing various new challenges.?
We will promote the strengthening of institutional connectivity. We will stay committed to the principle of “planning together, building together and benefiting together,”stick to the philosophy of open, green and clean cooperation, and keep to the goal of pursuing high-standard, people-centered and sustainable cooperation. We will seek greater synergy between the BRI and the development strategies of all sides, promote both signature projects and small and beautiful programs, and make active efforts for an open world economy. We want to make the BRI a lasting opportunity shared by all.
We will promote the deepening of people-to-people connectivity. We will have more inter-civilizational dialogue among BRI partners, support nongovernmental and subnational exchanges, and carry out a wide range of cultural and people-to-people interactions, so that the Silk Road spirit will take hold in people’s hearts.
The type of modernization China pursues is not one that benefits China alone. We hope that high-quality Belt and Road cooperation will serve as an engine of the common development of all countries and an accelerator for the modernization of the whole world.
Prensa Latina: Last year, the BRICS mechanism achieved a historic expansion, and Cuba successfully hosted the Summit of the Group of 77 and China. Some media outlets and scholars believe that the Global South is challenging the international order led by the West. As an important member of the Global South, what is China’s comment?
Wang Yi: A stronger BRICS means growing force for peace and increasing international support for justice. It should not be seen as a challenge. In a broader sense, BRICS expansion reflects the collective rise of the Global South and a world evolving faster toward multipolarity. Consisting of emerging markets and developing countries, the Global South now takes up over 40 percent of the world economy, changing the global economic landscape in a profound way. Independence is its distinct quality and seeking strength through unity is its tradition. The Global South is no longer the “silent majority,” but a key force for reforming the international order and a source of hope as the world undergoes profound changes unseen in a century.
China was, is and will be a steadfast member of the Global South. We go through thick and thin and head toward a shared future together with countries of the South, and we are always a crucial force for the development and prosperity of the Global South.
This year will be a year of harvest for Global South cooperation, and a new starting point for unity among Asian, African and Latin American countries. The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The China-CELAC Forum will count 10 years of productive cooperation. Another FOCAC Summit will take place in China this coming autumn. China looks forward to jointly celebrating the milestones with various parties, and continuing to promote unity and cooperation among developing countries to augment the strength of the South. China also supports Russia in holding the summit of the “greater BRICS” following its membership enlargement, and supports Brazil and Peru in holding the G20 Leaders’ Summit and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting respectively to jointly create a shining “South moment” in global governance.
China Daily: Last year, more than 1,500 Chinese nationals were evacuated from Sudan and returned to safety in China. What more can we expect this year from the Foreign Ministry in terms of “diplomacy for the people?”
Wang Yi: In a year of changes and confusion around the world, the CPC Central Committee kept close to its heart the safety of all Chinese compatriots abroad. Throughout the year, the Ministry and our missions all over the world spared no effort to bring heartwarming care from the CPC Central Committee to all compatriots.
We strengthened consular protection abroad, handling more than 80,000 cases of various types and issuing more than 6,000 reminders and alerts. We evacuated thousands of Chinese nationals from Sudan, Palestine, Israel and other places, doing our best to protect the life and safety of Chinese nationals abroad. We continued to improve the functions of the “China Consular Affairs” app and responded to more than 530,000 calls seeking help on the consular service hotline 12308. We made Chinese passports stronger; more than 20 countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, now have mutual visa waivers with China for all types of passports. China also promulgated its first Regulations on Consular Protection and Assistance, to make for law-based, institutionalized and standardized consular protection.
Practicing diplomacy for the people is a ceaseless endeavor. This year, we will focus on three priorities:
First, we will make full efforts to strengthen the system for the protection of Chinese nationals and interests abroad. We will spread the knowledge about consular protection, work more effectively to issue security risk alerts, further improve the 12308 hotline, and provide efficient, responsive and whole-process services on the consular protection platform.
Second, we will continue to build fast-track networks for cross-border travels. We will work for faster recovery of international passenger flights, and make arrangements with more countries for visa-free travels and multi-year, multi-entry visa options.
Third, we will continue to improve in-person and online consular services. We will upgrade the “China Consular Affairs” app and equip our missions abroad with smart consular service centers, to deliver finer and easier consular services to overseas Chinese.
My message is this: China carries out diplomacy for its people. Serving the people and meeting our compatriots’ expectations is our abiding mission.
China Arab TV: Last year, China’s voice grew stronger in the world and more are hoping to learn about China’s stories. What in your eyes is most notable and significant about China’s stories in the new era? What can foreign journalists do in communicating China’s stories?
Wang Yi: This is a good question. Over the past few years, foreign journalists in China have covered many lively stories about China: from a string of Shenzhou space missions to the Fendouzhe submersible diving in the deepest oceanic trench, from reversing desertification to promoting low-carbon lifestyle, from the Asian Games in Hangzhou to the basketball games in rural Guizhou province called VBA. You have told the world inspiring stories of 1.4 billion people working as one for the Chinese Dream. You have shown the world a vibrant China in the new era. Let me take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the good work of our friends from the media.
China’s stories are fascinating. They are first and foremost stories of the CPC. For over a century, the CPC has rallied and led the Chinese people in a tireless endeavor, blazing the Chinese path to modernization and creating development miracles unseen in human history. This is the leading theme of the stories about China. China’s stories are essentially stories of the Chinese people. The people are the lead characters of China’s stories. Under the leadership of the CPC, the 1.4 billion-plus Chinese people have been working tenaciously and building happy lives with their own hard work. This is the most notable chapter in China’s stories. China’s stories are also stories of common progress of China and the rest of the world. China keeps its development closely linked with that of other countries. Taking determined steps to reform and open up, China has grown stronger and brought benefits to the world. This is the most far-reaching part of China’s stories.
You ask why good storytelling about China is important. People need to realize that China’s stories do not exist in isolation. They are instead important chapters of the stories of humanity. They speak to a truth: when countries proceed from their own national conditions to explore modernization paths, they will together make up a new, colorful vista of world modernization.
There are more foreign journalists telling China’s stories. One of them sees it as a lifelong mission because China is a place that makes the impossible possible. I can see more foreign influencers becoming popular with viewers from around the world for sharing their experiences in China. More foreign friends are welcome to join us in telling the stories of an energetic, bustling China and of China working hand in hand with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.