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Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Interviewed by People's Daily at the Year End

Journalist: What do you think are the new features of the international situation this year?

Li Zhaoxing: The international situation this year has maintained general stability, yet uncertain and unstable factors are also on the rise. This year's international situation has generally the following characteristics:

First, multi-polarization has been newly developed. After the Iraq war, the international community has realized more deeply that to address major international issues, international cooperation is needed, multilateralism cannot be left out, and the multilateral institution centered by the United Nations cannot be left out. Dialogs and cooperation between major forces have been strengthened, but conflicts and fights around future international order are being continued.

Second, international security situation is more complicated. Especially hot regional issues keep emerging, terrorist activities are rampant, and non-conventional security issues become more serious.

Third, the general world economic situation is good. Economic globalization and regional cooperation are developing. International trade and investment become more active. But international competition becomes more fierce, energy and resource problems become serious.

Journalist: What major achievements have been made in China's diplomatic work this year?

Li Zhaoxing: Faced with complicated international situation, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee, guided by Deng Xiaoping theories and the important thought of "Three Represents", China's diplomatic work was closely centered on the basic task of developing all-round well-off society. The messages sent from the 4th plenary session of the 16th CPC Central Committee and the 10th meeting of diplomats to foreign countries are being followed up with great efforts. Work is being done toward peaceful and stable international and neighbor environment, equal and reciprocal cooperation environment and objective and friendly opinion environment.

We conscientiously practice the principle of "to become a good neighbor and a good partner" and the policy of "good, safe and rich neighbors", promote and guide regional cooperation in East Asia. China-ASEAN relations have entered a new phase. We promote the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to conduct comprehensive and substantive cooperation. China has played an active and constructive role in the Korean peninsular nuclear issue. We properly handle sensitive issues in neighboring countries, and comprehensively promote reciprocal cooperation with the broad neighboring Asian countries.

We make efforts to develop ties with big countries. Relations with the United States generally maintained stability and development. President Hu Jintao met with President Bush when he attended the APEC informal leadership meeting in Chile last month. They made positive comments on the constructive China-U.S. cooperative relations, and reached important consensus on further development of China-U.S. ties in the coming four years. China's strategic collaborative partnership with Russia has been deepened. The heads of state and government leaders of the two countries have met many times. The two countries have completely resolved the borders issues left by history and worked out long-term plans for the development of bilateral relations. The implications of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership have been continuously enriched, and long-term progress has been made in their cooperation in economy and trade, science and technology as well as international affairs.

We strengthen comprehensively relations with the broad developing countries. President Hu Jintao and other CPC and state leaders have visited Asian, African and Latin American countries many times, vigorously enhancing China's unity and cooperation with the broad developing countries. We hold dialogs with big developing countries including Brazil, India and South Africa, launched the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum (SACF). China follows up the outcomes of the second ministerial-level meeting of the China-Africa cooperation forum. China has become an observer of the Latin American Congress and the Organization of American States, and has reached consensus with Latin America on establishing "China-Latin America Cooperation Forum".

Multi-lateral work has been very active this year. We endorse the authority of the United Nations, advocate multi-lateralism, and promote democratization of international relations. We took a constructive part in the solution of hot international issues concerning Iraq, Darfur of Sudan, etc. We sent our first systematically organized civil police team to participated in the United Nations peace-keeping activities, and contributed to maintaining world peace and promoting common development. China plays an important role in arenas like APEC and Asia-Europe meeting. In international arenas we have firmly fought "Taiwan independence". With the support from justice-upholding countries, we successively frustrated Taiwan's attempt to "return to" the United Nations and to squeeze into the World Health Organization. At the United Nations human rights conference, we frustrated the few countries' attempt to interfere China's internal affairs and maintained China's core interests and national dignity.

Journalist: What has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs done this year in practicing "governing for the people"?

Li Zhaoxing: "Governing for the people" and "diplomacy for the people" are the principles of diplomatic work. We remember the people's interests all the time, and try all means to protect legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens and legal persons. Leaders of CPC and of the nation pays attention to the safety or danger and good or bad life of overseas Chinese citizens, including Hongkong, Macao, and Taiwan compatriots, and have made may concrete instructions. Coordinated by other agencies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Chinese Embassies and Consulates to other countries worked in time and well handled the incidents endangering Chinese citizens' life and property in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom. We also strengthened institutional and capacity building, established cross-ministry meeting mechanism and emergency response coordination handling mechanism, and strengthened consul information release work.

We start from serving the general national development, vigorously strengthen economic diplomacy, promote economic and trade cooperation with other countries, and continuously improve the service by diplomacy to domestic socio-economic development. We conduct active cultural exchanges. Such activities as "China-France Culture Year" facilitated friendship between the Chinese people and people all over the world. Inside China, we pay high attention to public diplomacy, often explain to the public China's diplomatic policies and practice, learn from the people how to improve our work, and have received more and more understanding and support from the people.

Journalist: Finally, please talk about next year's diplomatic work.

Li Zhaoxing: We will continue promoting good neighborhood win-win cooperation featured by equality and mutual trust, stabilize and develop relations with developed countries, and deepen and strengthen unity and cooperation with developing countries. We will keep improving our capability of responding to international changes and of handling international affairs, better serve the development of all-round well-off society and the great cause of national unification, do more good and pragmatic things for the people, and make greater contribution to keeping world peace, promoting common development and facilitating reciprocal cooperation.

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