Beijing, April 4th: From March 31 to April 3, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi accepted an exclusive interview with reporters after receiving visits to China by the foreign ministers of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea. The full text is as follows:
1. The current new crown vaccine has become a key element of the next stage of epidemic prevention and control. But some people think that China is pursuing “vaccine diplomacy.” What is your response to this?
Wang Yi: At present, the global fight against the epidemic has entered a new stage, and it is in the common interest of all mankind to continue to carry out more effective anti-epidemic cooperation. Vaccines are a weapon to defeat the epidemic and save lives. China and ASEAN countries are connected by mountains and rivers, or face each other across the sea. They are a family that breathes and share a common destiny, and they are always in the first phalanx of international anti-epidemic cooperation. In the race against the virus, we have already outperformed the first half that focused on epidemic prevention and control, and we must continue to run well in the second half that focused on vaccine cooperation.
At the same time, we have also noticed that “vaccine nationalism” has begun to breed around the world. Rich countries, which account for 16% of the world’s population, have obtained 60% of the world’s vaccines. Some developed countries have ordered more than 2-3 times the population of their own countries. In sharp contrast, many developing countries are facing severe vaccine shortages, and many countries are even hard to find a single dose. The “immune gap” is becoming a regrettable and unfortunate reality.
President Xi Jinping has long clearly declared that after China’s vaccine research and development are completed and put into use, it will be a global public product and make China’s contribution to the realization of vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. Chinese dialects must be believed and deeds must be fruitful. We have managed to overcome difficulties and make every effort to expand production capacity. At present, we have provided and are providing vaccine assistance to more than 80 countries and 3 international organizations, while exporting vaccines to more than 40 countries, and are also developing vaccine research and development and production cooperation with more than 10 countries. Southeast Asia is a key area for China’s foreign vaccine cooperation. With its good safety and effectiveness, Chinese vaccines have been fully recognized and widely welcomed in ASEAN countries, deepening the connotation of China-ASEAN cooperation and enhancing the feelings of the people of both sides. An ASEAN foreign minister who visited this time made it clear that China is not engaging in “vaccine diplomacy,” but showing its role as a major power.
During the meeting, several ASEAN colleagues and I agreed that in the face of this fight against the “epidemic of the century”, unity is the best way to fight the epidemic, scientific prevention and control is the core, and vaccine cooperation is the key. China and ASEAN must adhere to the attributes of vaccines as a global public product, work together to improve the availability and affordability of vaccines in the region and the world, and jointly resist “vaccine nationalism” and strive to eliminate the “immune gap.” We unanimously agree to strengthen vaccine research and development and production cooperation. China, Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries will focus on improving the filling capacity of vaccine stocks. China and Singapore will explore the promotion of cooperation in the entire chain of production, storage and transportation. China and the Philippines will strengthen vaccine approval cooperation. We will work together to build a regional vaccine production and distribution center, contribute to the safety and health of the local people, and contribute to the complete victory over the new crown pneumonia epidemic and the establishment of a human health community.
2. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN . Countries in the region are also entering the process of recovery after the epidemic. What new consensus did you reach with the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries on this?
Wang Yi: Since last year, facing the impact of the global epidemic, China and ASEAN have not waited passively. Instead, they have turned pressure into motivation and crisis into new opportunities. They have achieved growth in trade and investment cooperation against the trend and have historically become each other’s largest trading partners. . We have also successfully signed a regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement and jointly determined the world’s largest free trade arrangement. All these show that the relationship between the two sides has a solid foundation and great resilience, and the two sides are determined to cooperate with each other and have promising prospects.
The foreign ministers agreed that the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN should be carefully organized . China proposes to hold a special foreign ministers’ meeting to summarize and sort out the experience and achievements of China-ASEAN cooperation in the past 30 years, and look forward to planning the direction and goals of future long-term cooperation, which has received positive responses from the foreign ministers of the four countries. China is willing to work together with the ten ASEAN countries to take the 30th anniversary as an opportunity to achieve quality and upgrade of pragmatic cooperation and push China-ASEAN relations to a new level.
We all agree to deepen development cooperation in the post-epidemic period. Connecting China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, high-quality joint construction of the “Belt and Road”, promoting the regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement to take effect as soon as possible, and turning East Asia into a new engine for global economic recovery after the epidemic. We will also further promote anti-epidemic cooperation, accelerate mutual recognition of health codes, and upgrade “fast channels” to create better conditions for resuming personnel exchanges and promoting cooperation in resuming work and production. China and Malaysia set up high-level committees of the two countries to meet the opportunities and challenges in the post-epidemic period, which is a good start for the region.
We all agreed to jointly maintain regional stability and strengthen cooperation in maritime affairs. Next year is the 20th anniversary of the signing of the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” . We will continue to implement the “Declaration” in a comprehensive and effective manner and accelerate the consultation on the “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea”. China and the ten ASEAN countries have reached a high degree of consensus that this “rule” should have substantive significance and be effective. We will also work to establish a blue economic partnership, cultivate and expand new growth points for maritime cooperation, and help regional economic recovery and sustainable development. We all agree to effectively maintain the current regional cooperation framework. The regional cooperation mechanism centered on ASEAN has become mature and stable, and it is in line with the East Asian cooperation tradition and actual needs. New concepts should not be introduced hastily, nor should they start anew. We must unite our efforts, adhere to the original intention that East Asia cooperation should focus on East Asia, promote multilateralism with East Asian characteristics, contribute East Asian experience to global governance, and inject lasting impetus into regional development.
3. We noticed that the foreign ministers discussed the situation in Myanmar this time, and some foreign ministers are also carrying out shuttle diplomacy for this. How will China and ASEAN respond to the current situation in Myanmar?
Wang Yi: Myanmar is an important member of the ASEAN family and China’s “Paukphaw” neighbor. No one cares more about what is happening in Myanmar than ASEAN and China. They are more worried about the current situation and hope that the situation will cool down and stabilize as soon as possible.
During the discussion, the foreign ministers had basically the same views and their positions were very similar. The “three supports” expressed by China and the “three avoidances” that should be emphasized generally reflect the common aspirations of China and ASEAN countries. We all call on all parties in Myanmar to exercise the utmost restraint, stop violence, and prevent another bloody conflict and aggravate civilian casualties. We all urge all parties in Myanmar to seek political understanding through dialogue within the constitution and legal framework as soon as possible, and continue to advance the hard-won democratic transformation process that suits Myanmar’s national conditions. We all believe that we should be wary of external forces with ulterior motives infiltrating and intervening, fanning troubles, intensifying conflicts, and further complicating the situation in Myanmar. We all hope that the international community will uphold an objective and fair attitude and create a favorable external environment for Myanmar’s domestic political reconciliation, instead of arbitrarily imposing sanctions and pressure.
China clearly supports ASEAN’s adherence to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and the tradition of consensus, and constructive participation in the domestic reconciliation process in Myanmar in an “ASEAN manner.” We encourage and agree to hold a special meeting of ASEAN leaders as soon as possible to jointly explore effective ways to ease the situation and solve problems within the ASEAN framework. China is ready to coordinate positions with ASEAN in a timely manner and provide necessary assistance to ASEAN. I believe that ASEAN has the wisdom and ability to promote the “soft landing” of the situation in Myanmar and help Myanmar out of its current predicament. China will continue to maintain contact and communication with all parties in Myanmar in its own way, and make every effort to persuade peace and promote talks.
4. The foreign ministers of the four ASEAN countries and South Korea have visited China one after another, which coincides with the Sino-US Anchorage Dialogue. I believe that Sino-US relations must be an important topic. What are the expectations of regional countries for the future development of China-US relations?
Wang Yi: How China and the US interact is related to global peace, stability, development and prosperity. It is reasonable for countries in the region to care about Sino-US relations. During this meeting with the foreign ministers of the five countries, we exchanged views on the Sino-US Anchorage Dialogue and its future direction. One outstanding feeling is that everyone believes that China’s development and growth is a historical necessity, conforms to the common expectations and long-term interests of all countries in the region, and is irresistible and should not be blocked. At the same time, everyone believes that facing the challenges of the era of globalization and the post-epidemic era, China and the United States should have more dialogue and cooperation in the region, less game and confrontation, and fulfill the obligations of major powers, and demonstrate the responsibility of major countries. China is willing to respond to the expectations of all parties and continue to make its own efforts to this end.
Regarding the US’s repeated claims about competition, cooperation, and confrontation with China, China’s position is consistent and clear. If there is a dialogue, China’s door is open at any time, but the dialogue should be conducted on an equal basis and with mutual respect. China does not recognize that there is a superior country in the world. If it does not accept things in the world, only one country has the final say. . China welcomes cooperation if it wants to cooperate, but cooperation needs to take into account each other’s concerns and achieve two-way reciprocity. It cannot unilaterally raise conditions and pull lists. If it wants to compete, China will not evade it, but competition should be fair and just and abide by market rules, and should not stumble, use power, and deprive others of their legitimate right to development. If there is still a confrontation, China will deal with it calmly and face it fearlessly. We resolutely resist gross interference in China’s internal affairs, and even more resolutely oppose unlawful unilateral sanctions imposed on the basis of lies and false information. China cannot compromise because we adhere to the basic norms of international relations; China cannot retreat because there are many developing and small and medium-sized countries behind us; of course, China has the right to fight back because we must defend national sovereignty and national dignity.
Dialogue is better than confrontation, and cooperation is better than confrontation. President Xi Jinping pointed out many times that China is willing to develop Sino-US relations with the United States based on coordination, cooperation, and stability in the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation. It is hoped that the United States will truly respect China’s core interests, take a correct view of China’s development, actively respond to the expectations of regional countries and the international community, and work with China to show what a major country should be, and jointly maintain regional and world peace, stability and development.
5. How do you comment on the China-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting? What are the main results? How do you view the current situation on the Korean Peninsula?
Wang Yi: China and South Korea are permanent close neighbors and strategic partners of each other. The two countries share broad common interests and similar ideas in maintaining regional stability, advancing common development, and improving global governance. We both advocate openness, tolerance, cooperation, and win-win results, and both are committed to promoting regional and world development and prosperity. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China and South Korea have taken the lead in carrying out joint prevention and control, opening up a “fast channel” for personnel exchanges , and resuming work and production cooperation is at the forefront of the world. This reflects the high level of China-South Korea relations and the resilience and vitality of China-South Korea friendship. Next year is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea, and bilateral relations are facing important development opportunities.
We agreed to strengthen exchanges at all levels between the two countries, coordinate and communicate in a timely manner, and enhance mutual trust. The Committee for the Future Development of China-South Korea Relations should be launched in the first half of the year to plan and design a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations in the next 30 years.
We agree to give full play to our respective advantages and deepen practical cooperation. The economies of China and South Korea are highly complementary and deeply integrated. The two sides should accelerate the second phase of the China-South Korea Free Trade Agreement negotiations, strengthen cooperation in the field of scientific and technological innovation, and accumulate and release the potential for cooperation. The two sides support the inclusion of citizens of the other country in the scope of vaccination, and negotiate the establishment of a health code mutual recognition mechanism to create better conditions for cooperation between the two sides in the post-epidemic period.
China and South Korea are geographically close and have similar cultural ties. This year and next are the “China-Korea Cultural Exchange Year”. We agreed to convene a meeting of the People-to-People Exchange Promotion Committee as soon as possible to coordinate and plan a variety of activities. The South Korean side emphasized its support for the Chinese side in hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics, and the Chinese side pledged to support the South Korean side in hosting the Gangwon-do Winter Youth Olympics. The two sides will also work together to promote the regional comprehensive economic partnership agreement to take effect as soon as possible, and strengthen communication on joining the “Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.”
Regarding the Korean Peninsula issue, the two sides reiterated that they should make unremitting efforts to advance the political settlement process of the Peninsula issue, and confirmed the great positive significance of the 2018 US-DPRK Leaders’ Singapore Joint Statement. The Chinese side stated that the key to handling the peninsula issue lies in resolving the military pressure and threats that the DPRK has faced for many years. In view of this, the realization of the denuclearization of the peninsula and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the peninsula should go hand in hand and proceed as one. China expects South Korea to play a more proactive role. The South Korean side hopes that China will continue to contribute to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula.
Source: China – ASEAN Business Council