China’s role in Mid­dle East will be en­hanced: FM

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

Ed­i­tor’s note: For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi was re­cently in­ter­viewed by Al Jazeera. The fol­low­ing is the tran­script of the in­ter­view.

I. You have con­cluded your first visit to five coun­tries, namely, Pales­tine, Is­rael, Al­ge­ria, Morocco and Saudi Ara­bia. What is the pur­pose of this visit? How do you eval­u­ate the out­come of this visit?

Wang Yi:

This is my very first visit to the Mid­dle East re­gion as the for­eign min­is­ter of China’s new gov­ern­ment. The trip has three goals: namely, to carry for­ward friendly re­la­tions; to deepen ex­ist­ing co­op­er­a­tion; and to pro­mote peace talks.

China and the Arab states en­joy time-hon­ored ties of friend­ship, forged by the 2,000year old Silk Road. In mod­ern times, China has firmly sup­ported Arab states in their cause to win na­tional in­de­pen­dence and lib­er­a­tion. China is com­mit­ted to car­ry­ing for­ward this tra­di­tional friend­ship. My Mid­dle East trip has achieved this goal com­pletely, as I have felt for my­self the pro­found good­will of the Arab states and their peo­ples for China and the Chi­nese peo­ple.

China works hard to deepen its co­op­er­a­tion with the coun­tries in the re­gion for mu­tual ben­e­fit. Last year, two-way trade reached nearly $300 bil­lion, with China be­com­ing the top trad­ing part­ner of many Arab states. Ac­cord­ing to rough sta­tis­tics, China’s ac­cu­mu­lated con­trac­tual value in the re­gion to­taled $120 bil­lion, in­clud­ing a sub­stan­tial in­put in in­fra­struc­ture, such as roads, bridges and fac­to­ries. More re­cently, China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in the re­gion has grown rapidly. Al­ready stand­ing at $10 bil­lion in ac­cu­mu­la­tive terms, it keeps in­creas­ing with an in­cred­i­ble speed.

The Third Plenum of the 18th Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee held not long ago, which made im­por­tant ar­range­ments on the com­pre­hen­sive deep­en­ing of re­form and open­ing-up, will bring about fresh and im­por­tant op­por­tu­ni­ties for the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the coun­tries in the re­gion. China plans to de­velop a Silk Road eco­nomic belt that spans the Eura­sia con­ti­nent and a mar­itime Silk Road that links the Pa­cific with the In­dian Ocean. We can see on a map that the two Silk Roads will cross in the Mid­dle East re­gion, which spells ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­ni­ties and bright prospects for com­mon de­vel­op­ment and com­mon pros­per­ity for China and the re­gion’s coun­tries. Dur­ing the visit, I dis­cussed many new ideas and new plans of co­op­er­a­tion with Arab lead­ers. China is ready to share its ex­pe­ri­ence in high-speed rail de­vel­op­ment with any coun­try and par­tic­i­pate in na­tional rail net­work pro­grams of the re­gion’s coun­tries, thus ben­e­fit­ing th­ese coun­tries and their peo­ples.

Many hot-but­ton is­sues in the Mid­dle East are un­der­go­ing im­por­tant changes. One key pur­pose of my visit is to fol­low through on Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s four-point pro­posal on the is­sue of Pales­tine. More­over, I also dis­cussed the Syr­ian and the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sues of shared in­ter­est with the lead­ers of the re­gion’s coun­tries. As their friend, China is ready to con­trib­ute its share to bring peace and sta­bil­ity to the re­gion. On the whole, my visit has achieved its an­tic­i­pated pur­pose. In Al­ge­ria, I elab­o­rated on the new Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy to­wards Arab states. I can sum­ma­rize it as “four supports”. That is, we sup­port Arab states in fol­low­ing their cho­sen paths, we sup­port Arab states in re­solv­ing the re­gion’s hot-but­ton is­sues through po­lit­i­cal means, we sup­port Arab states in achiev­ing a win-win and com­mon de­vel­op­ment with China, and we sup­port Arab states in play­ing a big­ger role in re­gional and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs and in more ef­fec­tively safe­guard­ing their le­git­i­mate rights and in­ter­ests. This rep­re­sents China’s most fun­da­men­tal po­si­tion which also meets the as­pi­ra­tion and fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of the Arab coun­tries and their peo­ples.

II. Though Pales­tine and Is­rael have re­sumed peace talks, the Mid­dle East peace process re­mains con­fronted with many ob­sta­cles and chal­lenges, such as ex­pan­sion of Is­raeli set­tle­ments and other is­sues. How does China see the fu­ture of the peace process? China is the only per­ma­nent mem­ber of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil that is not a Quar­tet mem­ber. Will China join the mech­a­nism? What role will China play in the Mid­dle East peace process?

The Pales­tine-Is­rael is­sue is a long-stand­ing hot-but­ton is­sue. Peace in the Mid­dle East will be elu­sive if this is­sue is not re­solved. As a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, China has all along played its own role in seek­ing a so­lu­tion. In May, China re­ceived vis­its by Pales­tinian and Is­raeli lead­ers at the same time. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping went out of his way to work with them re­spec­tively and made a four-point pro­posal to re­solve the PalestineIs­rael is­sue. He stressed that an in­de­pen­dent Pales­tinian state and a peace­ful co­ex­is­tence be­tween Pales­tine and Is­rael is the right di­rec­tion of a set­tle­ment, that peace ne­go­ti­a­tion is the only re­al­is­tic path­way to Pales­tine-Is­rael rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, that “land for peace” and other prin­ci­ples are im­por­tant foun­da­tion for ad­vanc­ing the Mid­dle East peace process, and that in­ter­na­tional sup­port is a nec­es­sary guar­an­tee for mov­ing the peace process for­ward. The four-point pro­posal by Pres­i­dent Xi is highly com­pre­hen­sive and has been well re­ceived by both Pales­tine and Is­rael and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity at large.

Dur­ing the visit, I spent long hours dis­cussing with Pales­tinian and Is­raeli sides on Pres­i­dent Xi’s four-point pro­posal. I had a deep im­pres­sion from the meet­ings that both sides saw their peace talks as the sole al­ter­na­tive, they both hoped to con­tinue with it to a fruit­ful end, and they both saw the cur­rent mo­ment as an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity. I told both sides that mu­tual recog­ni­tion of each other’s right to ex­ist is the pre­req­ui­site for peace talks, that mu­tual ac­com­mo­da­tion of each other’s con­cerns is an in­dis­pens­able el­e­ment, and that putting one­self in the other’s shoes is an ad­vis­able way to move the talks for­ward. In the peace talks, one should try to bring peo­ple around with rea­son rather than power. I told the two sides clearly that this land is the com­mon home­land for both Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis. The fact that the State of Is­rael has ex­isted for over 60 years and the Pales­tinian brothers and sis­ters re­main dis­placed with­out re­al­iz­ing their le­git­i­mate rights and in­ter­ests to state­hood is not fair, nor rea­son­able, and should not be al­lowed to go on. So we sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­de­pen­dent State of Pales­tine on the ba­sis of the 1967 bor­ders and with East Jerusalem as its cap­i­tal liv­ing in peace with Is­rael. In this way, peace in the Mid­dle East will be guar­an­teed. We will con­tinue to work to­ward such a di­rec­tion. I be­lieve that so long as both sides can work to­ward such a di­rec­tion and with full sup­port of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, a suc­cess of the peace talks will be highly hope­ful. With re­spect to the Quar­tet mech­a­nism, first, we hope that it can truly play a role, es­pe­cially at this cru­cial junc­ture of Pales­tine-Is­rael peace talks. Sec­ond, China is open to the mech­a­nism, and we are ready to join it if the Quar­tet so wishes. Third, even if the coun­try doesn’t join it, China will con­tinue to work in its own way to move the peace process for­ward.

III. The Syria is­sue is also a com­pli­cated one. China and Rus­sia have ve­toed Syria-re­lated draft res­o­lu­tions three times, which caused a huge con­tro­versy. With blood­shed still go­ing on in Syria, how does China see the fu­ture of the Syria is­sue? The Geneva II con­fer­ence on Syria will soon be held. Will China par­tic­i­pate in it and what kind of role will it play?

You men­tioned China’s vot­ing record at the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. I want to tell our Arab friends that as a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, China is fully aware of its re­spon­si­bil­ity and obli­ga­tion for up­hold­ing in­ter­na­tional peace and sta­bil­ity. China is very se­ri­ous and pru­dent when it comes to vot­ing at the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil. We go by such prin­ci­ples: First, to up­hold the pur­poses of the UN Char­ter and ba­sic norms gov­ern­ing in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, par­tic­u­larly the prin­ci­ples of non-in­ter­fer­ence in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of mem­bers and equal­ity of all coun­tries re­gard­less of size. This un­der­pins the very sur­vival and de­vel­op­ment of the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, small- and medium-sized coun­tries in par­tic­u­lar. Sec­ond, to up­hold the in­de­pen­dence, sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of each and ev­ery coun­try, which is the ba­sic tex­ture of the in­ter­na­tional or­der. If this is breached, many coun­tries may feel in­se­cure. Third, to main­tain peace and sta­bil­ity of the re­gions con­cerned. We take into con­sid­er­a­tion the fun­da­men­tal and long-term in­ter­ests of the coun­tries and peo­ples in the re­gion when mak­ing our judg­ment on the is­sue.

The Chi­nese side al­ways be­lieves that the Syria is­sue can only be re­solved po­lit­i­cally, and there can be no other way. The war there has been go­ing on for three years and peo­ple have now re­al­ized that war can re­solve noth­ing, and vi­o­lence can only breed ha­tred. This is why more and more coun­tries have come to fa­vor a re­turn to the track of po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment.

To make the Geneva II con­fer­ence a suc­cess, much work re­mains to be done. The most press­ing task is to put an end to the war and vi­o­lence. It’s un­think­able that the two sides are sit­ting down at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble while the fight­ing is still go­ing on. At the same time, the work to de­stroy Syr­ian chem­i­cal weapons must not stop. The process should

China’s all-round role will grad­u­ally and more vis­i­bly be felt by Arab coun­tries and get their un­der­stand­ing and sup­port.” WANG YI FOR­EIGN MIN­IS­TER

move for­ward step by step, un­til a com­plete and thor­ough de­struc­tion of all such weapons is achieved. With Geneva II pro­vid­ing a plat­form for a po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment of the Syria is­sue, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, China in­cluded, should cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment and at­mos­phere to this end, whereby urg­ing the two sides in Syria to sit down at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble. We may of­fer sug­ges­tions, make pro­pos­als, and sub­mit plans, but only for them to con­sider. We must re­frain from im­pos­ing any­thing on them. The Syria is­sue, ul­ti­mately, needs to be re­solved through equal­footed ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two sides in Syria. Such ne­go­ti­a­tions will be tor­tu­ous, and not smooth at all. What is clearly de­fined is the fu­ture course of peace ne­go­ti­a­tions, the goal of which is also clearly de­fined as the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Geneva Com­mu­nique. We hope that the ne­go­ti­a­tions will not only take place but also con­tinue. Though time-con­sum­ing, as the ne­go­ti­a­tions may be, we must do our best to keep their mo­men­tum.

Fol­low up: Will the Chi­nese Side par­tic­i­pate in Geneva II?

Of course we will. We have al­ready done a lot of work to pro­mote Geneva II. So we hope the con­fer­ence will start on Jan 22 as sched­uled and play a due role.

IV. Egypt is the first Arab and African coun­try to have es­tab­lished diplo­matic re­la­tions with China, and for­mer pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Morsi made China the first coun­try he vis­ited af­ter as­sum­ing of­fice. But Egypt has re­mained in the state of tur­bu­lence af­ter the coup. How does China see the fu­ture of Egypt?

Egypt is an an­cient civ­i­liza­tion and a ma­jor Arab and African coun­try. China and Egypt have a long his­tory of friendly ex­changes. Egypt has played a very im­por­tant role in main­tain­ing re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity. In more re­cent years, tur­bu­lence erupted in­side Egypt, which is detri­men­tal not only to the coun­try’s own sta­bil­ity and de­vel­op­ment but also to the role it is ex­pected to play in the re­gion. Egypt, in our view, is in the mid­dle of po­lit­i­cal and so­cial tran­si­tion, and it is in search of a de­vel­op­ment path suited to its na­tional con­di­tions. In so do­ing, Egypt has our un­der­stand­ing and sup­port. The Egyp­tians are a great peo­ple. They have the wis­dom and abil­ity to find a de­vel­op­ment path that is con­ducive to the coun­try, ac­cept­able to its peo­ple and suited to Egypt’s re­al­i­ties. The re­cent sit­u­a­tion in Egypt is mov­ing in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion and we just hosted a visit to China by the Egyp­tian for­eign min­is­ter. It is my im­pres­sion that Egypt is re­gain­ing its con­fi­dence, more will­ing to get en­gaged with the rest of the world, in­clud­ing the ma­jor coun­tries, which is a highly pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment. We hope that Egypt will re­store sta­bil­ity, achieve de­vel­op­ment and re­gain its role as a ma­jor coun­try in the re­gion.

V. Re­la­tions be­tween Iran and the United States have eased to some ex­tent, and the work on the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue has en­tered a new stage. How­ever, dif­fer­ences be­tween Iran and some Arab coun­tries, Gulf coun­tries in par­tic­u­lar, have fur­ther widened. How does China bal­ance its re­la­tions with the Gulf Arab coun­tries, es­pe­cially Saudi Ara­bia, while en­gag­ing with Iran?

China has al­ways main­tained nor­mal and friendly re­la­tions with other coun­tries on the ba­sis of the Five Prin­ci­ples of Peace­ful Co­ex­is­tence. We en­joy friendly re­la­tions with Arab coun­tries and at the same time main­tain nor­mal state-to-state re­la­tions with Iran. China’s po­si­tion on the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue has been a clear-cut and firm one. We op­pose Iran’s ef­forts to de­velop and pos­sess nu­clear weapons and sup­port the es­tab­lish­ment of a zone free of weapons of mass de­struc­tion in the Mid­dle East. We have par­tic­i­pated in the ne­go­ti­a­tion process on the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue. Af­ter 10 years of ne­go­ti­a­tion, the P5+1 and Iran have re­cently reached the first agree­ment in Geneva, mak­ing the first step to­ward a peace­ful so­lu­tion, which in­deed has not come eas­ily. This agree­ment, al­though an ini­tial one, sets the nec­es­sary re­stric­tions on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram, thus re­mov­ing the most ur­gent con­cern of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. What mat­ters now is to prop­erly im­ple­ment the agree­ment. The six-month Geneva nu­clear agree­ment will test the abil­ity of Iran and the other par­ties to ful­fill their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and obli­ga­tions in real earnest. At the same time, it is im­per­a­tive to lose no time in push­ing ahead with the ne­go­ti­a­tions in or­der to reach a fi­nal agree­ment that pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive and once-and-for-all so­lu­tion to the is­sue, which is the only way to elim­i­nate the is­sue for good. That will ben­e­fit both Iran and the re­gion as a whole.

We hope Iran and the Arab Gulf coun­tries will solve their prob­lems through con­sul­ta­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion. We are work­ing to­ward this goal. We be­lieve that Iran and other coun­tries in the re­gion will iron out their dif­fer­ences and dis­putes prop­erly and thereby live in greater har­mony with each other.

VI. Peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy is an im­por­tant area of co­op­er­a­tion. Many Arab coun­tries want to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion with China in this area. When will we see China-Arab co­op­er­a­tion in this area start?

We will grad­u­ally start co­op­er­a­tion with Arab coun­tries in the peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy. This is a new area for mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Arab coun­tries, to which China takes a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. This is­sue was raised in my meet­ings in both Al­ge­ria and Saudi Ara­bia dur­ing this visit, and rel­e­vant agree­ments were signed with some coun­tries. There are broad prospects for co­op­er­a­tion in this area.

Fol­low up: China has launched satel­lites for many coun­tries but not yet for any Mid­dle East coun­tries. When can we ex­pect to see a satel­lite launched by China in the re­gion?

We are more than happy to dis­cuss with Arab coun­tries about putting their satel­lites in space, if they so wish. We hope this will be ma­te­ri­al­ized in the near fu­ture.

VII. Some peo­ple claim that China’s role in the Mid­dle East is largely eco­nomic. How will China play a big­ger po­lit­i­cal role? Be­sides, we have no­ticed that China, as the sec­ond­largest econ­omy in the world, has pro­vided what seemed to be lim­ited hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance to the re­gion when dis­as­ter hit, in par­tic­u­lar to Syr­ian and Pales­tinian refugees. How would you ex­plain it?

I think there are some mis­un­der­stand­ings on this. China is al­ways ready to have co­op­er­a­tion for mu­tual ben­e­fit with all coun­tries in this re­gion, Arab coun­tries in par­tic­u­lar, not only in the eco­nomic field, but also in the po­lit­i­cal, se­cu­rity and mil­i­tary fields. Hav­ing said that, there is al­ways a need for pri­or­i­ti­za­tion, and a need for China to build up its ca­pa­bil­i­ties for sus­tained ex­pan­sion of such co­op­er­a­tion. It is true that China-Arab co­op­er­a­tion in re­cent years has mainly fo­cused on the eco­nomic field. That is be­cause we be­lieve that de­vel­op­ment holds the key to and serves as the foun­da­tion for solv­ing all prob­lems. Any so­lu­tion to hot-but­ton and po­lit­i­cal is­sues hinges on eco­nomic growth and bet­ter life for the peo­ple. As far as Arab coun­tries are con­cerned, the most cru­cial task fac­ing them is na­tional de­vel­op­ment and eco­nomic re­vi­tal­iza­tion. China is ready to do what it can to pro­vide help and as­sis­tance as it has done in the past. Since 2012, China has pro­vided hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance on six oc­ca­sions to­tal­ing $18 mil­lion to the Syr­ian peo­ple and Syr­ian refugees in Jor­dan, Tur­key and Le­banon. China has of­fered sup­port and as­sis­tance over the years, not just this year. Back in the days when we were ex­tremely poor and less de­vel­oped, we tight­ened our belt to sup­port peo­ple in the Mid­dle East in their just cause, es­pe­cially the Pales­tinian peo­ple.

We will con­tinue to do so in the fu­ture and fur­ther­more, we will play a role in the po­lit­i­cal field as well. China’s po­lit­i­cal role in the Mid­dle East will only be en­hanced, not di­min­ished. In 2013, we hosted the vis­its to China by Pales­tinian and Is­raeli lead­ers at about the same time as the UN In­ter­na­tional Meet­ing in Sup­port of Is­raeli-Pales­tinian Peace in Bei­jing. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping sent a con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sage to the meet­ing held by the United Na­tions to mark the “In­ter­na­tional Day of Sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tinian Peo­ple”. I at­tended the Pales­tini­anIs­raeli peace sym­po­sium dur­ing my Mid­dle East visit and in­vited per­sons in­sight­ful from both sides to the sym­po­sium. We of­fered a plat­form for all to make their views heard, to seek more con­sen­sus and to raise the voice for peace to­gether. I think this is a use­ful en­deavor, and if con­tin­ued, the voice for peace will be­come louder and the forces for peace will grow stronger. All this will help to pro­vide im­pe­tus to and ex­ert pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on the ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween the two sides. All in all, China’s all-round role will grad­u­ally and more vis­i­bly be felt by Arab coun­tries and get their un­der­stand­ing and sup­port.

VIII. In face of the com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion in South Su­dan, China, as a friend of South Su­dan and with ma­jor in­ter­ests in that coun­try, has im­me­di­ately sent an en­voy there for me­di­a­tion ef­forts. What is China’s po­si­tion on the South Su­dan is­sue and what role will China play in this re­gard?

We are in­deed fol­low­ing closely what is hap­pen­ing in South Su­dan. What is most im­por­tant for South Su­dan is sta­bil­ity and de­vel­op­ment, with­out which the fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of all eth­nic­i­ties in the coun­try would be im­paired. Con­flicts will bring suf­fer­ing to all the peo­ple, which is not in the in­ter­ests of South Su­dan at all. Since the out­break of the con­flict, China has urged the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to send en­voys for me­di­a­tion ef­forts and has ac­tively sup­ported the me­di­a­tion ef­forts of the IGAD coun­tries. China has a four-point po­si­tion on this is­sue. First, a cease-fire should take ef­fect and vi­o­lence should be stopped im­me­di­ately, so as to make way for peace talks and to main­tain law and or­der in the coun­try. Sec­ond, it is im­per­a­tive to launch an in­clu­sive po­lit­i­cal di­a­logue process as soon as pos­si­ble and find a so­lu­tion ac­cept­able to both sides. Third, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should in­ten­sify ef­forts for peace talks, urg­ing both sides to en­gage in se­ri­ous peace talks. Fourth, it is im­por­tant to im­prove the hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in South Su­dan.

As large num­bers of civil­ians have been caught in the cross­fire and their life, prop­erty and per­sonal safety have been threat­ened, the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should sup­port and help them as much as pos­si­ble. At the same time, we hope and be­lieve that the gov­ern­ment of South Su­dan will take con­crete and ef­fec­tive mea­sures to pro­tect the lives and prop­er­ties of the Chi­nese na­tion­als in the coun­try.

IX. You are an ex­pert on Asian af­fairs. China has re­cently es­tab­lished the East China Sea Air De­fence Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone, which has drawn at­ten­tion from var­i­ous par­ties. How does China view the prospects of peace and sta­bil­ity in the Asia-Pa­cific, in par­tic­u­lar, since the US has re-bal­anced its strate­gic fo­cus away from the Mid­dle East to the Asia-Pa­cific?

Let me say first of all that the Asian re­gion is on the whole peace­ful and promis­ing, with coun­tries liv­ing to­gether in amity, and the re­gional econ­omy main­tain­ing a sound mo­men­tum of rapid de­vel­op­ment. Glob­ally, Asia, East Asia in par­tic­u­lar, has en­joyed the fastest growth and the big­gest po­ten­tial. As for some is­sues left from his­tory that ex­ist in the re­gion, ef­forts are be­ing made to find a so­lu­tion through peace­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions. Of course we know that the US has tra­di­tional in­flu­ence and prac­ti­cal in­ter­ests in this re­gion, which we think is nor­mal, since it is also a big na­tion in the Asia-Pa­cific. China re­spects the US’ le­git­i­mate in­ter­ests in the Asia-Pa­cific and hopes to see it play a con­struc­tive role in re­gional af­fairs. Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping stated pub­licly that the vast Pa­cific Ocean has am­ple space for China and the US to both de­velop. In June 2013, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Pres­i­dent Obama held a meet­ing at the An­nen­berg Es­tate in Cal­i­for­nia, dur­ing which the two sides had an in-depth ex­change of views on a wide range of topics and reached con­sen­sus on many is­sues. The meet­ing went well. In par­tic­u­lar, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pro­posed that China and the US should build a new model of ma­jor-coun­try re­la­tion­ship and Pres­i­dent Obama read­ily agreed to the idea. Pres­i­dent Xi ex­plained the three fea­tures of the pro­posed new model of ma­jor-coun­try re­la­tion­ship, namely, first, no con­flict or con­fronta­tion; sec­ond, mu­tual re­spect; and third, win-win co­op­er­a­tion. The US side sub­scribed to the idea fully.

We have since im­ple­mented the agree­ment reached be­tween the two pres­i­dents and ad­vanced the build­ing of this new model of ma­jor-coun­try re­la­tion­ship, start­ing first and fore­most from the Asian re­gion. I hope to see more com­mu­ni­ca­tion and closer co­or­di­na­tion and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the US, first in Asian af­fairs, for more com­mon­al­i­ties, which may help de­velop sound in­ter­ac­tions in this re­gion. This serves not only the in­ter­ests of China and the US, but also those of all coun­tries in this re­gion. We are mak­ing progress in all th­ese ar­eas.

As for the Air De­fense Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone in the East China Sea that you have men­tioned, there is ac­tu­ally noth­ing un­usual about it. Dozens of coun­tries have al­ready done so and some did it long ago. For ex­am­ple, Ja­pan es­tab­lished its ADIZ as early as in 1969. The Repub­lic of Korea and In­dia, both our neigh­bors, have set up their ADIZ as well. To es­tab­lish the ADIZ is China’s le­git­i­mate right and is in full ac­cord with in­ter­na­tional law and prac­tice. More­over, the ADIZ is not ter­ri­to­rial airspace, still less no-fly zone. Its es­tab­lish­ment will not change the le­gal sta­tus of the airspace con­cerned, nor will it af­fect the free­dom of flight en­sured by in­ter­na­tional law. Our ADIZ has been in place for some time now and the area has been very peace­ful with no flight of any air­lines be­ing af­fected. In ret­ro­spect, Ja­pan and the US did over­re­act. Al­low me to quote a Chi­nese say­ing: it is not per­mis­si­ble to only al­low mag­is­trates to burn down houses while for­bid­ding com­mon peo­ple to even light lamps. All coun­tries are equal. We es­tab­lished the ADIZ only re­cently while some other coun­tries did it long ago. It is re­ally un­fair to make all sorts of crit­i­cisms and even ac­cu­sa­tions against China for do­ing so. De­tails of the ADIZ may dif­fer from coun­try to coun­try, as there are no ex­plicit in­ter­na­tional laws and reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing ADIZ. If there are any ques­tions about ADIZ specifics, we are ready to sit down and talk about it. It is ab­so­lutely un­nec­es­sary to get rest­less or even make ground­less ac­cu­sa­tions against China as Ja­pan did. In fact, there may be other con­sid­er­a­tions be­hind Ja­pan’s re­ac­tions.

It is pos­si­ble that they would like to cre­ate ten­sion be­tween China and Ja­pan on pur­pose, which would en­able Ja­panese lead­ers to press ahead with their plan in Ja­pan and break away from post-World-War II re­stric­tions on Ja­pan. We have noted that Ja­pan has stepped up its rear­ma­ment re­cently, a move call­ing for at­ten­tion. In par­tic­u­lar, when the au­thor­i­ties in Ja­pan fail to cor­rectly un­der­stand Ja­pan’s his­tory of ag­gres­sion, Ja­pan’s rear­ma­ment move can­not but sound the alarm to its neigh­bors and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

Re­cently, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Abe paid ho­mage to the Ya­sukuni Shrine in to­tal dis­re­gard of op­po­si­tion of peo­ple of var­i­ous coun­tries. Our friends from Arab states may not know the shrine very well. It is a sym­bol of the mil­i­taris­tic ag­gres­sion. Un­til this day, all the ex­hibits in the shrine are de­signed to jus­tify Ja­pan’s de­ci­sion to launch that war of ag­gres­sion at the time, and the 14 Class-A war crim­i­nals tried

I hope to see more com­mu­ni­ca­tion and closer co­or­di­na­tion and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the US.” WANG YI FOR­EIGN MIN­IS­TER

at the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East are still hon­ored in the shrine. This is the place that Abe vis­ited. Worse even, he calls the war crim­i­nals “the souls of the war dead” and “pays deep­est re­spect” to them. He has gone too far and what he has done is way be­yond Ja­pan’s do­mes­tic af­fairs. In essence, it is an at­tempt to white­wash Ja­pan’s war of ag­gres­sion, over­turn the just trial of the In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East, chal­lenge the out­comes of World War II and the re­sul­tant post-war or­der and lead Ja­pan to dan­ger. Lessons of the his­tory have to be learned. This is not just a prob­lem be­tween China and Ja­pan, but rather an is­sue to which the whole in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity should pay much at­ten­tion. No­body should be al­lowed to turn back the wheels of the his­tory or back­track. Back then, Ja­panese fas­cists com­mit­ted atroc­i­ties in Asia, just as Ger­man fas­cists did in Europe. In China alone, the Ja­panese war of ag­gres­sion in­flicted ca­su­al­ties of as many as 35 mil­lion, not to men­tion count­less prop­erty losses. The Chi­nese na­tion is tol­er­ant and gen­er­ous. We have given up war reparations, and fur­ther­more we have told our peo­ple that the Ja­panese peo­ple are also vic­tims of mil­i­tarism and that only the mil­i­tarists should be held re­spon­si­ble for the war. In other words, ClassA war crim­i­nals hon­ored at the Ya­sukuni Shrine should take the re­spon­si­bil­ity for the war of ag­gres­sion.

Now, Abe went so far as to pay ho­mage to th­ese Class-A war crim­i­nals. He has crossed the bot­tom line of hu­man con­science, which is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able, not only to China, but to the whole in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. It would be unimag­in­able if this took place in Europe. The only way to open up the fu­ture is to ex­pose and con­demn the past; and the only way for Ja­pan to win back the trust of its neigh­bors is to com­mit it­self to peace. We hope that Ja­panese lead­ers will un­der­stand this most ba­sic prin­ci­ple and re­spect hu­man con­science and in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized red line.


For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi talks with an Al Jazeera reporter dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view.

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