Talk with World Lead­ers on China

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents -

“Talk with the World Lead­ers” is a se­ri­ous talk show on the Phoenix Satel­lite Tele­vi­sion fea­tur­ing in­ter­views of po­lit­i­cal heavy­weights from around the world. In late June, host­ess Fu Xi­ao­tian pub­lished Talk with World Lead­ers on China, based on her experience with the show. She se­lected 20 in­ter­views with var­i­ous world lead­ers from early 2014 to early 2017 to trace China’s devel­op­ment through sto­ries from the per­spec­tives of the in­ter­vie­wees.

An alumna of the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, Fu for­merly served as Lon­don bureau chief for Phoenix. She ex­celled at in­spir­ing in­ter­vie­wees to an­swer com­pli­cated ques­tions with sim­ple lan­guage and view­ers to think dif­fer­ently by ask­ing tough ques­tions with ease and grace, brief and to the point.

For the book, she se­lected in­ter­views with dis­tinc­tive fig­ures who have de­vel­oped long-term re­la­tion­ships with China, in­clud­ing for­mer UN Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ban Ki-moon, for­mer Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi, Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-as­sad, Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Muham­mad Javad Zarif, for­mer Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Gor­don Brown, and for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, among others. The au­thor edited tran­scripts to remove out­dated ma­te­rial and place more fo­cus on the ideas and con­cepts that re­main greatly rel­e­vant to­day.

The au­thor presents read­ers with in­for­ma­tion on pol­i­tics, po­lit­i­cal wisdom and diplo­matic ma­neu­ver­ing. For ex­am­ple, a large part is de­voted to a talk with Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Muham­mad Javad Zarif on the Ira­nian nu­clear agree­ment signed be­tween Iran and six coun­tries in­clud­ing the United States, Bri­tain, France, Rus­sia, China, and Ger­many. The book also col­lects rel­e­vant talks on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Malaysian Air­lines Flight 370 that were never broad­cast from her in­ter­view with Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak. An­other core topic is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the United States and Rus­sia and China, which was dis­cussed by John Kerry.

The au­thor en­deav­ors to nav­i­gate mul­ti­ple lay­ers of in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing the art of lead­er­ship against dif­fer­ent cul­tural back­grounds, con­trast­ing global out­looks and the val­ues pro­moted by each re­li­gion and civ­i­liza­tion as well as cross-cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion. For in­stance, dur­ing her in­ter­view with Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Muham­mad Javad Zarif in 2015, Fu men­tioned her in­ter­view with John Kerry af­ter she no­ticed that the min­is­ter’s foot was wrapped in gauze. “Kerry broke his leg rid­ing a bi­cy­cle soon af­ter our meet­ing,” she noted. “This time I see some­thing has al­ready hap­pened to your foot.”

Zarif com­fort­ably and nat­u­rally talked about Kerry’s injury before piv­ot­ing to their ne­go­ti­a­tions on the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue in Switzer­land. The silky smooth tran­si­tion was ex­pertly en­gi­neered by Fu. Zarif went on to com­ment fur­ther on the U.S. in­ter­ests in the Mid­dle East af­ter the ice was bro­ken.

When asked about “per­fectly sym­met­ri­cal bi­cam­er­al­ism” in the eyes of Ital­ians dur­ing an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view in 2016, then Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi replied with Chi­nese fla­vor: “It’s not per­fect, as I’ve jok­ingly ex­plained us­ing a pop­u­lar Chi­nese sport. Bi­cam­er­al­ism some­times can be like a Ping-pong match, with the ball mov­ing from one side to an­other side, one side to an­other side.”

Of course, all of the in­ter­views ev­i­dence China’s progress and dra­matic changes from the per­spec­tives of world lead­ers and cover a wide ar­ray of sub­jects closely re­lated to China such as the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween China and the EU, Rus­sia and Bri­tain, and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and the United Na­tions.

As de­scribed in the pref­ace, “China is play­ing an un­prece­dented role in the world arena thanks to its eco­nomic devel­op­ment, grow­ing na­tional strength, and im­ple­men­ta­tion of new for­eign poli­cies fea­tur­ing Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics. The world is lis­ten­ing to China, a lis­tener to the world. Hap­pen­ings around the world have be­stowed our pro­gram and the book the most fer­tile soil.”

June 2017: Fu Xi­ao­tian (2nd right) is made a Knight of the Star, one of Italy's high­est hon­ors, at the Ital­ian Em­bassy in China. She had in­ter­viewed an Ital­ian for­eign min­is­ter, two prime min­is­ters and a pres­i­dent.

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