Leading the Trend of History, Sending out the Voice of the Times
–Foreign Minister Wang Yi Talks about President Xi Jinping’s Visits to Ecuador, Peru and Chile and Attendance at the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting
President Xi Jinping paid state visits to Ecuador, Peru and Chile and attended the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting held in Lima of Peru from November 17 to 23, 2016 local time. Upon the end of the trip, Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed the press on the information of this trip.
Wang Yi said that this trip is an important diplomatic action of China towards the Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The Asia-Pacific region is where we settle down and live as well as the foundation of our development and prosperity, while the Latin American region, though separated by oceans, is a “neighbor” with connected hearts of China. The goal of President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the APEC meeting is to jointly plan for the development blueprint of the Asia-Pacific, discuss the visions of the Asia-Pacific cooperation together and play a concerto of common prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. The visits to the three Latin American countries focus on improving bilateral relations, leading China-Latin America overall cooperation and singing the melody of comprehensive development of China-Latin America relations. President Xi Jinping’s visits this time coordinate the general trend from both domestic and international perspectives, encompass the overall diplomatic layout, connect the Chinese Dream, the Latin American Dream and the Asia-Pacific Dream featuring mutual benefit and win-win results with bridges of cooperation, continue the new practice of forging the community of common destiny for mankind and write a new chapter of all-round diplomacy.
During the visits, President Xi Jinping made extensive contacts with leaders of all countries and people from various circles, attended dozens of diplomatic events and held bilateral and multilateral activities on politics, economy and culture. Outstanding results have been achieved from the rich itinerary with varied highlights. The domestic and foreign communities attach high attention to the trip, believing that it will vigorously push forward cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and China-Latin America relations as well as cast profound impact on world economic recovery and the evolution of international landscape.
I. Lead the general direction of Asia-Pacific cooperation and boost regional economic integration
Wang Yi said that the APEC meeting successfully held two years ago in Beijing by Yanqi Lake remains fresh in the international community’s memory. At present, the global economy and the Asia-Pacific economy are at the key stage of respective development. This year marks the 25th anniversary of China’s accession to the APEC. All parties hope that China can continuously play a leading role during the Lima Meeting. A series of important initiatives and proposals were put forward by President Xi Jinping at the meeting, injecting positive energy and making new contribution to Asia-Pacific cooperation as well as the development of the world economy.
First, we have sent out the voice of the times in supporting economic globalization. Against the spread of the deglobalization trend and the rising protectionism, the development direction of the Asia-Pacific amid economic globalization has drawn attention from the world, especially China’s voice and role in it. President Xi Jinping explicitly pointed out that economic globalization is the irresistible general trend, while closed and exclusive arrangement is not the right choice. He stressed that we should promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, oppose any form of protectionism and pledge to the world with actions that the Asia-Pacific region will not change its determination and lose its confidence in economic globalization. Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific should steer the process of economic globalization towards a more inclusive and mutually beneficial direction. The international public opinion holds that President Xi Jinping’s speech leads the tide of history and takes a clear-cut stand with firm voices, which shows China’s determination in safeguarding the development of world trade and globalization and plays an important role as the “standard setter”, thus becoming the real “leading role” at the meeting.
Second, we have consolidated the forward momentum of the Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) construction. The FTAAP, as a major objective of regional economic integration, concerns the long-term development and prosperity for the Asia-Pacific region. The 2014 Beijing APEC Meeting made the historic decision to initiate the FTAAP process and adopted the Beijing Roadmap for APEC’s Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP. President Xi Jinping called on all parties at the Lima Meeting to, in the spirit of realizing the ultimate goal by following the blueprint, translate the consensus into practical and powerful actions to complete the FTAAP construction at an early date. Such gestures conform to the eager anticipation of all parties towards regional economic integration, promote practical actions and enhance the driving force of constantly advancing the FTAAP construction. Under the promotion of China, the Lima Meeting has approved the collective strategic study on the FTAAP, adopted the Lima Declaration on FTAAP, set the purposes and principles of the FTAAP construction, integrated all possible ways, made action plans in various fields and established a progress report mechanism, so that the FTAAP construction can eliminate interference from various sides and achieve important periodic progress.
Third, we have put forward Chinese proposals for the Asia-Pacific development and cooperation. The tortuous recovery of the world economy from its profound adjustment transfers pressure to the Asia-Pacific, which also faces prominent problems including fragmentization of regional economic cooperation. Seizing up the situation, President Xi Jinping called on the Asia-Pacific members to take firm and coordinated actions, give play to its engine role, and push forward innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy. He proposed that the Asia-Pacific nations should promote an open and integrated economy, enhance connectivity to achieve interconnected development, boost reform and innovation to create more internal driving force, and promote win-win cooperation to forge strong partnership. On the basis of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, President Xi Jinping put forward that all APEC members should take actions to jointly boost inclusive, green and interconnected development. With development as the principal axis, support from regional economic integration, connectivity, innovation and reform and protection from the Asia-Pacific partnership, all these initiatives form a medium and long-term cooperation framework for the APEC and draft a roadmap to the Asia-Pacific community.
The series of important initiatives proposed by President Xi Jinping are not only the vigorous continuation of the outcomes of the Beijing Meeting, but in line with the consensus reached at the G20 Hangzhou Summit, which once again contributes Chinese wisdom to the Asia-Pacific region and world and embodies its sense of responsibility as a major country. All the initiatives are widely echoed by all sides at the meeting and the international community as well as play an important role in stabilizing people’s will, invigorating confidence and synergizing consensus. The Leaders’ Declaration of the meeting fully absorbs the spirit of President Xi Jinping’s speech, once again verifies the appeal of Chinese proposals and represents China’s influence and voice in global affairs.
Wang Yi noted that the APEC meeting is also a vital platform for China to deepen bilateral relations with Asia-Pacific countries. During the meeting, President Xi Jinping met with President Barack Obama of the US. Both heads of state reviewed and summarized experience from the development of China-US relations in the past three-odd years and agreed to ensure the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations along the right track. This is an important meeting that serves as a link between the past and future for the two heads of state, which will exert positive significance in realizing the smooth transition of and constantly achieving new progress in China-US relations.
The Chinese and Russian heads of state continued the tradition of meeting each other at important multilateral occasions. They held their fifth meeting within this year during the Lima Meeting. President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin summed up the outcomes of China-Russia cooperation, planned the development of bilateral relations in the next year, and agreed to maintain the momentum of close high-level exchanges, launch cooperation in the integration of the two countries’ development strategies as well as docking between the “Belt and Road” construction and the Eurasian Economic Union construction, further intensify coordination and cooperation in international affairs and give play to the stabilizing role of strategic coordination in a bid to jointly safeguard international fairness and justice.
President Xi Jinping also met with President Tran Dai Quang of Viet Nam, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia respectively and conducted extensive communication with other attending leaders. During his technical stops on the Sardinia Island and the Gran Canaria Island, President Xi Jining also met respectively with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria of Spain, who specially came to meet him, exchanging views on further deepening bilateral relations.
II. Improve the layout of China-Latin America cooperation and guide the construction of a community of common destiny
In recent years, China and Latin America have established a comprehensive cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development, and established the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Bilateral relations have achieved leapfrog development and cooperation between both countries in various fields has been comprehensively promoted. President Xi Jinping’s visit this time has planned the development of China-Latin America relations and elevated bilateral cooperation to a new high, thus becoming a new historical starting point of building China-Latin America community of common destiny.
The consensus between China and Latin America in forging ahead hand in hand has been cemented. The three visits of President Xi Jinping to Latin America in 4 years embody China’s great emphasis to the region. During his visit this time, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech towards the whole Latin American continent at the Peruvian Congress, comprehensively expounding China’s policies towards Latin America, encouraging both sides to view bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and further expanding the strategic consensus of both sides. President Xi Jinping proposed that China and Latin America should hold high the banner of peaceful development and cooperation, promote the docking of development strategies, speed up cooperation, and share cooperation achievements so as to join hands to well build the ship of China-Latin America community of common destiny, as well as lead bilateral friendship into a new voyage. These initiatives and the goal of building up a Five-in-One new pattern of China-Latin America relations make each other possible, point out the path of forging a China-Latin America community of common destiny and create broader prospects for the development of bilateral relations. People in Latin America said that when dealing with Latin America, China treats the region with equality, timely help and trustworthiness. China is a cooperation partner with heartfelt connection to the Latin America. China and Latin America share similar dreams and aspirations in pursuing national and ethnic development, realizing international fairness and justice as well as other aspects. Both sides should always be good brothers, good partners, and good friends on their way of pursuing dreams.
The structure of China-Latin America cooperation upgrade is more complete. President Xi Jinping proposed that China and Latin America should, within the new framework of “1+3+6″ pragmatic cooperation, stimulate new growth through trade, promote new development by investment, provide new support with financial cooperation, foster new impetus by industrial alignment and create new opportunities by overall cooperation, so as to resolutely promote the development of the China-CELAC Forum and strengthen cooperation with different sub-regional organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. While promoting the docking of development strategies of China and Latin America, both sides should integrate China-Latin America cooperation with international and regional cooperation. These ideas, which combine with respective development advantages and demands and conform to the trend of regional economic integration, will enable both sides to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results in a wider range and at higher and deeper levels.
The connection between the two peoples’ hearts is closer. “Distance cannot separate true friends who feel so close even when they are thousands of miles apart”. As President Xi Jinping says, both China and Latin America enjoy time-honored history and splendid cultures, once suffered from foreign intrusion and social unrest, and are committed to the great causes of developing economy and improving people’s livelihood. Both sides enjoy a natural sense of closeness and identity. During his visit to each Latin American country, President Xi Jinping paid tribute to monuments commemorating national independence movement. When attending the closing ceremony of the China-Latin American Cultural Exchange Year and the opening ceremony of the China-Latin America Media Leaders Summit, President Xi Jinping encouraged both sides to deepen cultural dialogues and media exchanges. By telling moving stories about China-Latin America friendly relations and quoting literary works, proverbs and allusions that are well-known to the Latin American people, President Xi Jinping pulled the hearts of the two peoples closer.
Wang Yi said that the clear message of President Xi Jinping’s visit to Latin America this time is that despite the turbulent international and regional situations, China’s confidence in the future of Latin America’s development, the pattern of being each other’s opportunities as well as China’s policy of enhancing cooperation in various fields with Latin America have not changed. China-Latin America cooperation is not only at its prime, but also boasts promising prospects and great potential.
III. Deepen relations with visiting countries and upgrade cooperation in various fields
Wang Yi said that Ecuador, Peru and Chile are all at the critical stage of national development, share strong willingness of deepening relations with China and have invited President Xi Jinping to visit for several times. As President Xi Jinping’s first visits to Peru and Chile in his tenure and the first visit to Ecuador paid by a Chinese President, these visits have become a grand historic event in bilateral relations. President Xi Jinping has reached important consensus with leaders of the three countries on consolidating traditional friendship, enhancing political mutual trust and expanding mutually beneficial cooperation, which has ushered the development of bilateral relations into a new period and played a demonstration role in the development of China-Latin America relations.
Bilateral relations have reached a new level. During the visits, China has lifted its bilateral relations with Ecuador and Chile to comprehensive strategic partnerships, which sends the strong signal of deepening mutual trust and joining efforts and further improves the partnership network of China in Latin America. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Peru diplomatic relations, and both heads of state have exchanged visits in over 2 months, showing a high-level comprehensive strategic partnership. China and Peru signed the 2016-2021 joint action plan. Working in concert with the joint statement on deepening China-Peru comprehensive strategic partnership issued this September by both sides, it has become the guideline for the development of bilateral relations and practical cooperation in the next stage.
Practical friendly cooperation has yielded new and fruitful results. China has signed agreements on enhancing cooperation in production capacity and investment with Ecuador and Peru respectively, which will help Latin American countries speed up their industrialization process and achieve diverse development. China has signed memorandums of understanding on strategic alignment with Peru and Chile to substantially expand the width and depth of cooperation. China respectively launched joint feasibility study and negotiations on the upgrade of free trade agreement with Peru and Chile, injecting new impetus into bilateral economic and trade cooperation. China signed over 40 bilateral cooperation documents with the three countries, covering a wide range of areas including economy, trade, finance, energy, industrial park, infrastructure, agriculture, environmental protection and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, which will bring more tangible benefits to enterprises and peoples of China and Latin America.
When a massive earthquake struck Ecuador this April, the Chinese side has offered assistance at the earliest time possible in spite of the geographic distance, portraying an authentic reflection of mutual support and assistance between the two peoples. During his visit to Ecuador, President Xi Jinping attended the inauguration ceremony of landmark China-Ecuador cooperation projects, which demonstrates that China will continue to actively participate in the post-earthquake reconstruction of Ecuador and shows China’s responsible figure of upholding the correct viewpoint of righteousness and benefit.
Coordination in multilateral areas has embraced new opportunities. All three countries are representative Latin American countries. Peru has hosted the APEC meeting again after 8 years. Next year, Ecuador will take over the rotating presidency of the Group 77, and Chile will prepare for the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum to be held at the beginning of 2018. China agreed to enhance communication and coordination with these three countries within multilateral mechanisms on major issues including global economic governance, Asia-Pacific cooperation and sustainable development, and jointly advance bilateral overall cooperation and China-CELAC Forum construction, so as to better safeguard the common interests of emerging economies and developing countries.
Wang Yi said that all three countries paid high attention to and received President Xi Jinping’s visits with high standards. President Rafael Correa broke years of customs of Ecuador by welcoming and seeing off President Xi Jinping at the airport. After presiding over the APEC meeting, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru received President Xi Jinping’s visit despite his tight schedule, and saw him off at the airport personally. The Congress of Peru conferred President Xi Jinping the “Grand-Cross Medal of Honor”, and President Michelle Bachelet of Chile accompanied President Xi Jinping to attend relevant activities throughout the whole journey. Along the way, warm and grand welcoming ceremonies came one after another and enthusiastic and friendly welcoming crowd could be found everywhere. All these show that friendship with China has taken deeper roots in Latin America and cooperation with China has become the broad consensus and strategic choice transcending nationalities, political parties and groups as well as social levels.
IV. Expound China’s development ideas and reveal a confident and inclusive mindset
As China has walked to the center of the global arena, the international community, including Asia-Pacific and Latin America, cares and studies China’s development path, policies, and ideas. China needs more understanding and support from all sides to achieve smooth development, the “two centenary goals” and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
We have incisively expounded strategies of state governance and administration to earn more recognition for China’s development path. During the visit, President Xi Jinping deeply exchanged experience on China’s reform and opening up with people of various countries and clearly pointed out that such development of China can be attributed to the adherence to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. President Xi Jinping introduced the “Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy” to all sides, interpreted the spirit of the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee and stressed the determination of tightening party discipline. President Xi Jinping fully showed China’s confidence in its path, theory, system and culture in speeches and talks. Relevant state leaders were deeply inspired and spoke highly of China’s development achievements.
We have emphatically introduced reform and development measures to gain more confidence in China’s development prospects. President Xi Jinping explained the five notions of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and pointed out that China will focus on advancing the supply-side structural reform, innovative development, high-level and two-way opening up, and shared and green development, so as to ensure the stable and healthy development of China’s economy. In response to concerns from the international community on China’s economy, President Xi Jinping elaborated the resilience, potential and prospects of the Chinese economy under the “new normal” with facts and data. He also introduced the remarkable results achieved from the comprehensive deepening of reform, especially the successful opening of the 13th Five-Year Plan, which has effectively boosted the confidence of all sides in China’s economy.
We have vividly expounded the concept of openness and inclusiveness to get high expectations on China’s development opportunities. President Xi Jinping explained in depth that China’s development and world development offer opportunities to each other. He pointed out that China’s development will provide the world a broader market, more abundant capital, richer products, and more precious cooperation opportunities, and China welcomes all countries to hitch China’s development ride. By referring to the growth features of sweet potato, President Xi Jinping expressed that China, with its root in the Asia-Pacific, will continue to contribute to its development and prosperity. President Xi Jinping elaborated the significance of connectivity construction to win-win results and shared development by combining the “Belt and Road” initiative, and proposed to build a multi-dimensional connectivity network that covers the Asia-Pacific, raising greater enthusiasm from all parties including Latin America to participate in connectivity cooperation.
During the visit, Mme. Peng Liyuan, wife of President Xi Jinping attended the activities hosted for the spouses of APEC leaders and visited local schools and museums to enhance understanding of all other sides on China and promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and other countries, showcasing China’s friendly and amicable image.
Wang Yi concluded that since the beginning of this year, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, China’s diplomacy has served the deepening of domestic reform and the expansion of opening up, fulfilled the duties of safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development benefits and played its role in promoting world peace and development, achieving a series of new outcomes. When chairing the G20 Hangzhou Summit, which is the most important home field diplomacy of China in 2016, President Xi Jinping has charted the course for the world economy and international cooperation as well as opened up a new era of China’s participation in global governance. President Xi Jinping has actively promoted the development of state relations featuring mutual benefit and win-win results with other countries. His five visits in 2016, which are pragmatic and efficient and cover the region with several points, further improve the overall layout of China’s diplomacy, effectively push forward the “Belt and Road” construction and create a new pattern of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. Focusing on global politics, economy, security and other issues, President Xi Jinping proposed a series of important initiatives and proposals at various international occasions, causing a wide resonance and endowing new connotations to China’s diplomatic concepts. The Chinese nation has never been so close to the realization of the great rejuvenation as it is now and China’s diplomacy has never faced such a great stage. We must earnestly study and implement President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic notions and practices, keep the original intention in mind and endeavor to forge ahead so as to create a better external environment for domestic development as well as make greater contributions to the cause of world peace and development.
(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)