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Yang Jiechi:Independence and development (08/25/09)

Editor's note: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on China's diplomatic achievements over the past 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic.

Since the outbreak of the international financial crisis, China, while endeavoring to maintain steady and relatively fast growth of its own economy, has been actively involved in the international cooperation to tackle the crisis. We have put forward many important proposals, which were highly acclaimed by the international community. Through these efforts, we have not only gained an enabling external environment for meeting our central task of ensuring growth, people's well-being and social stability at home, but also boosted the confidence of the international community to overcome the crisis and contributed significantly to promoting world economic recovery and international financial stability.

Over the past 60 years, China's diplomacy has played an important part in upholding the country's sovereignty, security and development interests and in promoting world peace, development and cooperation. We have worked closely with other countries to address various international disputes with a responsible manner. We have vigorously conducted economic, cultural and public diplomacy and achieved fruitful results. The number of countries having diplomatic relations with us has increased from 18 in the early days of the People's Republic to 171 today.

China has entered into new types of cooperative relations or constructive partnerships with the world's major countries. China and Russia have established a strategic partnership of coordination and relations between the two countries have enjoyed sustained, sound and steady progress at a very high level. It is the common aspiration of both the Chinese and Russian people to build stronger relations between the two countries. Sino-US relations have reached an unprecedented level in terms of both depth and breadth over the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties. The two countries have agreed to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship for the 21st century and have put in place the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues mechanism. The growth of China-US relations serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and is conducive to peace, stability and development in the Asia Pacific and beyond. We have established a comprehensive strategic partnership with the EU and a strategic relationship of mutual benefit with Japan. We have been actively engaged in the "BRIC" dialogue and the dialogue among the "five developing countries" and enjoyed ever stronger cooperation with the major emerging economies.

Since the founding of the People's Republic, we have given top priority to fostering good relations with neighboring countries in our overall diplomacy. Though our specific policies toward these countries may have featured differently at different times, the fundamental policy of building good-neighborly relations has never changed. We have been committed to building a harmonious surrounding environment featuring durable peace and common prosperity. Since the beginning of the new century, we have been pursuing the policy of building amicable relations and partnerships with our neighbors. We have jointly established the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with Russia and central Asian countries, carried out dialogue with ASEAN and participated in the dialogue between ASEAN and China, Japan and ROK. Our trade and economic links with neighboring countries are growing closer. China is now the largest trading partner of Japan, ROK, India, Vietnam and Mongolia.

China has been enhancing solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. After the founding of the People's Republic, the Chinese government provided firm support to the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America in their just cause to gain and safeguard independence and develop national economy. Since the launch of the reform and opening-up program, China's relations with developing countries of various parts of the world have made important progress. The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which China hosted in 2006, was a great success, and eight measures were announced at the Summit to assist Africa's development. China's exchanges and cooperation with African countries in the political, economic and cultural fields have now entered a new stage. We have also set up the China-Arab Cooperation Forum and our practical cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean region has been moving ahead. Strengthening solidarity and develop mutually beneficial cooperation with the developing world is the foundation of China's diplomacy.

Since the founding of the People's Republic and, in particular, since reform and opening up, China has played an increasingly important constructive role in seeking settlement of major international and regional hot-spot issues, addressing global challenges and safeguarding world peace. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the peaceful resolution of international disputes through dialogue and negotiations, and has carried out international cooperation in various fields. We support reform of the United Nations and its Security Council, vigorously work for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and actively promote reform of the international financial system. We are working closely with other countries to address climate change, energy security, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other global challenges.

With the broadening of China's external exchanges and cooperation, it has become an increasingly arduous task to protect the safety and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and enterprises overseas. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up the Consular Protection Center to handle consular protection cases. In the past few years, we have, on average, handled over 30,000 consular cases of various scale each year.

Chinese diplomats, like China's diplomacy, have weathered various vicissitudes over the last six decades and have grown stronger, become better educated and more professional.

The success of China's diplomacy in the last 60 years is attributed to two most important things. First, adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace. China will, as always, decide its positions and policies on international affairs on the merits of each case, bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and people of the whole world. We will continue to uphold justice in the world and work with others to make our world a better place to live. Second, take into consideration both the domestic and the international situations and focus on meeting the priority tasks of the Party and the government. There have been closer interactions between the situations at home and abroad and between domestic and foreign policies in the 21st century. We must therefore aim to serve the need of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects in conducting diplomacy and foster a stronger sense of coordination and overall development so that our diplomatic work and work on other fronts will reinforce each other and achieve coordinated progress.

China will adhere to its path of peaceful development, pursue a win-win strategy of opening up, and make unremitting efforts for the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.



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