Written Interview by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi with Politika

On May 4, 2011, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi accepted a written interview with the Serbian newspaper Politika during his visit in Serbia. The interview reads as follows:

1. How do you assess the Serbia-China strategic partnership? Is it possible to substantially increase mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two countries, especially cooperation in infrastructure development?

The China-Serbia strategic partnership was established in 2009. It is a natural result of the time-honored friendship, mutual respect and equality between the two countries. The establishment of the strategic partnership has set a more ambitious goal for our bilateral relations. We want to be good friends, and good partners engaged in broader and deeper cooperation. For more than a year, the two governments have been moving in that direction. We have maintained high-level exchanges, rendered each other understanding and support on issues concerning each other's core interests, and consolidated political mutual trust. With the cornerstone laid for the Zemun-Borca bridge over the Danube, the mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two countries achieved a breakthrough. China is satisfied with the momentum of growth in our strategic partnership, and how to keep this momentum going will be a major topic of discussion during my visit. We should recognize, however, that the current level of cooperation falls short of the requirement of a strategic partnership. The pressing task is to build on the sound political relations between the two countries, take concrete steps to strengthen cooperation in all fields, and enable this strategic partnership to bring more benefits to our people.

With regard to infrastructure development, Serbia has the demands, Chinese enterprises have expertise and technologies, and Chinese financial institutions have due financing capabilities. Given such great complementarity, enterprises on both sides are highly motivated to conduct cooperation in this field. The Zemun-Borca bridge over the Danube is our first infrastructure cooperation project and I believe this is just the beginning.

2. The International Court of Justice ruled in an advisory opinion that the declaration of independence by Kosovo on 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law because international law contained no "prohibition on declarations of independence". What is China's comment?

China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and stands for the proper settlement of the Kosovo issue through dialogue within the framework of relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The international community has different understanding concerning the advisory opinion. In the final analysis, the Kosovo issue can only be settled through dialogue. We appreciate the recent resumption of talks between Serbia and Kosovo.

3. What's your view on the current China-US relationship and the differences between the two countries, and what is the prospect of this relationship?

President Hu Jintao's successful state visit to the United States in January this year ushered in a new stage in the building of a cooperative partnership between China and the United States that is based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. China-US relationship faces important opportunities for development and maintains sound momentum of growth. There are close exchanges between the two countries at the top and other levels. The third round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues will soon be held in the United States. The two sides enjoy increasing exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of areas, such as economy, energy, the environment, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. They also maintain effective communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, including the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, the situation in the Middle East and climate change.

Given the different social systems, development levels and cultural traditions, it is not possible for China and the United States to see eye to eye on every issue. Due to reasons related to both the past and the present, there are still sensitive issues in China-US relationship, such as the issues of Taiwan, Tibet, human rights, economy and trade. We urge the US side to respect China's core interests and handle the sensitive issues involved properly and cautiously so as to avoid disturbance and harm to China-US relationship.

The world needs a sound China-US relationship. Now that the international situation continues to undergo complex and profound changes and mankind faces increasing common challenges, China and the United States need to strengthen cooperation instead of harboring mutual suspicion or raising obstacles against one another. China is ready to work with the United States to earnestly implement the agreement reached between the two sides, advance the cooperative partnership in line with the China-US Joint Statement, and make its due contribution to safeguarding and promoting world peace, stability and prosperity.

4. China believes that it is difficult to solve the issue of Libya by military means. But Resolution 1973 adopted by the Security Council authorizes member states to "take all necessary measures to protect civilians". Such wording often means, in practice, military actions and civilian casualties as a result. Why did China not veto the resolution in the Security Council vote? What is your view on the current situation in Libya?

China has always emphasized that Security Council actions must comply with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and relevant norms of international law. The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Libya must be respected and the current crisis must be solved by peaceful means such as dialogue. We oppose the use of force in international relations and have serious reservation on certain elements in Resolution 1973. Taking into account the concerns and positions of the Arab countries and the Arab League and the special situation in Libya at that time, China joined some other countries to vote in abstention.

China stands for the settlement of the Libyan issue through political means. It is pressing that the parties concerned should call a ceasefire as soon as possible to avoid further escalation of the situation, more civilian casualties and greater humanitarian disasters. Recently, there have been increasing calls for a political solution to the crisis, which is gradually becoming the consensus of the international community. Some countries and regional organizations have come forward with proposals and propositions on solving the issue politically. China supports all efforts that help ease tension in Libya and stands ready to work with the international community to push for a political solution to the crisis.

5. China has huge economic interests in Africa. Some critics suggest that China's Africa policy takes on an aura of "neo-colonialism" and is aimed at buying out Africa's energy and mineral resources at a low price. What's your comment?

China-Africa energy and resources cooperation is a part of normal international energy and resources cooperation. China imports far less oil from Africa than the United States and Europe do. And China only takes up one sixteenth of the global investment in Africa's oil sector. When cooperating with Africa in energy and resources, China strictly follows market rules and international practices, and pays attention to helping Africa build its capacity of development on its own.

The Chambishi copper smelter project in the Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone is a good example. With this project put into production, the added value of Zambia's copper exports increased, more than 600 jobs were created locally and an industry-wide upgrading was initiated. In fact, many similar stories of this kind can be found.

China-Africa relationship is a comprehensive and cooperative relationship. The basic principle of China's Africa policy is equality and mutual respect. African countries are in the best position to judge the results of China-Africa cooperation. Many African leaders have spoken highly of China-Africa cooperation, pointing to its transparency, win-win results and dynamism, and the real opportunities it brings to Africa. There are indeed certain countries that always attempt to impose their will on others and wilfully interfere in Africa's affairs. But China is not one of them, and the hat of "neo-colonialism" in no way fits China.

6. Do you think the BRICS countries will adopt a common political agenda? How do you see the relationship between BRICS countries and the Western developed countries?

BRICS is a platform for dialogue and exchange on issues of mutual interest among the five emerging market economies of China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa. BRICS countries agree to focus on cooperation in the economic, financial and development field, where they enjoy a lot of common ground and a sound basis for cooperation. Of course, when the leaders of the five influential, major emerging countries meet, it is natural for them to exchange views on some hot-spot issues in the international situation.

Cooperation within BRICS is a useful support for and supplement to the South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue. It is open, transparent, mutually beneficial and not targeted at a third party. Such cooperation serves the common interests of the BRICS countries and the rest of the international community, including both other developing countries and the Western developed ones. BRICS are ready to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with other countries and contribute more to world peace, stability and development.

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