Chinese Ambassador to India H.E. Sun Weidong Gave Interview to Asian News International

On October 18th, 2019, Chinese Ambassador to India H.E. Sun Weidong gave interview to Asian News International(ANI), introducing the fruitful outcomes of the second informal meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai and answering questions on bilateral relations. The video has been widely screened on Indian TV channels such as NDTV, Republic TV, Times Now, Zee, Wion, etc. The main content of the interviews is as follows:

Q: President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held their second informal meeting in Chennai from October 11th to 12th. This is a continuation of last year's informal meeting in Wuhan. What consensus did the two sides reach and what impact will this meeting have on the future development of India-China relations?

A: On October 11th and 12th, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held their second informal meeting in Chennai. It is also the 17th meeting between the two leaders in the past five years. From the Yangtze river to the Indian Ocean, from their meeting in Wuhan to exchange of thoughts in Chennai, the two leaders took their time in a stroll while discussing world affairs, and had an in-depth communication on the development of bilateral relations as well as overall, long-term and strategic issues with international and regional significance, holding the rudder and steering the course of China-India relations.

First, strengthen in-depth strategic communication. The informal meeting provided an important opportunity for the two leaders to enhance mutual understanding through in-depth conversation. President Xi and Prime Minister Modi had a long and profound exchange of views. They talked about how China and India worked together for their national independence and liberation, jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, and joined hands in realizing the "Chinese dream" and "Indian dream". The leaders pointed out that the world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. As the two most populous developing countries and major emerging economies, China and India are both at a crucial stage of national development and national renewal, and thus enjoy huge cooperation potential and space. China-India relations go beyond the bilateral scope and have important and far-reaching strategic significance. China and India should be good neighbors living in harmony and good partners moving forward hand in hand. To realize the scenario of "dragon and elephant dancing together" is the only correct choice for China and India. The two sides should have timely communication on major issues, respect each other's core interests, gradually seek mutual understanding, properly manage, control and address differences and prevent differences from evolving into disputes. the two countries should help each other to accomplish their respective goals and "brighten up" each other. President Xi invited Prime Minister Modi to China for another meeting. The two leaders also agreed to continue their strategic communication, including in the form of informal meetings.

Second, promote win-win cooperation in various fields. The two leaders put forward specific goals and clear ideas on deepening and expanding practical cooperation. They decided to establish a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism, strengthen alignment of economic development strategies, explore the establishment of a "manufacturing partnership" and promote balanced and sustainable growth of bilateral trade. They agreed to expand China-India plus cooperation, advance regional connectivity, and work with other parties to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership at an early date. In the face of rising unilateralism and protectionism, the two sides agreed to strengthen coordination within the framework of multilateral mechanisms such as the G20, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China, Russia and India cooperation etc, uphold multilateralism and the multilateral trading system, and promote the conclusion of open and inclusive trade arrangements.

Third, promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. Accompanied by Prime Minister Modi, President Xi toured the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram, a heritage site of Indian civilization. Prime Minister Modi himself introduced the monuments. From Bodhidharma to Shaolin Zen Buddhism, the two leaders traced the origins of the mutual learning between Chinese and Indian civilizations and conceived a blueprint for bilateral people-to-people and cultural exchanges and dialogue. The two sides agreed that as important contemporary civilizations with time-honored traditions, China and India should conduct exchanges and mutual learning in a wider range of areas and at a deeper level, so as to enhance the understanding of the two peoples about each other's culture, promote dialogue and exchanges between different civilizations and usher in new chapter of glory for Oriental civilizations. The two sides agreed to make the "Year of China-India Cultural and People-to-People Exchange" in 2020 a success and hold 70 activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China-India diplomatic relations. Fujian province and Quanzhou city of China will enter into sister province/city relations with Tamil Nadu and Chennai of India. The two sides will explore the feasibility of historical and cultural studies on these two places and research on maritime exchanges between China and India.

Through the Chennai informal meeting, the two leaders have made an overarching plan for the development of China-India relations in the next stage from a strategic and long-term perspective, set new goals and chartered a new course. Going forward, the two sides should take the leaders' consensus as guidance, ensure the accurate transmission and solid implementation of the consensus. We should go beyond the model of differences management, actively shape bilateral relations and accumulate positive energy. We should enhance exchanges and cooperation, promote convergence of interests and open up new prospects for China-India cooperation.

Q: India's huge trade deficit with China has always been a major concern of the Indian side. What are the guiding views of the leaders of the two countries on this issue?

A: During this informal meeting, the leaders of the two countries had an extensive communication on the topics of practical economic cooperation, including the common vision and goals of each country's economic development and the alignment of their development strategies. Of course, they also touched upon the issue of trade imbalance, which is of concern to the Indian side. Both sides agreed that the simultaneous development of China and India has brought good opportunities to each other. To further deepen economic cooperation, the two sides decided to establish a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism to strengthen bilateral trade and investment cooperation and better promote the balanced development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. India thanked China for increasing imports of Indian rice, sugar and other products and welcomed more Chinese enterprises to invest in manufacturing and other industries in India. China welcomes Indian companies to invest in IT and pharmaceutical industries in China. The two sides also pledged to encourage mutual investment in potential areas by exploring the establishment of a "manufacturing partnership". The two sides also agreed to work together to conclude negotiations on a mutually beneficial and balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as soon as possible. On the eve of the informal meeting, the signing ceremony of China-India trade projects jointly hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and industry was held in Delhi. Companies from the two countries signed 128 trade agreements worth over $3 billion, involving on minerals, chemicals, agricultural products, pharmaceuticals and other products on which India enjoy competitive advantages. In a word, China is ready to work with India for economic and trade cooperation with higher quality and at a higher level.

Q: India and China are the world's largest developing countries and emerging economies. During the informal meeting, Indian and Chinese leaders had strategic communication not only on bilateral relations but also on major international and regional issues. What impact do you think this meeting will have on the international and regional landscape?

A: The international situation is undergoing major adjustments. As the two leaders have said, China and India shoulder increasingly important responsibilities in maintaining global stability and promoting development. In the 21st century, world peace and human progress cannot be achieved without cooperation between China and India. To strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation between China and India and maintain steady progress of our bilateral relations serves the common interests of both sides, and is of positive and important significance to the region and the world at large.

Both China and India are committed to building a peaceful, secure and prosperous world, and share broad common interests in maintaining and promoting an inclusive international order based on international law, including in advancing reforms that reflect the new international landscape of the 21st century. Both countries believe that at a time when global trade practices and norms are being challenged, the multilateral rules-based trading system should be supported and strengthened, and efforts should be made to continue to promote open and inclusive trade arrangements that benefit all countries. China and India have made important efforts in addressing global development challenges, including climate change and achieving the sustainable development goals. Both are committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and call on all countries to strengthen international cooperation in fighting terrorism.

The informal meeting strengthened communication and coordination between China and India in international and regional affairs. Both sides agreed to step up coordination under the framework of multilateral mechanism and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. We need to uphold the international system with the United Nations at its center and the law-based international order, uphold multilateralism and the multilateral trading regime and jointly cope with global challenges. Closer cooperation between China and India will have an important and positive impact on the building of a fair and equitable international order.

Both China and India are major countries with important influence in the region. The two leaders had an in-depth communication on regional situation. China stressed that it sincerely look forward to good relations between China and India, China and Pakistan as well as India and Pakistan. We hope to see countries in the region join hands in promoting regional peace and stability and realizing development and prosperity. The Chinese side also put forward its proposition on promoting cooperation under the "China-India+" mechanism, that is to extend the cooperation model to other countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa on the basis of the "China-India+Afghanistan" cooperation. China proposes that China and India play a leading role in regional inter-connectivity and work to build a more open connectivity network.

Q: There are still some differences in China-India relations, including the boundary question. How should the two sides handle these differences? How do you see the prospect for the resolution of the boundary question?

A: China always believes that China and India should correctly view their differences, and never let the differences dim the overall situation of bilateral cooperation. At the same time, the two countries should gradually seek understanding through communication and constantly resolve their differences. China and India should have timely strategic communication on major issues, respect each other's core interests, gradually seek mutual understanding and constantly diffuse differences. The Indian side also agreed that the two sides should take account of each other's major concerns, properly manage, control and address differences, prevent differences from evolving into disputes, develop a closer partnership and usher in a new era of India-China relationship.

During their meeting, the two leaders exchanged views on pending issues including the boundary question. They welcomed the work done by the Special Representatives and instructed them to continue their efforts to seek a mutually agreed framework based on the political parameters and guiding principles for the settlement of the China-India boundary question reached in 2005, and work to find a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question. The two leaders reaffirmed the two countries' commitment to peace and tranquility in the border areas and agreed to have more confidence-building measures and carefully control and manage differences. The two sides also exchanged views on raising the level of military and security exchanges and cooperation, and decided to put military-to-military relations on the right track of enhancing mutual trust, dispelling doubts and friendly cooperation.

Q: As Chinese Ambassador to India, you participated in the whole process of the informal meeting between the two leaders. What are your impressions?

A: As the Chinese Ambassador to India, I am honored to be part of the Chennai informal meeting. I am deeply impressed by the importance given and thoughtful arrangements made by the Indian side to the meeting, as well as the warmth and friendship of the people in Chennai. President Xi Jinping said that from the beginning to the end of his visit, he has received a grand welcome and warm hospitality from the Indian government and people and felt the profound traditional friendship between the two peoples. From my personal perspective, I have the following three deep impressions:

First, the two leaders had in-depth communications over a long period of time in various forms. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent most part of the informal meeting on one-on-one exchanges, including their discussion at Shore Temple on exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, watching together the splendid cultural performances under the deep starry sky, and enjoying tea together at the sea side. Prime Minister Modi accompanied President Xi and gave him a guided tour of Arjuna's Penance, Panch Rathas, Shore Temple and other monuments. They talked freely without setting specific agenda, which enhanced their friendship and mutual trust.

Second, I am impressed by the ever-growing friendly sentiments between the Chinese and Indian people. When President Xi arrived in Tamil Naidu, local people in national costumes sang, danced and performed the traditional Bharata Dancing. Some of them walked on stilts and waved the Chinese national flag. From downtown Chennai to Mahabalipuram, tens of thousands of people lined up the 50-km road, they held high portraits of the two leaders, waved the national flags of China and India and chanted China-India friendship". The local people's warm hospitality and the profound friendship between the two peoples is overwhelming.

Third, I am impressed by the time-honored historical ties between China and India since ancient times. Tamil Nadu has had close maritime trade links with China since ancient times. It is a maritime commodity transit port on the ancient silk road and also a witness of friendly exchanges between the two countries in history. Friendly exchanges and mutual learning between China and India have spanned thousands of years, greatly enhancing the development and progress of both countries and benefiting both peoples. President Xi stressed that cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and India have great potential and the two sides should carry out such exchanges in a wider range of areas and at a deeper level. Prime Minister Modi also pointed out that the wisdom from the two countries' ancient and profound civilizations can provide inspiration for solving various challenges facing the world today. India and China should not only face history, but also forge ahead and create a future. Indeed, China and India should not only carry forward the rich heritage of historical exchanges, but also enhance dialogue and exchanges among civilizations in the new era and learn from each other, so as to inject more lasting impetus into the development of bilateral relations and jointly realize the great renewal of our two civilizations and working together for a community of shared future for mankind. I will also wish all the Indian friends a happy Diwali!

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