Realizing "Chinese Dream" through Hard and Down-to-Earth Work
--Joint Interview with Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao by CCTV and Xinhua News Agency
2013/02/03

I. What is your goal in attending this year's Munich Security Conference?

Munich Security Conference, one of the major security forums in the contemporary world, is an important venue for the exchange of views on security policies among major countries. It is regarded as the "barometer" for the trends in international security policies.

Bringing together over 400 high-ranking representatives from various sectors around the world and the largest in its history, this year's conference became the center of world attention. Reasons for the intensive attention to this conference are twofold: On the one hand, the contemporary world is undergoing major changes. In particular, the rapid growth of emerging economies represented by China has led to more balanced distribution of power in the world. On the other hand, with an increasing number of destabilizing factors and uncertainties, the international society is entering into a new stage of development.

So my goal in participating in the Munich Security Conference is to know the views of various parties on the international situation, especially the security situation, and expound on China's policies and views, so that we can find ways to enhance international cooperation, properly address various challenges, and promote common development.

II. Based on your experience at this conference, in what fields are other countries in the world most concerned about China? And what do they expect of China?

What strikes me the most about this year's conference is the great importance all participating parties attached to China. Traditionally, the Munich Security Conference was an international forum dedicated to discussions on relations between the United States and Europe. This year, the conference, as an important part of its programs, designated a special panel discussion for the topic of "The Rising Powers and Global Governance" and invited a Chinese representative to be the first speaker. In other discussions and sessions at the conference, China is also the focus of attention. For one thing, "China" has become one of the key words that occurred most frequently at the last two Munich Security Conferences.

The participating parties are interested in China for various reasons. First, they want to know about the direction of development China will take after the conclusion of the 18th CPC National Congress. With China's growing integration into the world, its development is not only of great consequence to its own people's well-being, but also has profound implications for the development of other countries in the world including developed countries. In addition, other countries' interest in China is driven by their concern over what China might bring to the world and how China will view and get along with the world after it gets more developed.

In response to these international concerns, I gave a three-point presentation at the Munich conference. Firstly, China will continue to be an independent country seeking international cooperation. China will seek to realize the "Chinese Dream" through its own efforts and down-to-earth work; at the same time it also needs the support and help of the world to make this dream come true. We will work to turn opportunities in the world into opportunities for China and we will also turn opportunities in China into opportunities for the world. Secondly, China will continue to be a confident country open to the world. China has the confidence in the socialist road, theory and system with Chinese characteristics and at the same time will continue to emulate all the fine experience and practices in other parts of the world. Thirdly, China will remain committed to peace and development. It is a Chinese belief that, without peace, China and the world as a whole cannot achieve smooth development whereas failure in development cannot sustain peace in China and in the world. China will stick unswervingly the road of peaceful development. On the other hand, China will never give up its legitimate rights. Nor will it sacrifice its national core interests.

When it comes to the international responsibilities emerging economies should take, I stressed that the emerging economies, with China as one of them, constitute a positive force in global governance. The growth of these emerging economies has helped produce a bigger economic cake for the world. They will take a more active part in international affairs to tackle global challenges. However, it should be admitted that emerging economies are still quite behind developed countries, so they should shoulder "common but differentiated" responsibilities. Echoed by representatives from other participating emerging economies, these views were also acknowledged by representatives from a number of developed countries. In this sense, we have fulfilled our goal in participating in this year's conference.

III. You are the Vice Foreign Minister in charge of European affairs, and you've just attended this security conference held in Europe. Could you talk about your views on China-Europe relations? The European debt crisis was thrown into the limelight last year, and what do you make of its development this year?

Europe is one of the major forces in the world. It is also one of China's major international partners as we strive to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects at home and promote a multi-polar world abroad. Over the past years, relations between China and Europe have maintained forward momentum. The EU has stayed as China's biggest trading partner for nine consecutive years. Nowadays, a growing number of Chinese entrepreneurs are seeking business opportunities in Europe, more and more Chinese people travel to Europe and the number of Chinese students pursuing education in Europe has exceeded 200,000. In return, increasingly optimistic about the prospect for development in China, European countries have regarded China as a partner of growing importance. China and Europe have cooperated well on a large number of major international issues though disputes and disagreements remain between the two sides. We hope these disagreements can be addressed appropriately on the principles of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit.

Last year, the European debt crisis turned for the worse and caught the attention of the world. The effect of the crisis was also keenly felt in the economic relations between China and Europe. Aware that the crisis has not swayed the general direction of European integration and the fundamentals in the European economy and society remain sound, China has kept conveying messages of confidence to Europe even when the crisis reached its nadir. In addition, China has, through both bilateral and multilateral channels, done what it can to help European countries. Europe is highly appreciative of China's efforts.

As for the situation this year, the European debt crisis is expected to stabilize, though uncertainties remain. We are convinced that Europe is able to tide over the crisis and achieve economic recovery earlier than expected. Of course, it takes strenuous efforts on the European side. China will continue to play a positive part and strengthen pragmatic cooperation with Europe in various fields.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the forging of China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The 16th China-EU summit and a series of exchanges of visits between high-ranking officials are on the way. China is ready to make joint efforts with Europe to bring better development to the bilateral relationship.

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