|Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Meets the Press
Minister Yang: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen and friends from the press. I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet you here. Premier Wen Jiabao gave a full picture of China's foreign policy and foreign relations in his Report on the Work of the Government. Now I am ready to take your questions.
1. China Central Television: Since the very beginning of the new year, leaders of China have already made several foreign trips. We have called this "diplomacy in the early beginning of the new year". What is the plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conducting diplomacy in the new year? Last year was truly eventful for China. What were the highlights of China's diplomacy?
Minister Yang: Indeed, the journey of friendship and cooperation by President Hu Jintao and the journey of confidence by Premier Wen Jiabao have given a strong boost to China's relations with African countries, the Middle East countries and European countries.
Last year was an eventful year for China and also an eventful year for China's diplomacy. It was a year of enormous challenges. Yet we met these challenges head on and reaped a good harvest. In this year of enormous challenges, we fought natural disasters, including the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan. We hosted successfully the Olympic Games in spite of the various disruptive factors. And we worked hard to cope with the impact of the international financial crisis. The challenges that confronted our country and our diplomacy last year had been rarely seen for many years in terms of scale, severity and impact. Meeting these challenges was indeed not easy.
Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, with the active support of all Chinese people and close cooperation of other government departments, we earnestly implemented the scientific outlook on development and made a lot of achievements on the diplomatic front. We broke new ground in many areas. We enriched and developed the diplomatic theory with Chinese features and continued to take a holistic approach in pursuing diplomacy. We took into account both domestic and international situations and attached importance to both bilateral diplomacy and multilateral diplomacy.
I want to mention in particular that over the past year, we worked hard to combine region-specific diplomacy with diplomacy in specific areas. I believe you know well what region-specific diplomacy means. It is about developing relations with major countries, neighboring countries and other developing countries and also it involves a large part of our multilateral diplomacy. Let me say a few more words about what I mean by diplomacy in specific areas, areas which I believe we should pay more attention to. This diplomacy means economic diplomacy, security diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy. The Olympic Games we held last year was a big cultural event. It was also a large part of our efforts to promote cultural diplomacy. As I told my colleagues at the beginning of last year, if we could successfully host the Olympic Games and make further progress in cultural diplomacy, we would have fulfilled at least half of our diplomatic work for 2008. We continued to improve the mechanisms and institutions in our diplomatic work. While the international influence, role and standing of China have visibly increased, we have continued to make important contribution to world and regional peace, stability and development. Last year, over 180 foreign heads of state, heads of government and other political leaders came to China on official visits, attending the opening and closing ceremonies and other events of the Olympic and Paralympic Games or attending the Seventh ASEM Summit. This has been truly unprecedented in the history of China's diplomacy in terms of the number of foreign guests we received and the rank of these foreign visitors.
I know you all have a keen interest in China's diplomacy this year. The international situation is undergoing the most profound and complex changes since the end of the Cold War. The international financial crisis has yet to hit the bottom. China's external environment has become more complicated. On China's diplomacy this year, let me make the following four points.
First, we should stay focused on one overarching objective, that is to make every effort to serve the goal of ensuring steady and rapid economic development in China. Second, we should pursue two priorities. The first one is to make every effort to properly handle the impact of international financial crisis so as to serve the goal of preserving economic growth, the well-being of our people and stability in China. The second priority is to make full preparations for the participation of Chinese leaders in a series of important multilateral activities to ensure their success. These major multilateral activities include, among others, the upcoming financial summit in London, the G8 Outreach Session to be held in Italy in July, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, the meeting of prime ministers of SCO member states and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November. What we hope is that with China's participation in these activities we will help contribute to making the international order fairer and more equitable. Third, we should continue to work hard on the following three fronts. First, we will continue to advance security diplomacy to safeguard China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and security interests. Second, we will continue to pursue cultural diplomacy to increase friendship and cooperation between the Chinese people and people of other countries. Third, we will strengthen consular protection to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese nationals and companies overseas. As more and more Chinese are traveling abroad and more and more Chinese companies are doing business overseas, we must do an even better job in consular protection. My fourth point is that we should continue to work hard in the following four areas. We will continue to promote the steady growth of China's relations with major countries, strengthen friendship with neighboring countries, enhance solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries and take a more active part in seeking proper settlement of global and regional hotspot issues.
I believe with our hard work, the year of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China will be another year of splendid achievements of China's diplomacy.
2. Associated Press: Thank you. The current financial crisis has broad implications for China's international relations, particularly with the United States. Many Chinese believe that China's problems now are a result of poor planning and irresponsible policies in America. Some even believe that China has been trapped into buying American government debt and supporting such policies in the United States. To what degree do you believe America is responsible in this aspect? And what does the United States need to do to win back the confidence of the Chinese Government and people and restore its reputation? Thank you.
Minister Yang: I think people have their fair judgment regarding the causes of the international financial crisis. Lessons of the crisis should be learned. The pressing task now is that all countries must work together to make the upcoming financial summit in London a success. We believe the summit should play a role in boosting public confidence, strengthening coordination in the macroeconomic policies, stabilizing financial markets, promoting necessary reforms in the international financial system and international financial regulatory regime, and helping developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, we are ready to work with the United States and other countries to weather the storm and make join efforts to tide over the difficulties brought by the financial crisis.
In making use of its foreign exchange assets, China follows the principle of ensuring security, liquidity and value increase. We will make further use of China's foreign exchange assets in line with the above-mentioned principle.
In my view, since the inauguration of the Obama administration in the United States, relations between China and the new US government have got off to a good start. President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama had very good telephone conversations. They reached important agreement on working together to advance China-US relations. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had meetings and talks with the Chinese side during her recent visit to China. The two sides expressed the sincere desire to advance the bilateral relationship. Under the current international environment, China and the United States have broader common interests. We are ready to work with the new US administration to push forward China-US ties. We hope that the two sides will accommodate each other's core interests and continue to step up their exchange and cooperation. We believe that with joint efforts, China-US relations will continue to move forward along the track of sound and stable growth.
3. The Times of London: At the G20 in London next month, will President Hu Jintao contribute on China's behalf and what will he contribute? And concretely, what does China want for its part? And in that context, has the global financial crisis changed the balance of power in China's favor?
Minister Yang: President Hu Jintao will attend the London financial summit. During the summit, he will have meetings with leaders of other countries. I will soon pay a visit to the United States at the invitation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make necessary preparations for the meeting between President Hu and President Obama. I will work with my US colleagues to make plans for China-US relations this year. President Hu will also hold a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London. We appreciate the many preparations the UK has made for the financial summit. To maintain steady and fast economic development in China is in itself the biggest contribution China makes to the international cooperation in meeting the financial crisis. Another important contribution we have made is that we have increased assistance to other developing countries, particularly African countries. And we have called upon other countries to honor their commitments to assistance. Our Commerce Minister Mr. Chen Deming headed a trade and investment promotion delegation to visit Europe. During the visit, the Chinese companies had consultations with their counterparts from the United Kingdom, Germany and other countries on how to expand their business cooperation. They inked agreements and contracts worth a total of 15 billion US dollars. This is also an important contribution that China has made to the international efforts against financial crisis. China was one of the first countries to make the announcement that it would attend the Washington summit and we are also one of the countries which are actively cooperating with Britain, host of the upcoming London summit, to ensure its success. I believe with the joint efforts of all parties, positive results will be achieved at the London financial summit.
As for in whose favor this international financial crisis is moving, actually I think it is reason and the legitimate demands of people of all countries that have prevailed. It is imperative for governments of all countries to always put people's interests first and take a down-to-earth approach in pursuing economic development and social progress of their own countries, and uphold international justice and equity.
4. Interfax: This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, how do you comment on China-Russia relations and what potential do you think can be released in China-Russia cooperation in international organizations and among the BRIC countries?
Minister Yang: It has been 13 years since China and Russia established the strategic partnership of coordination. China-Russia relations have come a long way in the past 13 years and made a lot of progress, particularly in recent years. I believe in the new year we should make efforts in the following four areas. First, we should enhance high-level exchanges and mutual visits and strengthen exchanges at other levels, so that we will be able to increase our mutual trust and strengthen our cooperation. Second, I think the two countries should engage fully in practical cooperation in all fields, particularly in the fields of energy, science and technology. Recently, the representatives of China-Russia energy negotiations held their third meeting. They reached agreement on a series of important aspects, including the construction of crude oil pipelines, loans as well as the long-term trading in crude oil. These agreements are mutually beneficial. Third, we should make great efforts to promote cultural exchanges and people-to-people interaction between China and Russia. This year is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It is also the Russian Language Year in China. We should make every effort to make all these activities successful to increase mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples and strengthen the popular support for China-Russia relations.
Both China and Russia are major countries in today's world and permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is important for the two countries to strengthen cooperation on major international issues, promote world multipolarity and greater democracy in international relations, and make greater contribution to world peace, stability and development.
China, Russia, Brazil and India are countries with important influence in today's world. They are called the "big emerging countries". We face a lot of common challenges in many areas and also share many development opportunities. Leaders and foreign ministers of those four countries have met to exchange views. I think it will be useful to continue such practice, as I believe this is in the interest of cooperation among the four countries. It is also in the interest of peace, stability and development in the relevant regions and the world.
5. People's Daily: The issue of climate change has attracted wide attention from the international community. What will China do to meet the challenge of climate change? At the end of this year, the United Nations will hold the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen. What does China expect from this UN conference?
Minister Yang: At the end of this year, the UN will hold the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen. It is a very important meeting. I hope that all parties can work together to pursue the Bali Roadmap and achieve desired results at the Copenhagen conference. It is essential that the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" be observed. And I believe the success of the meeting is very much dependent on the developing and developed countries contributing their respective shares and working together. China will continue to implement its National Climate Change Program, and make every effort to honor its commitment and contribute its due share to the success of the conference.
6. TV Asahi: I have two questions. The first is about China-Japan relations. There are victims in both Japan and China of the poisoned dumpling incident. The incident has not been resolved since it broke out more than a year ago, and the Japanese consumers are still concerned about the quality of made-in-China food. What are the difficulties in resolving this case? The other question is about the East China Sea. The two countries reached a common understanding on the issue of the East China Sea, but why have the two countries not started their relevant negotiations on this issue? Does China think that this common understanding is not applicable to the Tianwaitian oil and gas field? Secondly, last year, leaders of China, Japan and the ROK had their first separate meeting in Japan, and this year they will meet again in China. Under the international financial crisis, what does China expect from this cooperation, and what will China do to enhance the cooperation?
Minister Yang: First, I would like to say that the Chinese Government and relevant government departments take food quality and safety very seriously. The dumpling incident you referred to is a criminal case. The relevant Chinese departments are still conducting the investigation and working hard to crack the case. We believe that China and Japan should continue to cooperate in the investigation. I wonder if there are food-related cases in Japan too, which after a long time of investigation still cannot be resolved. I believe the Japanese police will not give up their efforts and will pursue the investigation until the cases are resolved. That is what we are determined to do on this specific case. I think we should have the understanding of the Japanese side on this point and the two countries should cooperate on resolving the case to ensure food safety. And I also believe it is important that our two countries establish a long-term cooperation mechanism on food safety. Isn't this a good idea? I would like to make a comment here which I hope the journalists will not misinterpret. I can't say that we don't have any problems at all in the food in China, but I often have some Chinese-made frozen dumplings before attending diplomatic functions or press conferences.
The principled consensus reached between the two countries on the issue of the East China Sea is a reflection of the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. I believe both sides should honor the spirit of the principled consensus and create necessary conditions for its implementation. The Tianwaitian oil and gas field is located in China's exclusive economic zone. It has nothing to do with the principled consensus between the two countries on the East China Sea issue.
We believe the first separate meeting among leaders of China, Japan and the ROK held in Japan last year was a big success. And we appreciate the efforts made by the host country, Japan. My colleagues told me that trade among China, Japan and the ROK is bigger than trade among the UK, France and Germany. Moreover, our three countries are close neighbors and share a strong historical bond of culture. In the face of the international financial crisis, there is every reason for our three countries to enhance exchange and cooperation and make due contribution to international efforts against the financial crisis and helping Asia emerge from the difficulties as early as possible. China will do what it can to be a good host and make the meeting a success. We believe we will have the support of our Japanese and ROK colleagues.
7. JoongAng Daily: I have three questions. First, with the Obama administration coming into office, will China make adjustment to its foreign policy, particularly its policy on Northeast Asia, including the Korean Peninsula? Second, if the DPRK goes ahead with the missile launch, what will be the response of the Chinese side? And how will it impact the Six-Party Talks process? Third, since the outbreak of the financial crisis, trade between China and the ROK has declined. Some experts have suggested that fast progress should be made in the negotiations of China-ROK FTA to promote trade between the two countries. What is your comment?
Minister Yang: China has made clear its foreign policy on many occasions. We are committed to pursuing peaceful development. We will unswervingly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and a win-win strategy of opening-up. There has been no change to China's foreign policy. We are glad to see that the Obama administration has stated that it places high importance on the Six-Party Talks process and is ready to work with other relevant parties to advance the process.
Important progress has been made in the Six-Party Talks and we should cherish the progress. It is true that now the talks have encountered some difficulties. But I think it is natural that people encounter difficulties when negotiating a settlement of such a complicated issue. What is important is that all relevant parties should earnestly implement the agreement reached on 19 September 2005. They should work together toward their shared goal, complete the remaining actions in the second phase as early as possible, and bring the talks into the third phase. As the host of the Six-Party Talks, China will continue to play its unique and constructive role for continued progress in the Six-Party Talks. We are aware of the DPRK announcement that it will launch an experimental communications satellite. We have also taken note of the reactions of the relevant countries. We are following the development of the situation. We are of the view that safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula serves the interests of all relevant parties. And we hope that all parties will do more things which are conducive to this.
Regarding the establishment of China-ROK FTA, joint research has already been launched involving government officials, academics and people from the industries. I believe it is of great significance for both China and the ROK to push forward such discussions and research, and to launch the relevant negotiations and establish the FTA at an early date. I hope the two sides will make joint efforts and meet each other half way. In my view, China, Japan and the ROK should all set good examples in opposing trade and investment protectionism. Last year, China-Japan trade exceeded 200 billion US dollars and China-ROK trade approached 200 billion US dollars. I believe to continue to expand our market shares in each other's countries will help boost the confidence of people in Asia in meeting the financial crisis. It will also serve the interests of people of both countries and in Asia.
8. China Daily: We have noted that Chinese leaders have advocated the vision on many occasions that diplomacy should contribute to economic development in China. As the international financial crisis continues to spread and develop, what role should China's diplomacy play in meeting the financial crisis and supporting economic development at home?
Minister Yang: I can tell you that for the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the overseas diplomatic missions, one of our most important tasks is to contribute to economic development at home and promote the business relations between China and other countries. Some of our ambassadors told me when they came back to China that they had spent 30 to 50 percent of all working time on dealing with economic affairs. Our overseas diplomatic missions have put a lot of efforts in facilitating some major cooperation projects as well as settling disputes in the economic field.
With regard to what we will do next, let me say the following. First, we will make in-depth analysis of the evolution of the current economic and financial situations and offer our suggestions and advice to the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Second, we will make our contribution to maintaining and even raising the level of trade and economic cooperation between China and relevant countries. Third, we will provide services and guidance to Chinese companies as they go global. Fourth, we will continue to protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese nationals and companies abroad.
9. TVB: French company Christie's insisted on going ahead with the auction of two bronze fountain heads from China's old Summer Palace. The spokesman of this NPC session said this has offended the Chinese people. In spite of China's strong opposition, the French President met with Dalai at the end of last year. How do you comment on China-France relations? My second question is what will the Chinese Foreign Ministry do to protect Hong Kong's interests overseas and support the SAR government in conducting external exchanges?
Minister Yang: The Chinese Government opposes the auction by the relevant company of the two fountain heads from China's old Summer Palace. Because these two bronze fountain heads are cultural relics looted from China and China has the right to recover these lost cultural relics. This move has added salt to injury and it is immoral.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry is committed to working to foster a good external environment for prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. The Central Government invited Hong Kong SAR government officials to join the Chinese delegation and attend the Washington financial summit. We will again invite officials from the Hong Kong SAR to join the Chinese delegation for the London financial summit. We have always been encouraging the relevant international organizations to have Hong Kong and Macao more in their minds and host meetings there. We have also created conditions for the participation of Hong Kong and Macao government officials and people in overseas multilateral activities and events. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has followed and handled over 600 cases of consular protection which involved over 2,000 compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao. We believe under the leadership of the Hong Kong and Macao SAR governments, people in the two regions will tide over the difficulties during the financial crisis. We believe with the strong support of the Chinese Central Government, Hong Kong and Macao will maintain prosperity and stability.
You asked about China-France relations. In the past 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China-France relations have made a lot of progress and brought real benefits to people of both countries. China has always attached great importance to promoting relations with France and made tremendous efforts to this end. The current problem in China-France relations is not caused by the Chinese side, and the responsibility for it does not rest with China. We hope France will positively respond to the major concerns of the Chinese side. Finally, I want to emphasize that I have confidence in the long-term development of China-France relations. Because that serves the common interests of both countries and is in keeping with the aspiration of both peoples.
10. Deutsch Press Agency: The cooperation between China and Europe has to tackle a lot of important issues like the financial crisis and climate change. Last year, many Europeans were puzzled that China cancelled the EU-China Summit in December because French President Sarkozy was going to meet the Dalai Lama. There is a lack of understanding in Europe that China would suspend this important cooperation at any time, even in crisis, when a European leader meets the Tibetan religious leader for a chat or for tea. How do you respond to that? Czech, the EU presidency, has proposed a new EU-China Summit in May in Prague. Will China take part in the Summit and is the date fixed?
Minister Yang: The China-EU Summit had to be postponed at the end of 2008. The responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side. And I believe people are clear about the cause of it. People in Europe know well the classic philosophy of ancient Greece. I believe they have very good logic. The Dalai side still insists on establishing a so-called "Greater Tibet" on a quarter of China's territory. They want to drive away the Chinese armed forces on the Chinese territory and ask all non-Tibetans who have lived there for generations to move out. You think this person is a religious figure? Will Germany, France or indeed any country allow a quarter of its territory to be separated from it? Please keep in mind that China always supported Germany's cause of reunification. Dalai is by no means merely a religious figure. He is a political exile. Our differences with him are not over religious issues, human rights, ethnic issues or culture. The real issue is whether we should defend China's unity and prevent Tibet from being separated from China's territory. In developing their relations with China, other countries should not allow Dalai to visit their countries or allow their territories to be used by Dalai to engage in separatist activities for "Tibet independence". I think it is an integral part of the norms governing international relations. This is not doing a favor to China. What we hope is that all countries, when handling this issue, will follow the principles that they say they have always pursued. I hope they will respect the norms governing international relations, international law as well as China's Constitution and the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that the upcoming China-EU Summit was not proposed by the Czech Republic alone. This decision to have a China-EU Summit in the first half of this year was made between Premier Wen Jiabao and EU leaders during Premier Wen's visit to the EU headquarters early this year. I don't think it will be a big problem to finalize a date for the China-EU Summit.
11. China Radio International: In the face of the international financial crisis, how does China define its role and influence in Asia and what will China do to advance regional cooperation in Asia?
Minister Yang: China is a member of the big Asian family. We pursue a foreign policy of establishing amicable relations and partnerships with neighboring countries. We hope to see social stability, economic development and improved livelihood of the people in our neighbors. We are committed to pursuing partnerships of mutual benefit with them. If you look around, you will find that many of China's important trading partners are in Asia. For example, our trade with India has topped 50 billion US dollars. The growth of the Chinese economy contributed more than 20 percent to the growth of the world economy last year. And I believe our contribution to the Asian economy is even higher. In the face of the international financial crisis, it is important for China and other Asian countries to be more creative and take more pioneering steps, so that our Asian economy will be one of the first to walk out of the shadow cast by the financial crisis. To be more specific, we will continue to promote "10+1" and "10+3" cooperation. We will advance the process of the multi-lateralization of the Chiang Mai Initiative, establish the Asian capital market and put in place the "10+3" regional foreign exchange reserve pooling. We will promote our cooperation with countries in the sub-region of the Greater Mekong River and enhance cooperation with the SAARC member states. In addition to our strong business ties, China and Asian countries share a long history of friendly exchanges. Our relations are solidly based. Making friends is about treating each other with every sincerity. As an old aphorism reads, "Cooperation driven solely by profit will soon end once there is no more profit to gain." Our relations with other Asian countries are much more than mutually beneficial cooperation in economic and trade field. Our relationship is a friendship of shared principles and integrity. I have confidence in an even better future for Asia.
12. Morocco News Agency: In the light of the current economic crisis, what are the prospects of China-Africa relations? And another question. How could China be more engaged in solving some African conflicts, mainly Sahara in North Africa and Darfur in East Africa?
Minister Yang: China and African countries enjoy traditional friendship and the cooperation between the two sides has been raised to a new level. In 2006, the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was held in China. On behalf of the Chinese Government, President Hu Jintao announced eight major policy measures supporting the development in African countries. Good progress is being made in the implementation of some of these measures, and other measures have already been completed. We highly appreciate the tremendous support from our African friends and brothers on Taiwan, on Tibet-related issues, in hosting the Beijing Olympic Games and in our fight against natural disasters. Leaders from some African countries told the Chinese leaders that our countries are so poor that we have nothing to give you and all we can give you is a sincere heart. We are deeply touched by these words. We are very close brothers and friends. Not long ago, President Hu Jintao visited some African countries. During the trip, he made it clear that China will continue to support African development and support greater say and representation of African countries and the African continent as a whole in international and regional affairs. I would like to say that in developing foreign relations, China is not a country that sets its eyes only on the wealthy and oil-rich countries while looking down on those countries that are poor or without oil. You may ask African countries without rich oil and gas reserves whether they have a better impression of China or other countries. Our energy and resource cooperation with African countries is based on mutual benefit. Our African brothers and friends have waited for hundreds of years to translate their latent resources into real riches. Should they continue to wait? Some people advise them to continue to wait. Is it moral to do so? Are these people in a position to provide such advice? Our cooperation with Africa is based on mutual benefit. We will continue to pursue such mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation. Besides, China is not the only big emerging country that is developing cooperation with Africa. There are many other big emerging countries having similar cooperation and how would you explain that?
On the Sahara-related issue, I hope that the relevant parties will engage in dialogue and consultation for proper resolution.
On the issue of Darfur, our position has always been to promote dialogue and peace talks. We hope to see continued progress in both peacekeeping operations and the political process in Darfur. We will continue to support the role of the tripartite mechanism involving the African Union, the United Nations and the Sudanese Government as the main channel. We have provided assistance to people in Sudan and people in Darfur. We have provided people in Darfur with aid goods worth 140 million RMB yuan. We have also made donations to the African Union mission in Sudan and the UN Trust Fund. Our companies in Sudan have helped sink wells and provided equipment to local schools in Darfur. In addition, China is among the first to send a multi-functional contingent of military engineers to Darfur. We hope to see an early resolution of the Darfur issue. And we hope that all relevant parties will do things to facilitate this, not the opposite.
13. Xinhua News Agency: Minister, my question is about you personally. We know that successive foreign ministers of the People's Republic of China have all faithfully discharged their duties as foreign minister and also won applause from the international community with their personal charisma. I would like to ask what has struck you most in your interaction with foreign counterparts and if you can share with us your diplomatic vision and China's diplomatic vision, particularly under the current difficult circumstances?
Minister Yang: Well, actually, there have been many unforgettable things since I became the foreign minister more than a year ago. I feel very happy that I have this opportunity to serve my country. I think one important feature of China's diplomacy now is that diplomacy is closely tied with development. Our diplomacy must contribute to China's economic development and social progress.
The central task of our country is to develop the economy. Now China's diplomacy is more than just fostering a favorable external environment for China's economic development at home. On many occasions and under many circumstances, we need to directly serve China's economic development. By "directly", I mean we must pay very close attention to all major cooperation projects and major issues in the business relations between China and other countries and offer our advice and suggestions. Every time I encounter an issue, it will set off a chain effect in my mind. Whenever I encounter an international issue, the first thing that comes to my mind is what impact it will have on China's domestic development. Is it a positive one or a negative one? And how should the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the overseas diplomatic and consular missions react to it? For things that take place at home, we should consider how to handle or make the best of their impact overseas. We should have sharp eyes and keen ears, always keep the big picture in mind and handle things properly.
In the past one year and more, I have had a lot of contacts with my foreign counterparts. I should say that there is a lot that I can learn from them. I find that one thing they share is that besides their focus on diplomatic work, they also have their own hobbies. For instance, a foreign minister told me when I just became the foreign minister that he had relied on his tennis racket all through the years of being a foreign minister to keep him fit and energetic for work. You know that I like playing table tennis. A couple of days ago, I won a few games in a match against a player better than me. So I am in very high spirits today. To be honest with you, I am a person who wants to win. And I don't accept defeat that easily. I think it is of some help to my diplomatic work and at the same time, I know that I always have to have an objective judgment of the situation. Diplomacy in today's world should not be a zero-sum game. It should be one of mutual benefit. China's diplomacy follows the fine tradition of the Chinese nation, that is, to pursue harmony, cooperation and mutual benefit. Our vision is to put people first and conduct diplomacy for the people. Guided by this vision, we should always work hard to defend the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and people of the world. Thank you.
Thank you all for coming to the press conference. Tomorrow is the International Women's Day. My festive greetings to all the female journalists and female audience.