Wang Yi Talks About President Xi Jinping's Asian and African Visits: Good Friends Feel Close to Each Other Even When They are Thousands of Miles Away

July 29, 2018

From July 19 to 29, 2018 local time, President Xi Jinping paid state visits at invitation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa, attended the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and made a stopover in Mauritius for a friendly visit. At end of President Xi Jinping's visits, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi introduced the situation of the visits to the accompanying journalists.

Wang Yi noted that shortly after the conclusion of the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, President Xi Jinping initiated his overseas visits this year, and visited the Middle East and Africa, and attended the BRICS Summit. It is a major diplomatic deployment made by the central government in face of new opportunities and new challenges in the international situation. The current world is facing unprecedented changes that have never been seen in the past hundred years. The world has witnessed inevitable rise of emerging markets and developing countries as well as increasingly surging will of solidarity, coordination, and self-improvement through concerted efforts. During his Asian and African visits this time, President Xi Jinping has joined hands with relevant state leaders to jointly discuss the undertaking of friendly cooperation, draw the blueprint for development and revitalization together, and open up the prospects for mutual benefit and win-win results hand in hand. President Xi Jinping's visits, in the face of international vicissitudes, profound adjustment of international forces and landscape as well as the constant rise of unilateralism and trade protectionism, have led the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics to open new realm, break new ground for relations between China and the world as well as South-South cooperation, expand new space for domestic development and strategic operation, and promote new practice of the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

President Xi Jinping travelled more than 36,000 miles in 11 days to pay visits to six cities in five countries and attend nearly 60 bilateral and multilateral activities. He has raised proposals of strategic significance, made concrete steps to advance cooperation, sought common ground while resolving differences to pursue solidarity, and pushed forward exchanges through care and sincerity. Such gestures have increased mutual understanding and promoted closer relations between China and Asian and African countries as well as the BRICS countries and other developing countries, and demonstrated the demeanor of a wise, determined, sincere and warm state leader. The countries visited by President Xi Jinping respectively made special arrangements to grandly welcome him. Arabian and African people warmly welcomed President Xi Jinping with their own national characteristics. The media both at home and abroad paid high attention to President Xi Jinping's visits which are generally believed to be a successful historic step of China to enhance strategic cooperation with developing countries and emerging markets.

Ⅰ. Elevating China-UAE Relations and Writing a New Chapter for Diplomacy Towards the Middle East

The UAE is an important cooperation partner of China in the Gulf region of the Middle East and also a significant fulcrum country of the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. China-UAE relations have enjoyed comprehensive and rapid development with extensive and in-depth cooperation and concrete results. President Xi Jinping's visit inherits the past and ushers the future and promotes the work in all areas by drawing upon the experience gained on key points, which has pushed China-UAE relations to higher levels and produced demonstration effect for cooperation between China and Arab States.

President Xi Jinping's visit has opened bright prospects for development of relations between the two countries. It was the first visit paid by President Xi Jinping to the UAE and also the very first visit by a Chinese head of state in 29 years, which was a great event celebrated by the UAE. The UAE side sent 12 combat aircrafts to escort President Xi Jinping's special plane, and arranged aerobatic flying show and cavalry guard for President Xi Jinping's motorcade. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan conferred the Zayed Medal, the highest state honor medal, on President Xi Jinping, and warmly invited President Xi Jinping to his private residence to convey his respect for and special friendship towards such a valuable and sincere friend. President Xi Jinping held meetings which yielded fruitful results with Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They agreed to deepen strategic mutual trust, elevate mutually beneficial cooperation and expand common interests. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed that it is the top priority of the UAE's foreign diplomacy to deepen traditional, strategic, friendly fraternal relations with China. As the most important outcome of the visit, the Joint Statement issued by the two countries has made political guidance and coordinated planning for the development of bilateral relations in the next stage, and announced to establish China-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership. The new positioning shows the common will of the two countries to stand as partners with a shared future, which will promote China-UAE relations to continue to be at the forefront of relations between China and the Gulf countries in the Middle East.

President Xi Jinping's visit has injected strong impetus into bilateral friendly cooperation. The Belt and Road Initiative highly matches with the UAE's concept of "Revitalizing the Silk Road". China and the UAE jointly signed the memorandum of understanding on the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, and agreed to strengthen the alignment of development strategies and communication on industry policies, in a bid to boost cooperation with higher standards, in more extensive areas and at deeper levels. Khalifa Port Container Terminal 2 and China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone are the flagship projects of the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative between the two countries. Both sides agreed to integrate functions of the port with those of the demonstration zone for the layout of international trade, industrial cluster and boost for regional development, which will propel operation of "two wheels" by combining cooperation in conventional oil and gas and low-carbon energy and enhance cooperation in science and technology and finance as "two wings". Both sides will accelerate the building of the first international exchange of the Belt and Road Initiative in Abu Dhabi, and provide financial services for the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Gulf region of the Middle East. Both sides will well implement programs including the teaching of Chinese in schools, "Embrace China" and establishment of cultural centers in each other's countries, in a bid to promote people-to-people bonds and mutual learning between civilizations. The leaders of the two countries jointly witnessed the signing of nearly 20 cooperation documents covering such fields as economy, trade, finance, energy, agriculture and culture, which demonstrated broad cooperation space between the two countries.

President Xi Jinping's visit has provided the solution that addresses the root cause for regional peace and stability. At present, the Middle East is at the crossroad. President Xi Jinping exchanged in-depth views with the UAE leaders in this regard and expounded Chinese solution centering on the choice of where to go regarding the Middle East. President Xi Jinping grasped the principal contradiction, and dug out the root cause of the issues. He pointed out that hotspot issues should be settled through political means, and the solution that suits real situation of the region and accommodates interests of all parties should be found. Both sides should actively explore the governance path of promoting peace with development for the Middle East, and consolidate the foundation of regional peace and stability. Both sides should enhance international cooperation on de-extremization, and eliminate the breeding grounds of terrorism. The solution put forward by President Xi Jinping demonstrates the vision for common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and follows the common wish of local people for stability and tranquility, which is highly spoken by the region and the outside world. State leaders of the region noted that China holds a fair and objective stance on the issue of the Middle East, takes a balanced and stable approach without seeking for its own interests and makes no irresponsible remarks. They looked forward that China will play a more important role in regional affairs.

Wang Yi said that at the beginning of this month, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the opening ceremony of the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, announcing to establish a future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development between China and Arab States, and stressing that China is willing to join hands with Arab States to promote the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative to build a China-Arab States community with a shared future. President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE this time is a vivid interpretation and successful demonstration of China's policy towards Arab States.

II. Further Consolidating China-Africa Friendship and Implementing the Concept of Policy Towards Africa

China and Africa enjoy a long-term friendship and share weal and woe. President Xi Jinping has always attached great importance to China-Africa relations. After taking office as Chinese President in 2013 and the election as Chinese President this year, President Xi Jinping chose Africa as the destination of his first overseas visit. The four African countries of this visit have their own characteristics, different geographical locations and different economic volumes, but they all eagerly hope to strengthen cooperation with China. President Xi Jinping planned the development of bilateral relations with the leaders of the four countries, and elaborated on China's policy towards Africa on bilateral and multilateral occasions, which built greater consensus on China-Africa friendship and solidarity, and brought together a stronger impetus for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa.

The foundation of China-Africa sincerity and mutual trust has been further consolidated. China and Africa are sincere friends on the development path and natural partners in international affairs. President Xi Jinping emphasized that developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries is China's long-term and firm strategic choice. No matter how the international landscape changes in the future, China will uphold the concept of policy towards Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, continue to support Africa's development and revitalization, and promote the building of a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa. Both China and Africa have a history of suffering from colonization. China is willing to work together with countries and nations with similar experiences to realize the people's yearning for a better life. President Xi Jinping held talks and met with President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth of Mauritius on separate occasions. They agreed to view bilateral relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, deepen political mutual trust, eliminate external interference, understand and support each other on issues concerning respective core interests and major concerns, understand and support each other in exploring the development paths that suit their national conditions, and understand and support each other in international and regional affairs. The leaders of African countries expressed that China is a reliable friend who shares weal and woe with Africa, and such friendship becomes even firmer as time goes by and is absolutely unshakable by external instigation. China-Africa cooperation is win-win cooperation. China has made tremendous contributions to Africa's economic and social development. The "new colonialism" theory is utterly baseless. Africa is fully aware that who is a sincere friend and who has done real good deeds for Africa. Africa stands ready to, together with China, continue to help each other and remain partners for each other on the journey of realizing the African Dream and the Chinese Dream.

The path of China-Africa common development has become broader. The development of China and Africa offers each other opportunities. As President Xi Jinping said that when China develops well, Africa can develop smoothly; when Africa develops smoothly, China can develop better. President Xi Jinping likened the fast-growing Africa to a running lion. As Africa is striving to achieve its industrialization and modernization and China is accelerating its economic restructuring, transformation and upgrading, the two sides enjoy great potential in mutually beneficial cooperation. During this visit, China and the four African countries agreed to strengthen the alignment of development strategies, give play to economic complementary advantages, and expand new space for cooperation. Focusing on enhancing Africa's capacity for independent development and attracting foreign investment, President Xi Jinping stressed that the Chinese side will adhere to "teaching how to fish" to help the African side foster more applicable talents through human resources development cooperation and technical exchanges, and insist on "building nests to attract phoenixes" to help the African side attract more high-quality investment through cooperation in construction of infrastructure, special economic zones and industrial parks. Africa is a natural and historical extension of the Belt and Road Initiative. Following South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda signed the memorandums of understanding on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative with China. China also reached consensus on signing an agreement for the Belt and Road Initiative with Mauritius as soon as possible, providing a new platform for bilateral and China-Africa cooperation. As the first West African country signing the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation document with China, Senegal will exert a driving influence on the region. The visit to Africa witnessed the signing of about 40 cooperation agreements, including many large projects that benefit the people of both sides, which once again approves that China-Africa cooperation is more effective, more practical and more beneficial to the people.

The bond of China-Africa friendly feelings has become closer. President Xi Jinping's visit this time has generated a new wave of China-Africa friendship on the African continent. There were successive grand and warm welcoming scenes full of friendship and the occasions where people were singing and dancing and lined the streets to welcome President Xi Jinping. President Macky Sall conferred the National Order of the Lion Grand Cross of Senegal on President Xi Jinping, and specially arranged the cavalry guard to escort President Xi Jinping's motorcade. President Paul Kagame held a welcoming and farewell ceremony full of Rwandan characteristics, and the local people expressed their friendly feelings towards distinguished Chinese guests with a cheerful drum dance. President Cyril Ramaphosa held a grand banquet to welcome President Xi Jinping's visit to South Africa and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth of Mauritius brought all the cabinet members along to pick President Xi Jinping up late at night. President Xi Jinping has not forgotten old friends, and has made new friends. President Xi Jinping renewed friendship and discussed people's livelihood with people from all walks of life in Africa, which had brought them closer to each other. President Xi Jinping watched a Senegalese wrestling competition with the local people, showing respect for African traditional culture. President Xi Jinping visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial and expressed his grief for the past of African history. President Xi Jinping attended the exhibition of the achievements in China-South Africa cooperation in science and technology and South Africa-China Scientists High Level Dialogue, expressing support for scientific and technological exchanges between China and Africa. The leaders of the two sides agreed to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education, culture, tourism, health, youth and women, making China-Africa friendship get deeper into the hearts of the people.

Wang Yi said that this year is a significant year for the development of China-Africa relations. Following President Xi Jinping's visits to Africa this time, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in September. The Beijing Summit will combine the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative between China and Africa, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union with the development strategies of various African countries, and launch new strategies and new measures to strengthen all-round cooperation between China and Africa, so as to open new opportunities and new horizons for the development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. President Xi Jinping introduced the preparation concept of the Beijing Summit during his visit to Africa, which was actively received by the leaders of African countries, who expressed their willingness to make joint efforts with the Chinese side to make the Summit another historic event for strengthening solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa.

Ⅲ. Leading the BRICS Cooperation and Promoting Global Governance Reform

In recent years, the BRICS countries have maintained good momentum of growth, deepened practical cooperation and established a South-South cooperation platform with global influence, thus becoming an increasingly important force in international affairs. President Xi Jinping chaired the BRICS Xiamen Summit last year, which successfully ushered the second "Golden Decade" of the BRICS cooperation and also provided important impetus for the Johannesburg Summit held on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BRICS Summit.

A blueprint has been drawn for the BRICS cooperation in the future. President Xi Jinping reviewed the BRICS cooperation and looked forward to the future development. He pointed out that the BRICS countries should closely focus on the theme of the era, namely peace and development, and firmly grasp the opportunities brought about by this new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, thereby turning the prospects of the second "Golden Decade" into reality. President Xi Jinping emphasized that the BRICS countries should deepen strategic partnership, continue to strengthen solidarity, and maintain strategic confidence and determination so as to pursue development without distractions and effectively defuse external economic risks. The BRICS countries should enrich the connotation of practical cooperation and adhere to the "three-wheel drive" to release tremendous economic cooperation potential, firmly maintain international peace and security as well as expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation in an in-depth manner. These propositions have continued the consensus reached at the Xiamen Summit and planned the path for future cooperation, thus prompting the BRICS countries to take new steps towards a big market of trade and investment, smooth flow of currency and finance, great connectivity of infrastructure and close communication in people-to-people and cultural engagement. The Johannesburg Summit officially approved the initiative of the BRICS Partnership on the New Industrial Revolution put forward by China and South Africa and initiated related work, which requires deepening cooperation in digitalization, industrialization, innovation, inclusive growth and investment so as to join hands to speed up the transformation from old economic driving forces to new ones as well as economic transformation and upgrading. The establishment of such a partnership will become a flagship project that pushes forward cooperation among the BRICS countries, which will play a key role in nurturing and enhancing the international competitiveness of the BRICS countries.

The loudest voice has been uttered for global governance reform. President Xi Jinping has an insight into the global situation and a good understanding of the characteristics of the times. He pointed out that the next decade will be a crucial one in which new global growth drivers will take the place of old ones, and will see faster changes in the international landscape and the international alignment of forces, and will see a profound reshaping of the global governance system. The BRICS countries should conform to the historical trend, and grasp the development opportunities so as to play a constructive role in building a community with a shared future for mankind. President Xi Jinping called for constructing an open world economy with a clear-cut opposition to unilateralism and protectionism; deepening international innovative exchanges and cooperation to properly lessen the impact of scientific and technological progress on traditional industries; adhering to inclusiveness and win-win approaches to promote international development cooperation; firmly pursuing multilateralism, supporting the multilateral trading system and fully complying with the jointly-made international rules. In response to the unilateralism and trade protectionism which are on the rise recently, President Xi Jinping clearly pointed out that there will be no winners in a trade war, as economic hegemonism will harm the common interests of the international community and will eventually lead to the situation of shooting oneself in his own feet. These proposals are in line with the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, which resonate the common voice of the vast number of developing countries and chart the correct course for economic globalization and world multi-polarization. It is widely believed that President Xi Jinping's speech is impressive, reposeful and encouraging and that China's positive role in promoting international political and economic order is obvious to all. The BRICS Summit Johannesburg Declaration fully absorbs the spirit of President Xi Jinping's speech and voices clearly the aspiration to seek common development, safeguard fairness and justice, uphold multilateralism and improve global governance, thus injecting positive energy into the international situation full of uncertainty.

The expansion of developing partnership network has been advanced. It is the proper meaning of BRICS to carry out dialogue and cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries. During the Xiamen Summit, China pioneered the cooperation concept of BRICS Plus and held the first dialogue between emerging markets and developing countries. The Johannesburg Summit continued this pattern and invited representatives from developing countries including other emerging markets and African countries to participate in the BRICS Plus leaders' dialogue, which has further expanded the BRICS "friend circle". President Xi Jinping closely followed the objectives and tasks of South-South cooperation and cooperation with Africa under the new situation. He advocated maintaining common interests and development space for emerging markets and developing countries by getting started from four aspects, namely, deepening mutually beneficial partnerships, tapping into new development momentum, creating a favorable external environment, and building a new type of international relations. President Xi Jinping also advocated deepening the partnership between the BRICS countries and African countries by getting started from four aspects including political mutual trust, economic mutual benefit, security mutual assistance, and cultural mutual learning. President Xi Jinping proposed that the BRICS Plus cooperation should be made more effective in contents and maintain constant in form, so that other emerging markets and developing countries are able to participate in the BRICS cooperation, which will help foster a chain of interconnected for emerging markets and developing countries and further enhance the influence and appeal of the BRICS cooperation.

During the Johannesburg Summit, President Xi Jinping held a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and exchanged in-depth views on the latest changes in the current international landscape and the ways to deepen the strategic coordination and cooperation between the two sides, which consolidated the results of the meeting in Beijing in June and reflected the high level of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. When President Xi Jinping met with President Michel Temer of Brazil, he spoke positively the development momentum of China-Brazil relations and supported Brazil to host the BRICS Summit next year. The two sides agreed to strengthen dialogue and cooperation and continue to promote the development of China-Latin America relations. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India held the third meeting within three months. The two sides fully affirmed the momentum of improvement and development of China-India relations, and provided guidance on cooperation in various fields for the next stage. And it is expected that the new situation of China-India relations ushered in by the Wuhan meeting will continue to be advanced. President Xi Jinping also successively met with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, President Mauricio Macri of Argentina and President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço of Angola, and reached new consensus on promoting the development of bilateral relations and strengthening practical cooperation.

IV. Expounding China's Road and Showcasing the Character and Commitment of China as a Major Country

Wang Yi said that as socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, China's development has attracted increasing attention from the world. Having a natural affinity towards China, the vast number of developing countries have gained hope, enlightenment and opportunities from China's success, thus paying more attention to looking east. President Xi Jinping had in-depth exchanges with leaders of emerging markets and developing countries to interpret China's development philosophy, introduce China's development experience and share China's development dividend, showing China's great mind of sharing its development achievements and benefiting the whole world.

The visits have exchanged experience in state governance and administration combining with the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The constant development of socialism with Chinese characteristics provides the vast number of developing countries with the inspiration to solve their respective issues and explore development paths. During the visits, President Xi Jinping, combining the process of China's reform and opening up over the past 40 years, gave an incisive interpretation on China's development philosophy and encouraged various countries to follow the development paths that are suitable to their own conditions. According to their needs, President Xi Jinping also shared China's experience and measures in the fields of the building of the ruling party, reform of economic structure, industrial development, rural revitalization, and poverty alleviation in a targeted manner. The foreign side admired China's development achievements and highly acclaimed President Xi Jinping's idea on governance, foresight and sagacity. Many foreign leaders actively shared their feelings about the book, Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, and expressed that they benefited a lot from the book. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan specially asked President Xi Jinping for two of the Arabic version with signature, one is for himself to read and study while the other is to be collected in the presidential library of the UAE.

The visits have practiced the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind and showed China's openness and inclusiveness. Since the important initiative to build a community with a shared future for mankind was proposed by President Xi Jinping, it has gained broad support from all countries, especially from developing countries. President Xi Jinping's visits actively advocated the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and took it as a key to lead China-UAE cooperation, China-Africa cooperation, the BRICS cooperation and South-South cooperation, as well as formed synergy to jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative, realizing the organic combination and mutual promotion of theory and practice. Putting together the development of China and the world, President Xi Jinping stressed that as the world's largest developing country, China will actively carry out South-South cooperation and strive to create greater opportunities for the common development of emerging markets and developing countries. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China is rapidly implementing new measures to expand its opening up, and he invited all parties to attend the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November, showing China's consistent belief in persisting in opening up and sharing development dividend. The announcement of new measures by President Xi Jinping to help African countries improve their society and people's livelihood exactly interpreted the values of friendship, justice and shared interests and the responsibility of a major country, winning wide praise from the international community.

During the visits, President Xi Jinping's wife Mme. Peng Liyuan actively conducted friendly exchange activities, and visited local schools, museums and public welfare projects, playing a unique role in enhancing the traditional friendship and mutual understanding between China and Asian and African countries.

Wang Yi said at last that this year is the start of implementing the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and also the beginning of the period in which the timeframes of the two centenary goals converge. From the beginning of this year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, we have taken into account both China's domestic and international situation, advanced China's external work in a well-planned and coordinated way on various fronts, successfully hosted events such as the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Qingdao Summit, actively promoted relations with other major countries, the neighboring countries and other developing countries as well as multilateral diplomacy, kept forging ahead and played a positive role amid the complex and fluid international landscape.

President Xi Jinping's visits planned a big picture and grasped the key point, which are connected to and coordinated with major diplomatic activities within this year, writing a new chapter in major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. We should, under the guidance of President Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy, take full advantage of bilateral and multilateral platforms as well as diplomatic activities both at home and abroad. In particular, we should well host the two major events, namely, the FOCAC Beijing Summit and China International Import Expo, so as to expand the overall diplomatic layout, improve the global partnership network, deeply engage in global governance, serve China's opening up and domestic development, constantly promote China's diplomacy in the new era to new highs, create a favorable external environment for realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and make new and greater contributions to promoting the cause of peace and development for mankind.

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