On May 3, 2011, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, after attending the second strategic dialogue between China and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and visiting Egypt, accepted the interview of Xinhua News Agency and CCTV in Cairo on the cooperation between China and the GCC, relations between China and Arab states and situation in West Asia and North Africa.
Yang said that China and the GCC held the second strategic dialogue in a friendly atmosphere and exchanged in-depth views on how to further deepen the bilateral friendly and cooperative relations in various fields in the new era and the regional and international issues of common concern, especially the situation in the Middle East and Gulf region. The two sides believe that the strategic dialogue mechanism has played an active role in planning and promoting the bilateral ties and to strengthen the collective cooperation between China and the GCC serves the fundamental interest of both sides and is beneficial to peace, stability and development in the Middle East and Gulf region and the world at large.
China's relations with the GCC have grown rapidly and comprehensively in recent years, said Yang. The bilateral political mutual trust is increasing and the collective cooperation mechanism is getting more mature. The GCC states have become China's important political, economic, trade and energy partners. The two sides enjoy a solid foundation of friendly cooperation. Both China and GCC states are developing countries. Against the background of the difficult recovery of world economy, profound changes in the international situation, especially the turbulence in West Asia and North Africa, it is especially important to step up communications and coordination between the two sides in regional and international affairs. China and GCC states both have the strong aspiration of further deepening the bilateral relations and the bilateral friendly cooperation is blessed with new development opportunities and promising prospects.
Talking about China-Arab states relations, Yang said that the two sides are good friends, good partners and good brothers. The friendly and cooperative relations between China and Arab states built on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence have grown stronger and developed continuously over more than half a century. With the concerted efforts of both sides, the traditional friendship between China and Arab states has gained new vitality and long-term progress in recent years. The two sides understand and support each other on issues related with their core and major interests, which has strengthened their political mutual trust. In particular, the establishment of strategic partnership between China and Arab states last year marks a brand new development stage of bilateral ties. Economic and trade cooperation between China and Arab states is growing fast. China and Arab states have become the second and the seventh largest trade partner of each other. The bilateral trade volume reached US$145.46 billion in 2010. The two sides also maintain effective exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture, education and health.
He noted that both China and Arab states are developing countries and face the tasks of developing the economy, improving the people's livelihood and coping with global challenges. The regional and international situations at present are undergoing profound and complicated changes. To enrich the connotation of friendly and cooperative relations between China and Arab states complies with the common interest of both sides and will help maintain and promote regional and world peace, stability and development. Both sides are full of confidence in the promising future of the bilateral friendly and cooperative relations.
When visiting Egypt, Yang held talks with Secretary General of the League of Arab States Amr Moussa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby and Chairman of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Hussein Tantawi respectively.
Referring to China-Egypt relations, Yang said that Egypt is a country with important influence in West Asia and North Africa, the first Arab and African country establishing diplomatic ties with New China and one of the earliest developing countries building strategic partnership with China. The Chinese and Egyptian people enjoy profound friendship. The two sides maintain deep political mutual trust, meaningful strategic cooperation and close personnel exchanges at all levels in recent years. The bilateral economic and trade cooperation grows rapidly. Last year, the bilateral trade volume approached US$7 billion, hitting a historical high. A number of large investment cooperation projects, like the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone move forward steadily and the bilateral cooperation remain fruitful in the fields of culture, education, health, science & technology, agriculture and tourism. The two countries have wide consensus and sound collaboration on major regional and international issues and are committed to maintaining the interest of developing countries. Egypt always plays an active role in pushing forward the relations of Arab states and African countries with China.
He mentioned that Egypt's domestic situation has undergone great changes since the beginning of this year. Based on our independent foreign policy of peace and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, we respect the will and choice of the Egyptian people, support Egypt's efforts of maintaining domestic stability, promoting economic growth and achieving a smooth transition of power and have provided Egypt with necessary help. The foundation of China-Egypt relations remains solid. The will of China and Egypt of preserving the sound development momentum of bilateral relations and strengthening strategic cooperation remains unchanged and even grows stronger. China-Egypt relations enjoy a vast potential of development. This year marks the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Egypt. We are willing to work with Egypt to step up the bilateral traditional friendship, deepen political mutual trust, broaden pragmatic cooperation and enhance communications and coordination in both regional and international affairs.
With regard to the Libyan crisis, Yang said that China is deeply concerned about the current situation in Libya. We have always opposed the use of force in international relations. We believe that the sovereignty, independence, unification and territorial integrity of Libya and the choice of the Libyan people should be respected and the current Libyan crisis be solved through peaceful means by following the purpose and principles of the United Nations Charter and norms of relevant international laws. The top priority at present is that parties concerned cease fire as soon as possible in order to avoid any bigger humanitarian disaster caused by deteriorating situation.
There has been a louder call for political solution to the Libyan crisis, upon which the international community has gradually come to consensus, indicated Yang. We have noticed that some countries and regional organizations such as the African Union proposed road maps or plans of solving the Libyan crisis through political ways and started diplomatic mediation already. China supports all the efforts of settling the Libyan crisis through political means and hopes all the relevant parties cease fire as soon as possible and solve the crisis through peaceful ways including dialogue and negotiations. China expects to join hands with the international community to push for political solution to the crisis. The UN Security Council shoulders the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. Related parties should abide by the resolutions of the Security Council strictly. China opposes any move beyond the authorization of the Security Council.
He pointed out that China pays close attention to the current situation in West Asia and North Africa. China holds three basis positions on the turbulent situation in the region: first, adhering to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, respecting and supporting the efforts of countries in the region to handle their internal affairs independently and trusting countries and people in the region are able to find the development path and mode of governance suitable for their own national conditions; second, opposing the use of force and calling on all parties concerned to solve their problems through political and peaceful means; third, appealing the international community to support the efforts of countries in the region to rebuild political stability, develop economy and solve the hot-spot issues and actively push forward the peace process in the Middle East in particular so as to create enabling external conditions for the region to resume peace and stability and seek sustainable development.
He said that China always maintains friendly relations with countries in West Asia and North Africa. China will, as always, develop the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with them and is willing to provide assistance within its capacity for their development. China believes that it is imperative for the international community to play an active and constructive role and work with countries in the region to ease the current tense situation through political means and achieve stability in the region at an earlier date. As a permanent member of the Security Council and a responsible big power, China expects to play a constructive part in advancing peace, stability and development in the region.