State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets the press

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Ministry of Foreign Affairs, March 8, 2022
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Kyodo News: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. How does China see its relations with Japan in the new era?

Wang Yi: As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations, it provides an important opportunity for the two sides to review history and shape the future together. Five decades ago, the older generation of leaders in both countries, in a bid for peace and friendship between our two countries, demonstrated enormous political courage and made the major decision to normalize China-Japan relations. Over the past five decades, our expanding exchanges and cooperation have delivered important benefits to our two peoples. Last year, our leaders reached important common understanding on building a China-Japan relationship fit for the new era, charting the future course for our bilateral relations.

On the other hand, we are aware of the remaining discord and challenges in the relationship. In particular, there are always some people in Japan who are reluctant to see the rapid development of China and stable China-Japan relations. Here, let me offer three pieces of advice to the Japanese side:

First, cherish the original aspiration and keep the bilateral relations on the right track. It is important to truly abide by the principles and spirit of the four China-Japan political documents, implement such important common understandings as the two countries should "be partners, not threats", and "support each other's peaceful development". These are crucial for the bilateral relations to develop in the direction of peace and friendship.

Second, honor commitments and uphold the political foundation of bilateral relations. Major sensitive issues such as history and Taiwan are foundational to mutual trust between our two countries. If the foundation is shaken, whatever above it cannot stand. We hope that Japan will honor the series of solemn commitments it has made on these issues to avoid serious disruption to our bilateral relations in the future.

Third, embrace the trend of the times and jointly create brighter prospects for bilateral relations. The world is becoming a multi-polar one, where unilateralism and hegemonism will be replaced by greater democracy in international relations. Cold War alliances and geopolitical confrontation have long lost people's support. This is the inevitable trend of history. We hope that Japan will go along this trend instead of against it, decline to pull chestnuts out of the fire for others, and avoid pitting itself against its neighbors. This is the way for Japan to truly see history as a mirror and look ahead to the future, and contribute its share to regional peace, stability and development.

China News Service: Over the past year, the MFA has done a great deal to provide help to Chinese nationals abroad. What measures will the MFA take this year to serve the people?

Wang Yi: The past year has been tough for the many Chinese nationals abroad. The COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, political turbulence and armed conflicts posed constant threats to the safety of Chinese nationals abroad and, for that matter, caused great concern to the people in the motherland. If Chinese nationals abroad cannot come home for the time being, we bring the warmth of home to them. In the course of last year, the MFA and China's diplomatic and consular missions abroad did their level best to carry out a Spring Sprout program around the world to vaccinate millions of Chinese nationals living and working in 180 countries. With the 12308 hotline open 24/7, we handled more than 500,000 calls for help and over 60,000 cases of consular protection and assistance, and rescued several dozen Chinese from their abductors, all part of an all-out effort to protect the life, safety and legitimate rights and interests of our compatriots abroad. On the eve of China's National Day last year, our unremitting efforts finally paid off and Ms. Meng Wanzhou, who had spent over 1,000 days in illegal detention, was safely back to home. Her remark that "if conviction has a color, it must be red — the color of China" struck a deep chord with her 1.4 billion fellow Chinese.

Serving the people and addressing their concerns is a bounden duty of China's diplomatic service. Going forward, we will continue to put people first and act as a ready provider of good service to the people and a defender of the interests of our compatriots overseas. This year, we will focus our efforts on the following three areas:

First, we will develop a platform for smart consular services, and provide more services that can be easily accessed through mobile devices, to improve digital, 24/7 consular services.

Second, we will build a system for the protection of Chinese nationals and interests overseas, enhance alert of safety risks and offer security and self-protection guidance for Chinese businesses, to provide more effective and timely safety and security support to our fellow Chinese abroad.

Third, we will roll out a plan to facilitate safe, unimpeded travel by upgrading "fast lanes" for cross-border travel and health certificates for international travelers, so as to facilitate safe, healthy and convenient international travel.

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