At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa will pay a state visit to China from December 3 to 6.
Q: Please give us more details about South African President Zuma's itinerary in China.
A: President Zuma will pay a state visit to China from December 3 to 6. This visit will be President Zuma's first state visit to China since his re-election in May this year. During President Zuma's stay in China, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with him, and Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet with him on separate occasions. Leaders of the two countries will have an in-depth exchange of views on deepening China-South Africa relations in an all-round way, expanding practical cooperation in various fields, as well as on international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides will sign a variety of cooperation documents covering politics, trade, energy, public health, agriculture and other fields.
China-South Africa relationship enjoys a sound momentum of growth. President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to South Africa in March last year, during which leaders of the two countries decided to treat each other as the pivot and priority in their foreign strategies. Since then, bilateral cooperation in trade and other fields has made positive progress. It is believed that the visit will give a boost to the friendship between China and South Africa, as well as the all-round and profound growth of bilateral relations.
Q: The French government and the France-based Chinese community held a commemoration on November 26 in Paris, paying tribute to the Chinese labourers who came to Europe during WWI. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France does not forget the historic contribution made by the Chinese labourers. What is China's comment on that?
A: WWI is a catastrophe for all mankind. China, victorious nation as it was, suffered from the war. At that time, nearly 150,000 Chinese labourers left their villages and families and traveled to Europe, making important contribution to the recovery of peace in Europe and around the world. More than 20,000 Chinese people laid down their lives for that. They deserve the tribute from people of China and all over the world. All countries should learn hard lessons from the outbreak of two world wars, take history as the mirror, look forward into the future, treasure and safeguard the hard-won peace.
Q: First, can you provide more details on Indonesia's signing of the memorandum on preparations for the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)? Second, this week Chinese officials met Mexican officials to discuss transport infrastructure cooperation. Can you offer some details, including whether or not the recently canceled high-speed rail deal was discussed?
A: On your first question, on November 25, Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro signed the memorandum on preparations for the establishment of the AIIB on behalf of the Indonesian government in Jakarta, making Indonesia the 22nd prospective founding member of the AIIB.
Finance Minister Bambang said that Indonesia highly appreciates the proposal of the AIIB, and has been actively supporting and engaging in the preparation process. Due to the change of government, Indonesia missed the chance to sign the memorandum with other members. The Indonesian side thanked China for its understanding and patience. The investment target of the AIIB perfectly aligns with the development strategy of Indonesia's new government, that is, to promote infrastructure construction on the sea and in other areas and to enhance connectivity, which will further propel the infrastructure construction and economic development of Asia. Indonesia is willing to work with other founding members so as to launch the AIIB into operation at an early date. The Chinese side stands ready to work with all the prospective founding members, including Indonesia, to build the AIIB into an infrastructure financing platform that is equal, inclusive and efficient, as well as a multilateral development bank that accommodates the development needs of all countries in the region.
On your second question, we never cease encouraging competent and well-acclaimed Chinese companies to go global actively, and have mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the field of infrastructure, including the high-speed railway, while observing the market principles. As for the specific cooperative project you mentioned, I would like to refer you to competent authorities.
Q: Reports say that China and Russia are aimed at forging a "NATO of the east" by carrying out long-term security cooperation. What is China's comment on that?
A: The China-Russia relationship is based on equality, trust, mutual support, common prosperity and generations of friendship, following the principle of non-alliance, non-confrontation and not targeting any third party. This is where the vigor and vitality of the constant growth of China-Russia relationship comes from. China and Russia, as the largest pair of neighbors, permanent members of the UN Security Council and partners for comprehensive strategic coordination, have carried out sound cooperation with the international community in all fields including security. It not only benefits the two countries and two peoples, but also contributes to peace, stability and development of the region and beyond.
The Chinese side always opposes the establishment and expansion of military blocs, objects to the forming of spheres of influence and rival camps. We advocate common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and stand ready to work in concert with all parties to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
Q: Bahrain has successfully held elections of the parliament and municipal councils. What is China's comment on that?
A: The Chinese side welcomes Bahrain's successful elections of the parliament and municipal councils and regards it as an important step forward in the political progress of Bahrain. We hope that all parties in Bahrain will make joint efforts to realize lasting stability and development of the country.
Q: Some media reports carried that western countries are passive about cooperating with China in combating corruption and recovering the illegal proceeds of fugitives. What is your comment on that?
A: A press conference was held yesterday at the Foreign Ministry, where Director General Xu Hong of the Department of Treaty and Law briefed the journalists on efforts and progess made by China in the international campaign against corruption and for the retrieval of fugitives and their illegal proceeds.
The crime of corruption is a cancer eroding the human society, and an enemy of the international community. All countries have voiced their determination to enhance international cooperation against corruption. China maintains close communication and cooperation with the US, Canada, Australia and other countries in this field which has yielded fruitful results. Relevant cooperation is gaining momentum, although there is still room for improvement. We believe that more practical results can be achieved with the concerted efforts of all parties.