Long distance does not weaken close friendship
President of the People’s Republic of China
July 15, 2014
Translated by Charles McKelvey
Xi Jinping was born on June 15, 1953 in Beijing, China. He became a member of the Communist Youth League in 1971 and a member of the Communist Party of China in 1974. From 1975 to 1979, he studied at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, receiving a degree in Chemical Engineering. From 1979 to 1982, he worked as secretary to the Secretary-General of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China. From 1982 to 2007, he held various positions in the party and the government in the provinces of Hebei, Fujian and Zhejiang, including governor of Fujian from 1992 to 2002 and acting governor of Zhejiang in 2002 and 2003. He was elected Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China in 2008, serving until 2013, during which time he was groomed to succeed Hu Jintao. During his service as Vice-President, he made a number of international trips, including visits to the United States, Russia, and several Latin American and Caribbean countries. He was elected General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on November 15, 2012, and he was elected President of the People’s Republic of China on March 14, 2013 by the Twelfth National People’s Congress, becoming the fifth president under the 1982 Constitution and the sixth Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China since the triumph of the Chinese Revolution in 1949.
In July 2014, Xi Jinping traveled to Latin America in order to participate in the VI Summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in the Brazilian City of Fortaleza and in a meeting with heads of state of the countries of Latin American and the Caribbean for the purpose of formally establishing the China-CELAC Forum (CELAC refers to Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; see “The Declaration of Havana 2014” 3/14/2014). The Chinese president also made official visits to Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. On the occasion of his trip to Latin America, Xi responded to questions from journalists representing Valor Económico (Brazil), La Nación (Argentina), the Venezuelan News Agency, and the Latin American international news agency Prensa Latina (Cuba). The questions of the journalists and Xi’s responses were published in Granma, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba, which serves as the daily newspaper in Cuba, on July 15, 2014, under the title “Long distance does not weaken close friendship.” His responses are below, translated from Spanish into English.
For commentaries related to the China-CELAC Forum and China’s support for South-South cooperation, see “The fall & rise of South-South cooperation” 7/24/2014; “China-CELAC cooperation” 7/25/2014; “China treats Latin America with respect” 7/28/2014; “BRICS advances to South-South cooperation” 7/29/2014; and “The BRICS Bank of Development” 7/30/2014.
Note: The comments of the Chinese President are listed under subtopics that were established by the questions of the journalists.
“Mutual political trust among the member countries of the bloc is increasing constantly.”
During the last five years, under the direction of the Summit of Leaders, a plan of cooperation covering many areas has been established. Mutual political trust among the member countries of the bloc is increasing constantly, such that fundamental cooperation with respect to the economy, finance, commerce and development are continually deepening, and communication and coordination with respect to important international issues are continually increasing.
The facts show that economic development, social stability, agreement and cooperation as well as the joint economic growth of the nations of BRICS, which represent 42.6% of the world population, are in agreement with the tendencies of our time toward peace, development, and cooperation, bringing as benefits a more balanced world economy, a more efficient global system of government, and more democratic international relations.
The Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho said, “The world is in the hands of those who have the courage to live their dreams, each with his or her talents.” At the present time, the international situation continues to experience profound and complex changes, while the process of the strengthening of the world economic recovery is not exempt from risks and challenges.
In this context, the Summit of Fortaleza has the historic mission of taking stock of the progress of our cooperation and to plan its future development, through which this Summit will play an important role in connecting the past and the future of the process of cooperation of BRICS. I hope that this Summit can serve to deepen cooperation, to demonstrate a desire to include all, and to inspire confidence.
In order to deepen cooperation, we must plan the future development of BRICS with respect to strategy. Last year, I proposed in the Fifth Summit of BRICS in Durban that the countries of BRICS ought to move toward the objectives of constructing a great integrated commercial-economic and investment market, attaining full financial and monetary circulation at multiple levels, and establishing an extensive network of air, sea and land connections, in order to promote a great wave in human and cultural interchange.
These proposals reflect my sincere hopes for the forging of a closer economic relation among the countries of BRICS. I expect that the starting of a new round of Summits will give us the opportunity to devise new plans of collaboration and to explore new engines of cooperation, with the intention of promoting an improvement in the mechanisms of cooperation, an increased maturity of political coordination, and a subsequent deepening of fundamental cooperation, in such a form that the cooperation among the countries of BRICS will have a more solid foundation.
In order to demonstrate the desire to include all, we have to learn from one another and to adopt unaccustomed approaches in order to overcome our own weaknesses within the bloc and to expand the opening of shared profit outside the bloc. Given differences in national conditions and cultures, the views of the countries of BRICS are not completely in agreement with respect to some questions. Nevertheless, diversity and heterogeneity, instead of becoming an obstacle to cooperation, could constitute an important source of cooperation among the members of BRICS, based on complementary advantages and on a desire to include all.
The cooperation among the countries of BRICS is not limited to obtaining good for themselves but is committed to sharing development with all of the countries of the world. During the Summit of Fortaleza, the Dialogue among the leaders of BRICS and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) will be held, an appropriate opportunity for carrying out an in-depth exchange of views concerning international and regional themes of common interest, increasing knowledge, promoting cooperation, and exploring themes related to fundamental economic, commercial, and cultural cooperation.
To inspire confidence refers to the strengthening of convictions with respect to unity and mutual trust among the counties of BRICS and the perspectives on development of BRICS, and it refers to the confidence of the market and the public concerning the economic role of BRICS. In order to arrive at understanding, it is necessary to have a long-term vision. The countries of
BRICS share the need to undertake structural economic reforms in order to base their development on innovation, and they are united by the common aspiration to safeguard justice and equality at the international level in defense of the common interests of the emerging market countries and those that are in development.
To the extent that the countries of BRICS increase their mutual political trust and unite to develop strategic consensuses and propose alternatives with one voice, economic development, improvement of global economic governance, and the promotion of peace and development on our planet will have greater positive energy.
Being an active participant in the cooperation among the countries of BRICS, Brazil has done a great deal of work in the preparations for the Summit of Fortaleza. I do not have any doubt that, with Brazilian hospitality, the Summit of Fortaleza will add another magnificent chapter to the path of cooperation of BRICS.
China and Brazil
“China and Brazil . . . are equally committed to a more just and rational international economic and political order, in defense of the common interests of countries in development.”
The Chinese government and I personally give high importance to the China-Brazil Global Strategic Association. I am happy to confirm that, with the joint effort of both sides, our mutual political confidence concerning strategies has attained an unprecedented height, while our fundamental cooperation has acquired a depth and amplitude without precedent.
This past year, I met with President Dilma Rousseff in two bilateral meetings in conjunction with multilateral forums, and we had a telephone conversation. Thanks to the profound exchange of views on the bilateral agenda and themes of common interest, we arrived at important agreements concerning the strengthening of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Brazil in diverse areas.
The past year, bilateral commercial exchange surpassed ninety billion US dollars, so that China is the first commercial partner of Brazil, which is our ninth commercial partner in the world. In addition, cooperation of mutual benefit between China and Brazil has produced fruitful results in the areas of energy, natural resources, manufacturing, financing, and agriculture. On bringing increasingly greater tangible benefits to the two peoples, practical cooperation between China and Brazil is increasingly tied to their respective agendas of development.
Being important countries in development and emerging-market countries, China and Brazil have developed an effective strategic collaboration with respect to important global themes, and they are equally committed to a more just and rational international economic and political order, in defense of the common interests of countries in development.
The present year coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brazil. Confucius said, “At forty years of age, one already has cleared all the doubts of life.” I hope during my state visit to Brazil to review with Brazilian leaders the experiences in the development of bilateral relations and to adopt effective measures that will permit us to strengthen still more our interchange and cooperation in all aspects and to elevate the level of Chinese-Brazilian relations.
China is disposed to work together with Brazil in order to continue recognizing each other as companions with opportunities for development, to promote continuous and stable bilateral commerce according to the principles of win-win and mutual benefit, and to undertake actively cooperation with respect to industrial investments in accordance with our respective plans of development, with the view of exploring without rest new areas of cooperation and serving better the economic development of both countries.
China and Argentina
“China and Argentina have maintained a close . . . collaboration in important international and regional affairs, defending together the common interests of countries in development.”
During the course of the four decades that have transpired since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Argentina, as a result of joint efforts, bilateral ties have experienced a sustained and accelerated development. I cite a phrase from the epic poem by the Argentinian Martín Fierro: “Brothers are united, because that is the first law.” Today, China and Argentina have become close friends of mutual trust and good partners in equality and mutual benefit.
This past year, I met with President Christina Fernández, in a bilateral meeting that we held conjunction with the G-20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, and we had a profound exchange of views concerning how to strengthen the interchange and cooperation that both countries are developing in many areas. From this meeting, I still have fresh memories. China appreciates the Argentinian adherence to the principle of a single China, and China supports the sovereign claims of Argentina over the Islas Malvinas (also known as the Falkland Islands).
In 2013, our commercial exchange reached 14.8 billion dollars, 2400 times the figure registered at the beginning of our diplomatic relations. China has become the second commercial partner of Argentina in the world, and China is a principal source of investments received by Argentina, which is the fifth commercial partner for China in Latin America. Our cooperation has produced fruitful results in the areas of natural resources and energy, agriculture, infrastructure, and financing, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples.
In addition, the cultural and human interchange is acquiring greater diversity and is constantly deepening the mutual understanding and friendship between the two. China and Argentina have maintained a close and excellent strategic collaboration in important international and regional affairs, defending together the common interests of countries in development. China and I personally give high importance to the China-Argentina Strategic Association.
I expect to have a profound interchange of points of view with President Cristina concerning the development of a bilateral agenda and other themes of common interest, and we will outline together a master plan for bilateral relations, with the intention of strengthening interchange and cooperation in various areas, promoting a stable and balanced growth of bilateral commerce, and elevating the level of mutually beneficial cooperation with respect to investment in production and infrastructure, with the objective of bringing the China-Argentina Strategic Initiative to a new height.
China and Venezuela
The “outstanding contributions [of Hugo Chávez] always will be remembered by the Chinese people.”
As a great friend of the Chinese people, President Chávez attributed in his life a high importance to the development of relations with China, attending and pushing personally a fundamental cooperation between both countries. It is appropriate to point out the arduous work that he carried out in the establishment and development of the China-Venezuela Strategic Association for Shared Development. His outstanding contributions always will be remembered by the Chinese people.
The current year marks the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Venezuela. In these forty years, especially after 2001, when the China-Venezuela Strategic Association for Shared Development was created, bilateral ties have experienced a sustainable and accelerated development, expressed in frequent interchanges at a high level, the constant deepening of mutual political trust, and the fruitful results of fundamental cooperation in the areas of finance, energy, infrastructure construction, agriculture, and high technology.
From 1.4 million dollars at the initiation of our formal relations, by last year bilateral commerce had jumped to 19.2 billion dollars, making China the second commercial partner for Venezuela, and Venezuela the fourth commercial partner for China. Venezuela is an important partner in energy cooperation and in contracting projects of infrastructure construction that China has in Latin America. Cultural interchange increasingly is strengthened, placing solid foundations for friendship between both nations.
The state visit of President Maduro in September 2013 gave a strong push to Chinese-Venezuelan relations that attained new advances. Recently, both parties celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with a series of activities, which increased mutual knowledge and friendship between the two peoples.
Presently Sino-Venezuelan relations are in an important phase for giving continuity to what has been developed and opening new horizons. China gives high importance to the development of relations with Venezuela and is disposed to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations to work with Venezuela, with a view to elevating still more the level of bilateral relations and strengthening the mutually beneficial cooperation in diverse areas, seeking a greater advance of binational relations under the new circumstances.
I expect during my visit to Venezuela to discuss in depth with President Maduro the agenda of omnidirectional cooperation between both countries and to plan together a bright future for bilateral relations, with the intention of elevating bilateral relations to a new height for the greater benefit of our two countries and peoples.
China and Cuba
“Cuba and China are close intimate friends . . . united by identical ideals and convictions.”
During my visit to Cuba in June 2011, I had sincere and profound exchanges with President Raúl. The hospitality of the Cuban people left me with beautiful memories.
In 1960, Cuba became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with the new China, which opened a new chapter in the development of Sino-Cuban relations and in the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. Thanks to their development for more than half a century, the friendly relations between China and Cuba increasingly acquire greater maturity, with the constant enrichment of the meaning of Chinese-Cuban cooperation.
The two countries advance hand in hand in the road of the construction of socialism with characteristics that are appropriate [to particular conditions], lending reciprocal support in themes important to their respective vital interests, and maintaining a close collaboration with respect to important international and regional questions. Sino-Cuban relations have passed the test of international vicissitudes and have become an example of unity and cooperation between countries in development.
The Cuban national hero José Martí said: “To come together: this is the word of the world.” Cuba and China are close intimate friends, good companions, and close brothers, that are united by identical ideals and convictions. Presently, finding themselves equally in a key stage of development, both nations ought to seize the opportunity to seek development together.
The two ought to strengthen contacts at a high level, sharing experiences of government; accelerating steps of cooperation in the prioritized sectors like agriculture, infrastructure constructions, energy, mining, tourism, renewable energy and biotechnology; strengthening cultural and local exchanges; as well as tightening the coordination on the multilateral plane.
I am convinced that, with the joint effort of both parties, we will know how to translate the high level of our political relations into fruitful results of fundamental cooperation, bringing constantly our friendly cooperation of mutual benefit to new heights.
I expect to meet in Cuba with President Raúl in order to take stock of experiences in the development of bilateral ties and to plan together their future development.
China and Latin America and the Caribbean
“Fundamental economic-commercial cooperation constitutes an important pillar of the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean.”
“Long distance does not weaken close friendship” is an ancient Chinese verse that portrays perfectly the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. Being equally countries in development, China and the Latin American and Caribbean States find themselves in a similar phase of development and share the same tasks of development. We always have supported one another in following the road of development in accordance with our respective national realities, equally committed to an international order that is evolving in a more just and reasonable direction. This constitutes the fundamental reason that we are able to advance together in the search for common terrains, leaving disagreements aside.
Since the beginning of the new century, China and the region, adhering to shared development as a paramount theme, have been pushing the deepening of mutual political confidence, the expansion of economic-commercial cooperation, cultural learning, as well as close coordination with respect to international affairs, in such a form that the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean register significant advances, becoming an exemplary case of South-South cooperation.
Fundamental economic-commercial cooperation constitutes an important pillar of the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. In recent years, the commercial volume between both has experienced a constant ascent, arriving in 2013 to record figure of 261.6 billion dollars. China already is the second commercial partner and the third source of investments for the region.
The mutually beneficial cooperation has produced fruitful results in the areas of natural resources and energy, infrastructure construction, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and high technology, contributing strongly to the development of our respective economies and the improvement of the well-being of the peoples.
At present, China and Latin America and the Caribbean have ahead of them important opportunities, better conditions and a basis even more solid for obtaining a greater advance in their ties. In its relations with this region, China always emphasizes strategy with a long-term vision, and it is disposed to work with the countries of the region to propel the development of the China-Latin America and Caribbean Integral Association, characterized by equality, reciprocal benefit, and shared development to a still higher level, for the greater benefit of the peoples of both and those of the entire planet.
Establishing the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum and carrying ahead integral cooperation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean is in accordance with the current of regional and trans-regional cooperation, constituting an aspiration shared by China and the Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The Special Declaration on the Establishment of the China-CELAC Forum, approved by the II CELAC Summit held last January in Havana, establishes an important base for propelling integral cooperation between China and the region and for elevating the level of their relations. China very much recognizes the important role played by Cuba in this entire process.
Presently, the conditions for establishing the China-CELAC Forum have matured. China is disposed to work with Latin America and the Caribbean on the basis of the principles of mutual respect, equality and reciprocal benefit and making good use of the platform of integral cooperation that the China-CELAC Forum constitutes, in order to carry out dialogue and cooperation in wide terrains and to attain the complementation of their respective advantages, as well as shared development, in active contribution to the conservation of common interests of both, the promotion of South-South cooperation, and the preservation of regional as well as international peace, stability and development.
The democratization of international relations
“We are of the opinion that the destiny of the world ought to be in the hands of all the peoples.”
At the present time, profound and complex changes are being brought about in the international situation, characterized by the development in depth of a multipolar world, the daily emergence of distinct poles of development in distinct regions, and the increase of the power of the emerging market countries and countries in development, in a manner that the correlation of forces at the global level is marching in a direction favorable to the protection of world peace.
“According to the most noble political ideals, the public always prevails over the private.” Equity and justice are noble objectives pursued by all the peoples in the field of international relations. China is a firm defender of international equity and justice, championing them by promoting world multi-polarity and the democratization of international relations.
We are of the opinion that the destiny of the world ought to be in the hands of all the peoples, while questions of global character ought to be managed among all the governments and peoples of the world via consultations. All the countries of the world, be they large or small, powerful or weak, rich or poor, are members on equal footing of the international community that ought to join efforts for promoting the democratization of international relations.
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Socialism and development in China and world peace
“We are immersed in the integral deepening of the reform, with the goal of improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
“The proposals of Chinese diplomacy are rooted in the protection of world peace and the promotion of shared development. . . . The Chinese people are peace-loving, and we do not carry in our blood the gene of invaders and imperialists, inasmuch as China rejects antiquated logic that equates being great with being hegemonic. Persisting in the road of peaceful development, China actively strives for a peaceful international environment.”
Notwithstanding its great gains in development, China continues being a large country in development, with one billion, 300 million inhabitants, finding itself presently and will remain for a long time in the preliminary phase of socialism. The Chinese people are committed to bringing modernization to fruition, a great cause without precedent in the history of humanity that requires very arduous efforts.
“The beautiful jade is obtained with hard work, and success is attained confronting the difficulties and misfortunes.” During the last three decades and more, 600 million Chinese have escaped from poverty, comprising seventy percent of the total of the inhabitants of the planet that overcame this evil. The weight of the Chinese economy with respect to the global total climbed from one percent to twelve percent, while China contributed with nearly thirty percent of the global economic growth. The most important explanation of a gain of such magnitude is that we based ourselves in our own national conditions in order to propel with perseverance the opening and reform and to open the road of socialism with particular Chinese characteristics.
Since antiquity, the Chinese always have maintained the tradition of innovation.
“A dynasty as ancient as the Zhou never stopped innovating in order to maintain its dynamism.” “Like Heaven that guards its vigor through movement, a gentleman ought to self-improve constantly.” The facts have demonstrated that without the reform and the opening, the China of today would not exist, nor would talk of a future even more promising. During the last more than thirty years, we responded with the reform to a series of significant problems. From now on, our response continues being the reform in order to clear the way in our road of advance, overcoming all difficulties and challenges.
We have set the doubling of the 2010 per capita GNP and income as our objective for 2020, culminating in the integral construction of a society modestly well-off; and by the middle of the century, to conclude the transformation of our country into a modern, prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious socialist country, making a reality of the Chinese dream of the great revitalization of the Chinese nation.
We are immersed in the integral deepening of the reform, with the goal of improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics as well as propelling modernization and the capacity of the government of the country.
We will promote in a coordinated form reforms of the economic, political, cultural, and social systems and of the ecological civilization and the building of the Communist Party of China. We will carry ahead the agenda of reform with the same political courage and wisdom of those who “climb the mountain knowing full well that ferocious tigers are found there,” and with the same spirit and determination of those who make scratches in iron or leave footprints in rocks, in order to give a potent motive force to the modernization of China, with the intention of generating greater and better benefits to our own Chinese people and also to bring new opportunities of development to the world.
The fundamental national conditions of China, and the position of China as the largest and most populated country in the planet, with development as its prime task, remain unaltered. The proposals of Chinese diplomacy are rooted in the protection of world peace and the promotion of shared development, creating an external environment favorable to deepening the reform and bringing to fruition our objectives for 2020.
The Chinese people are peace-loving, and we do not carry in our blood the gene of invaders and imperialists, inasmuch as China rejects antiquated logic that equates being great with being hegemonic. Persisting in the road of peaceful development, China actively strives for a peaceful international environment for the benefit of its own development, which serves at the same time to promote world peace, as we dedicate ourselves to taking better advantage of the resources of the world, and to share ours with the world, with a view to forming a benevolent interaction between our country and the other nations of the planet in pursuit of mutual benefit and shared profit.
As China develops, it will play a greater role as a large country with a sense of responsibility. We will dedicate ourselves to defend world peace in a more active and creative manner and to advocate the concept of common, integral, cooperative and sustainable security, at the same time committed to the peaceful solution of disputes through consultations and negotiations. We will defend with firmness the post-war international order based in the United Nations, inasmuch as we will participate actively in the peace maintenance operations of the UN and in dialogue and cooperation on regional security.
We will participate in a more active and creative manner in international affairs, striving to improve the system of international government and to increase the representativeness and the right of the countries in development to a voice with respect to themes of the global agenda. We are going to formulate more Chinese solutions, to contribute greater Chinese intelligence, and to offer greater public good to the international community.
We will promote common development in a more active and creative form, with commitment to a true concept of justice and interests, characterized by the combination of these two elements and the primacy of justice over interests, with the view of promoting North-South dialogue and South-South cooperation and especially supporting the countries in development to attain an autonomous and sustainable development.