China-US Presidential meeting: Setting direction and providing impetus for bilateral relations – Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng’s interview with the Press (final part)

Q6: We know that both Chi­nese and U.S. Presidents care a lot about climate change. Was this issue covered at this virtual meeting?

A: Climate change is a com­mon concern of the international community, and an important area of China-U.S. cooperation. At the meeting, President Xi Jinping recalled China-U.S. cooperation that brought about the Paris Agreement on climate change. A few days ago, the two sides issued their second joint declaration about climate change. As both countries are tran­sitioning to green and low carbon economy, climate change can well become a new highlight of cooper­ation.

Needless to say, cooperation on climate change is inseparable from the broader climate of China-U.S. relations, and thus requires ef­forts from both sides to foster an enabling atmosphere. Since last year, China has announced its goals of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and then its decision of not building new coal-fired power projects abroad. This means that China will use the shortest time in history to realize the world’s biggest cut in carbon emission intensity, a task that will take extraordinary efforts. China is still the biggest developing country in the world.

All countries need to uphold the principle of common but differ­entiated responsibilities, and strike a balance between climate change response and livelihood protec­tion. What the world needs is less finger-pointing or blame game, but more solidarity and cooperation. Promises matter, but actions matter even more. Developed countries need to earnestly fulfil their histor­ical responsibilities and obligations, and maintain consistency in their policies.

Q7: COVID-19 is still ravaging the world and the world economy is struggling to recover. Mankind faces multiple crises. Did the two Presidents talk about possibili­ties of cooperation to address the crises?

A: Emerging from the shadow of the pandemic, achieving recov­ery and stability, and overcoming the various risks and challenges are shared aspirations of the interna­tional community. President Xi Jin­ping has stressed on many occasions China ’s readiness to work with all sides in the spirit of solidarity at trying times.

At the meeting, President Xi pointed out that the pandemic once again proves that humanity lives in a community wih a shared future. There is no higher priority than putting people’s lives first. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons for the international community to defeat COVID—19. Response to epi­demics must be based on science. Politicizing health issues does no good but great harm. The pressing priority in the global COVID response is to address the vaccine deficits and close the vaccination gap.

At the early stage of the pan­demic, China suggested making COVID vaccines a global public good. Recently we have raised a Global Vaccine Cooperation Action Initiative. China is among the first to offer vaccines to developing countries in need, delivering over 1.7 billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to the world. In the course of this year, the vaccines we will provide to the international community may exceed two billion doses. On top of its US$100 million donation to COVAX, China has announced a donation of another 100 million doses of COVID vaccines to developing countries within this year. And we will consider making additional donations in light of the needs of developing coun­tries, the least developed ones in particular.

To get better prepared in the future, China and the United States should advocate the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for global public health and communi­cable disease prevention and con­trol, and step up prevention against communicable diseases such as influenza. The two countries may also conduct exchanges and coop­eration in areas such as the monitoring of COVID pandemic, research on scientific bottlenecks, disease prevention and treatment, and vaccination.

Q8: Did the two Presidents discuss regional and interna­tional hot spot issues at the meeting?

A: The two Presidents ex­changed views on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Afghanistan, among other regional and interna­tional issues of mutual interest.

President Xi pointed out that China and the United States need to uphold the international system with the United Nations at its center, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms governing interna­tional relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. A multilateralism without China-U.S. cooperation or the participation of either would be incomplete and unrealistic.

I wish to stress here that China is willing to enhance cooperation on the relevant issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. China will continue to play a positive role on the relevant issues and make its own efforts. At the same time, we call upon the U.S. side to play a constructive role, actively respond to, take seriously and address reasonable concerns of parties concerned, and shoulder its due responsibilities and obliga­tions.

Q9: You said that the two Presidents also exchanged views on the domestic development agenda. In China, we have just ha d the sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, a big event that has drawn a lot of attention. Did the two Presidents talk about this?

A: At the meeting, President Xi shared with President Biden, in the context of the sixth Plenum, the major accomplishments and historical experience of the CPC in the past 100 years. President Xi said that over the past centenary, the CPC has kept to its founding aspiration and mission, namely to strive for the happiness of the Chinese people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We have ac­complished a lot in that direction, and we will continue to do more.

Our people’s aspiration for a better life is what the Party strives for. Serving the 1.4 billion Chinese people and working with them for a better life is my great honor and a great responsibility, and I shall put aside my own well-being and live up to people’s expectations,” said President Xi. Our people’s aspira­tion for a better life is the biggest internal driver for China’s devel­opment and an inevitable trend of history. Any attempt to stop this historical trend will be rejected by the Chinese people, and will by no means succeed.

President Xi also reiterated China’s unwavering determination to open wider at a high standard, to share development opportuni­ties with the rest of the world, and to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.

China is talking about a new development paradigm for the purpose of expanding domestic market, fostering a combination of domestic and international circulations with greater scope and scale, and building a business environment that is more market-oriented, law-based and up to international standard. All this will provide a bigger market and greater opportunities to the United States and other countries.

Q10: How will this meeting shape the future of China-U.S. relations? Do both sides have any arrangement for the two Presidents to meet in person sometime in future?

A: This meeting, held at a crucial moment, is an occasion for the two Presidents to once again set the di­rection for this relationship and will have significant and far—reaching impact for China-U.S. relations. President Xi and President Biden agreed to keep in touch by multiple means. We are open to all forms of communication between the two Presidents, including an in— per­son meeting. We will let things take their natural course. What matters is to move in the same direction and foster a favorable atmosphere for the meeting to generate good outcomes.

If the China-U.S. relationship cannot go back to what it was in the past, then it must move

toward the future. China has no illusion. But we have confi­dence, and will continue to stay the course. We are open to all options that can take this relationship forward. That said, we also have our principles, in short, the three principles put forward by President Xi Jinping today: mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win—win cooperation.

The China-US relationship stands at a crossroads. We hope that the United States will work with China, follow the spirit of the two Presidents’ meeting with concrete actions, maintain dialogue and communication, strengthen exchanges and cooperation and manage differences in a responsible way, so as to promote sound and stable development of China – U.S. relationship.

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