Extracts from Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s answers to questions on China’s foreign policy and external relations on 8 March 2018, at the press conference held during the First Session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress.
Phoenix TV: What is China’s view on the “Indo-Pacific strategy” pursued by the US, Japan, India and Australia? Do you see it as an attempt to “contain” China?
Wang Yi: It seems there is never a shortage of headline-grabbing ideas. They are like the sea foam in the Pacific or Indian Ocean: they may get some attention, but soon will dissipate. Contrary to the claim made by some academics and media outlets that the “Indo-Pacific strategy” aims to contain China, the four countries’ official position is that it targets no one. I hope they mean what they say and their action will match their rhetoric. Nowadays, stoking a new Cold War is out of sync with the times and inciting block confrontation will find no market.
Press Trust of India: Last year has been a very difficult one in India-China relations. How do you see India-China relations shaping up this year?
Wang Yi: Despite some tests and difficulties, the China-India relationship continues to grow. In the process, China has both upheld its legitimate rights and interests and taken care to preserve the relationship. Chinese and Indian leaders have developed a strategic vision for the future of our relations: the Chinese “dragon” and the Indian “elephant” must not fight each other, but dance with each other. In that case, one plus one will equal not only two, but also eleven.
The international situation is experiencing its biggest change in a century. More and more far-sighted people have come to realize that as the largest two developing countries become modernized – each with a population of more than one billion – China and India must do everything to empathize with and support each other and to avoid mutual suspicion and attrition. In this sense, mutual trust is the most precious commodity in China-India relations. With political trust, not even the Himalayas can stop us from strengthening friendly exchanges; without it, not even level land can bring us together. Let me put this to our Indian friends: our shared understandings far outstrip our differences and our common interests far outweigh our frictions. China is willing and ready to inherit and take forward our traditional friendship and be a friend and partner of the Indian people. I hope the two sides will be free from mental inhibitions and meet each other halfway. Let us replace suspicion with trust, manage differences through dialogue, and build a future through cooperation.