|Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press|
On 8 March 2014, the Second Session of the Twelfth National People's Congress held a press conference at its Press Center and invited Wang Yi, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs, to answer questions from Chinese and foreign journalists about China's foreign policy and external relations.
Wang Yi: Good morning, everyone. It is a great pleasure to meet with journalists from the press. At the outset, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I would like to thank you for your interest in and understanding of China's diplomacy. I would also like to thank you for your efforts in reporting on China.
Today is the International Women's Day. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my best festive greetings to all the ladies in this room, including those behind the cameras.
Early this morning, we received a piece of very disturbing news. A Malaysian civil aviation flight bound for China lost contact with ground control. This has gotten us all very worried. We hope every one of the passengers is safe. The Foreign Ministry and relevant diplomatic and consular missions of China have activated the emergency mechanism. We are doing all we can to get more details. Once we have some information, we will get it out for you immediately. Now, I am ready to take your questions.
People's Daily: The year 2013 was the first year of diplomacy under the new Chinese government. As China's foreign minister, what has struck you the most about China's diplomacy in the past year? Could you also talk about how China will pursue its diplomacy in 2014?
Wang Yi: "Active" is the most salient feature of China's diplomacy in the past year.
The CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping responded to the aspirations of the people and the expectation of the international community, and carried out a series of visible and effective diplomatic activities.
Let me share some figures with you. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visited as many as 22 countries, received 65 foreign heads of state and government, met and talked with over 300 hundred foreign dignitaries and reached around 800 cooperation agreements with other countries.
There are also some facts I'd like to share with you. In the past year, China vigorously defended its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, advanced relations with major countries, unveiled a series of major cooperation initiatives such as the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road". We played a constructive role in the political settlement of hotspot issues such as Syria and Iran. For the first time we deployed formed units of our security force to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, and for the first time we sent a naval vessel under operational conditions to escort shipments of Syrian chemical weapons.
China's diplomacy in 2013 was broader in horizon and more active in conduct. It was not just a successful year under the new leadership, but also a year of innovation and harvest for China's diplomacy.
In 2014 China will continue to pursue an active foreign policy. We will focus our efforts on two main areas.
First, we will be more active in serving the efforts of comprehensively deepening reform in China. We will strengthen friendly relations with all countries in the world, especially our neighbors, and we will create a more enabling external environment for domestic reform and development. We will vigorously pursue economic diplomacy, deepen win-win cooperation with other countries and create more favorable conditions for the transformation and upgrading of China's economy. And we will do all we can to implement the initiative to better protect and serve overseas Chinese, and provide stronger protection for China's ever-growing legitimate rights and interests.
Second, we will be more active in playing the role of a responsible, big country. In our international engagement, we will uphold principles, promote justice and practice equality. In particular, we will advance and protect the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and make the international order more just and reasonable. We will take an active part in international and regional affairs, put forward more Chinese proposals and play a bigger role in helping to resolve all kinds of global challenges and regional hotspot issues.
Hong Kong Phoenix TV: Over the past year, China has unveiled some new ideas and measures in its diplomacy. It's clear that there is a shift in China's diplomatic style. What is your perspective on this as China's foreign minister?
Wang Yi: In recent years, the international community is generally interested in how a growing China will handle its relations with the outside world. The CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping is committed to innovation in both diplomatic theory and practice. On the basis of maintaining policy continuity and stability, the new Chinese leadership has unveiled a series of major diplomatic ideas and steps.
For example, we proposed to build a new model of major country relations. This is to break the historical pattern of conflict and confrontation between major countries and to find a new path in the modern era that seeks win-win cooperation to deliver benefits to all parties. It shows a new approach on the part of China to handle major country relations. It also shows China's sense of responsibility for the international community.
Let me give you another example. We have proposed the guideline for our neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. This is to further demonstrate China's sincerity and goodwill toward its neighbors and our readiness to work with them to build a community of common destiny. It is a new advancement of China's policy toward its neighbors and shows that China is more open and accommodative.
A third example is that we have proposed a more balanced approach to upholding principles and pursuing interests. It is to put moral principles first when we deal with fellow developing countries and be more sensitive to their needs. It inherits the fine character of China's external relations and reflects the inherent nature of the socialist system. It has become an important banner of China's diplomacy.
These new diplomatic ideas and steps send the following message to the world: China is committed to the path of peaceful development, and we hope other countries will also take the path of peaceful development. The Chinese Dream belongs to the Chinese people, and it is closely connected to the dreams of other nations as our interests are all intertwined.
ITAR-TASS of Russia: Last month, President Xi Jinping traveled specially to Sochi to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. This is the second time since 2013 that he visited the Russia at the start of the year. How do you assess the current China-Russia relationship, and what will be the priorities for China-Russia relations and cooperation in 2014?
Wang Yi: Speaking of the Sochi Winter Olympics, I'd like to first offer my congratulations to our Russian friends for hosting a memorable and spectacular winter Olympics.
The China-Russia relationship is at its best period in history, characterized by a high level of mutual trust, firm support for each other and intensifying cooperation in various fields. Our two presidents have established a deep friendship and they play an important role in guiding China-Russia relations.
As for China-Russia relations in 2014, I believe the most important task is to make sure that our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination will continue to grow from strength to strength. We will further strengthen mutual political trust and intensify our strategic cooperation. On that basis, we must focus on following priority tasks. Firstly, we must do all we can to upgrade practical cooperation and make new breakthroughs in our cooperation on some big projects in particular. Secondly, we must organize a successful China-Russia year of friendly exchange between the young people to consolidate and deepen the social foundation for China-Russia friendship. Thirdly, we must work together to uphold the victory of the Second World War and post-war international order and make good preparations for 2015, which will mark the 70th anniversary of the victories of the World Anti-Fascist War and the Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression.
Xinhua News Agency: This year, China will host two important international conferences, the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. Can you talk about these two important international conferences and share with us your expectations for them?
Wang Yi: A key feature of China's diplomacy in 2014 is that we will play host to two major international conferences in Shanghai and Beijing respectively. In May, we will hold the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit in Shanghai. CICA is a very important security cooperation forum in Asia. And then in November, we will hold the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing. It is a primary platform for discussing economic and trade cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. So you can see that the two conferences focus on security and economic issues respectively. And both will be key priorities for China's diplomacy this year. We will make the most of our role as the host country, put forward China's proposals, pool Asia's wisdom and work with the participants to inject new momentum into these two mechanisms.
At the CICA Summit, we hope to advocate common security, cooperative security and comprehensive security, bring into being a new Asian security concept and work together to build a new Asia of peace, stability and cooperation.
At the APEC meeting, we will focus on the theme of "Shaping the Future Through Asia-Pacific Partnership" and achieve new outcomes in advancing Asia-Pacific economic integration, adopting a blueprint for connectivity and promoting economic innovation and development. In particular, we will strive for a new breakthrough in launching the process of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
National Broadcasting Company of the United States: China-US relations are the most important bilateral relations in the world. How do you assess the development of the relations in the past year? What major challenges do you see this year? And how exactly do you propose to build the new type of great-power relationship? Will there be more transparency and more coordination between China and the United States in the spirit of the new type of great-power relationship and joint responsibility in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region?
Wang Yi: The biggest highlight of China-US relations in 2013 was the historic meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Obama at the Sunnylands. The two sides reached important consensus on working together to build a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States. At the heart of this new model of major-country relationship is no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. This is the common direction the two sides have set. It is a positive strategic outlook the two countries show to the world and a solemn commitment we've made to the international community.
The China-US relationship is both very important and very complex. This year marks the 35th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Over these past 35 years, China-US dialogue and cooperation has increasingly deepened. And the needs for cooperation far exceed our differences. Our experience and lessons of the past 35 years come down to one point, that is, we need to respect each other.
If one compares the new model of major-country relations between China and the United States to a building, then mutual respect is the foundation of that building. I believe when the two sides truly respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, social system and development path, and core interests and major concerns, the foundation will be a solid one that can withstand storms and truly grow into an edifice of win-win cooperation. That will not just benefit China and the United States but also the whole world.
We stand ready to work with the United States to uphold peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and carry out positive interactions in this region. An in our view, the Asia-Pacific should be the testing ground of our commitment to build a new model of major-country relations, rather than a competitive arena. Thank you.
Lianhe Zaobao of Singapore: The situation in China's neighborhood is closely watched by many people. Some people see many problems. Some believe China is more assertive in handling its disputes with its neighboring countries? What is your response to these views?
Wang Yi: This is a quite critical question but one that everyone is interested in. Let me first say that the general situation in China's neighborhood is both positive and stable.
Last year, China held its first neighborhood diplomacy conference. We made clear that the neighborhood tops China's diplomatic agenda. We unveiled a whole set of diplomatic guidelines to show we are more friendly and accommodative. And we have put forward a series of major cooperation proposals aimed at delivering win-win results. This fully shows that China attaches a great deal of importance to neighboring countries.
China has been interacting with its neighbors for thousands of years. And all along, we have valued harmonious relations and treated others with sincerity. When others respect us, we respect them even more. Going forward, we will more actively practice the guideline of "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness". We will help our neighboring countries and peoples benefit more from China's reform and opening. We will help them better appreciate China's commitment to peaceful development. We are willing to listen to voices from our neighboring countries and respond to their doubts about China's neighborhood policy.
As for China's territorial and maritime disputes with some countries, China would like to carry out equal-footed consultation and negotiation and properly handle them by peaceful means on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. There will not be any change to this position. We will never bully smaller countries, yet we will never accept unreasonable demands from smaller countries. On issues of territory and sovereignty, China's position is firm and clear. We will not take anything that isn't ours, but we will defend every inch of territory that belongs to us.
China Central Television: The issue of Ukraine has been the focus of international attention in recent weeks. We know that you've been on the phone with the foreign ministers of some countries discussing this issue. Can you talk about China's view on the current situation in Ukraine and how do you think the Ukrainian crisis should be resolved?
Wang Yi: First, let me tell you that China follows a just and objective position on the issue of Ukraine, and we have stated our position on multiple occasions.
It is regretful that the situation in Ukraine has come to what it is today. Yet it is not by accident that the situation has reached this point. There is a complex history behind it as well as conflicting interests. The more complex the problem is, the more necessary that it is handled in a prudent way.
China urges that keeping in mind the fundamental interests of all ethnic communities in Ukraine and the interests of regional peace and stability, the priority now is to exercise calm and restraint and prevent further escalation of the situation. The parties should carry out dialogue and consultation to put the issue on the track of a political settlement. China is in communication with various parties, and we will play a constructive role in bringing about a political settlement of the Ukrainian issue. Thank you.
Paris Match of France: Mr. Minister, at the end of this month, President Xi Jinping will be in Europe. What kind of message does he want to deliver to the countries he will visit? And also, what will be the intention of President Xi Jinping when he goes to the European institutions in Brussels?
Wang Yi: Europe has a priority place in China's diplomatic agenda this year. As you said, President Xi Jinping will visit Europe in late March. This will be yet another major diplomatic action taken by China to advance major-power relations. The visit will open a new chapter in the history of China-Europe relations.
"Cooperation" is the key word in China-Europe relations. China and Europe are two major forces in the world. We are two large civilizations and two big markets. So it's only right and proper that our cooperation is comprehensive and strategic in nature. Particularly when China shifts its development pattern and embarks on comprehensive and in-depth reform, Europe is a strategic partner with whom our cooperation will have great potential.
Through the historic visit of President Xi Jinping to Europe, the two sides will work intensively to align our respective development strategies. I believe the two sides will strengthen win-win cooperation in some priority areas, such as scientific and technological innovation, energy and environmental conservation, a new type of urbanization, connectivity and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We also hope to speed up the negotiation toward a China-EU investment agreement, with a view to future free trade arrangements between China and Europe. And of course, we'd like to increase strategic communication with the Europeans in international affairs and work together to promote democracy in international relations and a more multi-polar world.
I think all of you will agree with me in saying that China-Europe cooperation will make the world a safer, more balanced and better place.
China Radio International: Foreign Minister, you made a whirlwind visit to Afghanistan recently, which generated a lot of interest from the international community. This year, the United States and NATO will wind down their troop presence in Afghanistan. How do you see the situation in Afghanistan playing out? And what role will China play in the reconciliation and reconstruction process of Afghanistan?
Wang Yi: This year will be a crucial one for Afghanistan. The country will go through political, security and economic transitions all at the same time. Of course, it's mainly up to the Afghan people to realize the triple transitions, but they cannot do without the care and support of the international community.
China is Afghanistan's biggest neighbor. Afghanistan's peace and stability has a direct bearing on security in China's western region. We hope to see a united, stable, growing and amicable Afghanistan. For this purpose, we'll work with the international community to actively facilitate political reconciliation in Afghanistan, support the peace and reconstruction efforts and encourage Afghanistan to be more involved in regional cooperation. We'll also work with Afghanistan and other neighbors of China to resolutely fight all terrorist forces.
In August this year, China will for the first time host a ministerial conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. We'll send invitations to the 14 member states and 28 supporting parties of the Istanbul Process. We hope that through this conference, the parties will build more consensus and work together to support Afghanistan's efforts to complete the triple transitions and help the situation in Afghanistan to move toward lasting peace.
Asahi Shimbun of Japan: I have a question about the China-Japan relationship. In his Government Work Report, Premier Li Keqiang mentioned the issue of history. He said that we need to uphold the victory of the Second World War and the post-war international order, and no one will be allowed to reverse the course of history. The China-Japan relationship is in a lot of difficulties and the outside world is quite concerned. How do you think the relationship can emerge from its current impasse? And someone has likened the current China-Japan relationship to Germany-Britain relations before the First World War. What is your view?
Wang Yi: Premier Li Keqiang spoke the mind of the Chinese people and showed that China shoulders the responsibility to uphold peace. We fully support his statement.
China and Japan are next-door neighbors. We have every reason to have an amicable relationship. The current situation is not something we want to see and is not in the interests of the people in either country.
When China and Japan normalized diplomatic relations in 1972, the two sides reached important common understanding and consensus on properly handling history, Taiwan, Diaoyu Islands and other issues. This was the precondition for the normalization of diplomatic relations and the basis for a return to friendly relations between China and Japan. Yet the recent comments and actions of the Japanese leader betrayed the spirit of 1972 and undermined the foundation of China-Japan relations. Of course, the Chinese people cannot and will not accept it.
On issues of principle such as history and territory, there is no room for compromise. If some people in Japan insist on overturning the verdict on its past aggression, I don't believe the international community and all peace-loving people in the world will ever tolerate or condone that.
As for the parallel some people have drawn between the current China-Japan relations and the Germany-Britain relations before the First World War, I wish to emphasize that 2014 is not 1914, still less 1894. Instead of using pre-WWI Germany as an object lesson, why not use post-WWII Germany as a role model? Only by making a clean break with the past and stopping going back on one's words, can the relationship emerge from the current impasse and have a future. Only by truly committing to a peaceful path and stopping saying one thing and doing something else, can a country gain the trust of its neighbors and the world. I hope Japan's leaders can understand these basic points and respect human conscience and the bottom line of international justice.
China Daily: There have been a lot of interactions between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries in the past year, and we have learned that this year the China-CELAC forum will be formally established. Can you share with us your expectations for the furtherance of China's ties with Latin America and the Caribbean in the year ahead?
Wang Yi: The best line to describe China's relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean is the following: "Bosom friends from afar bring a distant land near." This year, we face a historical opportunity for taking this relationship to the next level.
Firstly, President Xi Jinping will attend the BRICS Leaders' Meeting in Brazil and visit some Latin American countries. Secondly, the recent summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) adopted a special statement supporting the establishment of a China-CELAC Forum. In 2014, we will work hard to formally launch this forum and hold its first ministerial conference. This will be an important breakthrough in the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean.
I am full of expectations about China-Latin America relations this year, as I'm sure many football fans in China are full of expectations about this year's Brazil FIFA World Cup.
Korean Broadcasting System of the Republic of Korea: The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is quite tense. How do you look at the situation? What are the chances of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks? What specific steps will China, the host country, take to help restart the Six-Party Talks?
Wang Yi: The Korean Peninsula is right on China's doorstep. We have a red line all along: that is, we will never allow war or instability on the Korean Peninsula. This, I believe, is in full keeping with interests of both the south and the north of the Peninsula and the common interests of all countries in the region.
As for the best way to handle the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, if I may use some metaphors, I believe we need to do three things: climb a slope, overcome a stumbling block and follow the right way.
First, we need to climb the slope of denuclearization. The nuclear issue is the crux of the matter. Only with denuclearization can the Korean Peninsula enjoy genuine and lasting peace. So no matter how long or steep the slope is, we must keep climbing it without any stop.
Second, we need to work hard to overcome the stumbling block of mutual mistrust. There is a woeful lack of mutual trust between the parties, especially the DPRK and the United States. This is the stumbling block before us. It has caused sustained tension on the Korean Peninsula and several disruptions to the Six-Party Talks. We hope that the parties will exercise restraint, show goodwill and build mutual trust little by little.
Third, we must follow the right way forward, which is dialogue. Confrontation will only bring tension and war will only cause disaster. Equal-footed dialogue, consultation and negotiation is the only right way forward. The Six-Party Talks is the only dialogue mechanism acceptable to all the parties. As the host country, we hope it can be resumed as soon as possible. Some dialogue is better than none, and better early than late.
ETV of South Africa: As you are aware, China has become very active in Africa in recent years, but there are different opinions about this engagement between China and the African continent, especially emanating from the West. What is your opinion? Thank you.
Wang Yi: Let me make three points to sum up the China-Africa relationship.
First, China and Africa are good brothers who share weal and woe. When China was a poor country, we tightened our belt to support the cause of national independence and liberation of our African brothers. It's our African brothers who got the People's Republic of China back into the United Nations.
Second, China and Africa are good friends who engage in cooperation as equals. In its cooperation with Africa, China has never been condescending, never interfered in the internal affairs of African countries and never given any empty promise. Let me tell you one figure. So far, we have helped African countries build over 1,000 projects and we have never attached any political condition to these projects. This fact alone can show that the groundless accusations against China are pale and hollow.
And third, China and Africa are good partners for common development. When I visited Africa in January this year, many African friends told me in person that an important reason behind Africa's sustained economic growth in recent years is the boost provided by China-Africa cooperation. And this has gotten other countries to increase their attention to Africa.
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Premier Zhou Enlai's first visit to Africa. Since then, China-Africa friendship has been handed down from one generation to another. Last year, President Xi Jinping made a successful visit to Africa. Later this year, Premier Li Keqiang will also step on the soil of Africa. This will be the first visit to Africa made by the premier of the new Chinese government. China-Africa cooperation is entering a new phase of development.
China News Service: Foreign Minister Wang, shortly after you took office, you visited the Foreign Ministry's Consular Service and Protection Center. You stressed that Chinese diplomats must listen to the voice of the people at all times and uphold their interests. You also expressed your wish to make it easier for people to travel on a Chinese passport. Going forward, how will the Foreign Ministry protect the lawful rights and interests and safety of Chinese institutions and nationals abroad?
Wang Yi: It is the abiding purpose of China's diplomacy to serve the people. My colleagues and I often receive letters from the public. A lady from Henan Province wrote a letter which has moved me a great deal, and I would like to share this story with you. Her husband was working in a foreign country. He was thrown into prison under false charges. Our embassy in that country argued hard for him, cleared his name and got him released so that he could reunite with his family. His wife wrote to us: "You saved our broken family. You are the people closest to us." The people see us as closest to them: there is no higher honor for Chinese diplomats.
Every year close to 100 million Chinese travel abroad, and there are over 20,000 Chinese companies operating overseas. It is our bounden duty to protect their legitimate rights and interests. I don't know whether you've noticed or not: when Chinese nationals go abroad, the first text message they will receive on their mobile phone is from the Foreign Ministry, reminding them of the things to be careful about and informing them of the telephone number of the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in that country. Every year, we handle tens of thousands of consular cases. It could be a small thing like helping our nationals to get their documentation in order or get into contact with their relatives and friends, or it could be a big operation such as rescuing Chinese hostages or carrying out large-scale evacuation of overseas Chinese nationals. Whenever our compatriots abroad need us, no matter how difficult or dangerous it is, Chinese diplomats will appear before them and do all we can to help.
In the new year, we will continue to do our best to implement the initiative to better protect and serve overseas Chinese, and we will further improve consular protection and service. Let me disclose a piece of news to you. In 2014, the Foreign Ministry will establish a global emergency call center for consular protection and services. It will be a 24-hour telephone hot line. In the future, when our compatriots go abroad, no matter in which part of the world they are, if they run into an emergency, they can get into contact with their motherland right away and hear the voice from their motherland.
Only by sinking its roots in the people and delivering benefits to the people, can China's diplomacy be in an invincible position. We would like to shield wind and rain for every one of our compatriots who travel abroad with their dreams, and become the firm support they can count on.
Kazaag News Agency of Kazakhstan: Last year, when President Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan, he proposed to build a Silk Road Economic Belt. Later, he proposed to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. These have been called the new concepts of China's diplomacy. What is the thinking behind these two initiatives? How will China put them into practice?
Wang Yi: The Silk Road was first traveled by the Chinese people 2,000 years ago, but it belongs to the whole world. At the core of the Silk Road spirit is peace, friendship, openness and inclusiveness, which have become the common assets of human civilization.
As you mentioned, President Xi Jinping proposed to build a Silk Road Economic Belt when he was on a visit to Kazakhstan. And later, when he was visiting Indonesia, he proposed to build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
These two initiatives of overland and maritime Silk Roads aim to seize the opportunity of the further opening-up of China, especially opening in the westward direction. We want to update the spirit of the ancient Silk Road and work with relevant countries to add two powerful wings to the rejuvenation of Asia as a whole.
These two initiatives will focus on economic cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges and prioritize connectivity and trade and investment facilitation. We will pursue these initiatives through equal-footed consultation and incremental progress, with a clear goal to deliver benefits to all and build a community of shared interests.
The door of these two initiatives is wide open, and it will proceed in parallel with the existing cooperation mechanisms and ideas in the region. We welcome countries in the region and other interested countries to take an active part in these two initiatives so that together, we will discuss and build them and benefit from them.
China National Radio: From what you've said, Foreign Minister Wang, we can all see that China had a full diplomatic agenda in the past year. You've been in the position of Foreign Minister for a year now. Can you talk to us about your personal experience and impression?
Wang Yi: This is the first time I give such a big conference and I thought that such a question would come up. Let me say in relation to your question that I'm a member of China's diplomatic service. Like my colleagues, I feel a heavy responsibility and a glorious mission to engage in diplomatic work at an important time when our nation is marching toward rejuvenation.
We Chinese diplomats must live by the core values of loyalty, responsibility and devotion. Our task is to face the problems and solve them. Our job is to act responsibly for the nation, win honor for the country and serve the people.
To conduct diplomacy well in the new era, first of all, we must have confidence. Confidence comes from the strength and prosperity of our motherland. Today's China is marching ever faster toward what we call the "two centenary goals". The motherland and the people are our firm backing and peaceful development is our firm commitment. We have every confidence and ability to create an even more favorable external environment for the rejuvenation of our nation.
We must also have backbone. The backbone comes from our national pride. Gone is the century of humiliation in China's modern history. We feel passionately about our sovereignty and national dignity. We have our own judgment about international affairs. We follow the independent foreign policy of peace. We uphold our national interests as well as international justice. This is the character of Chinese diplomats and why we have so much support in the world.
We must also show generosity. Generosity comes from the self-confidence of an old civilization. The Chinese civilization has thrived for 5,000 years without any interruption. An important reason is that we are like the ocean that admits all rivers and streams. Today, as we pursue major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, it is even more important to draw nourishment and strength from China's rich and profound cultural heritage and show to the world that the Chinese people are poised, confident, open and enterprising.
The press conference lasted 95 minutes and it was attended by more than 500 journalists from home and abroad.