The principle of for the people and by the people has been a source of strength for the Communist Party of China. It is also the defining feature of China's diplomacy, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.
"Throughout the year 2020, we have pooled every resource available and lost no time in delivering people-centered diplomacy. We have defied risks and danger to put up a firm line of defense for our fellow Chinese in every corner of the world," Wang said in a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group.
He said that despite challenges brought by COVID-19, China's consular services and its consular work in general have continued uninterrupted, and "the safety of overseas Chinese has remained our priority no matter what."
"We overcame various difficulties to deliver more than 1.2 million health kits to overseas Chinese students, sent emergency medical supplies to overseas Chinese in 100-plus countries, and arranged over 350 special flights to bring home stranded Chinese nationals," Wang said.
With COVID-19 still ravaging the world, the risk of case import continues to rise and consular protection remains a formidable task, he said, pledging to press ahead against all difficulties and make solid efforts to prevent imported cases and protect and assist overseas Chinese citizens.
Ties with the U.S.
The Chinese side hopes that the next U.S. administration will return to a sensible approach, resume dialogue with China, restore normalcy to the bilateral relations and restart cooperation, said Wang.
"China-U.S. relations have come to a new crossroads, and a new window of hope is opening," said the Foreign Minister.
He said in recent years, China-U.S. relations have run into unprecedented difficulties. Fundamentally, it all comes down to the serious misconceptions of U.S. policymakers about China. Some see China as the so-called biggest threat and their China policy based on this misperception is simply wrong.
"What has happened proves that the U.S. attempt to suppress China and start a new Cold War has not just seriously harmed the interests of the two peoples, but also caused severe disruptions to the world. Such a policy will find no support and is doomed to fail," he said.
Wang said that China's policy toward the United States is consistent and stable. "We are ready to develop with the United States a relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability."
"We know that some in the United States are uneasy about China's rapid development. However, the best way to keep one's lead is through constant self-improvement, not by blocking others' development," he said.
"We believe that as long as the United States can draw lessons from the past and work with China in the same direction, the two countries are capable of resolving differences through dialogue and expanding converging interests by cooperation," Wang said.
Ties with Russia
China and Russia will continue to be the example of good-neighborly and friendly relations between major countries, add impetus to global recovery, and underpin global strategic stability, he noted.
He said in 2020, China-Russia relations have stood the test of a once-in-a-century pandemic and unprecedented global changes, and reached a historic high in all respects.
He hailed the intensive interactions between the two heads of state, noting President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin have had five phone calls and exchanged correspondence on multiple occasions, providing the most important strategic guidance for the steady growth of the bilateral relations.
He also spoke highly of the mutual support between the two peoples, growing practical cooperation despite challenges, and closer coordination on international affairs.
"The year 2021 is a year of special importance for China-Russia relations, as both countries will enter a new development stage. In developing China-Russia strategic cooperation, we see no limit, no forbidden zone and no ceiling to how far this cooperation can go," he said.
He said focusing on the central task of implementing the common understandings of the two Presidents, the two countries will use the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation to renew their shared commitment to ever-lasting peace and win-win cooperation. Being each other's strategic anchor, diplomatic priority, development opportunity and global partner, the two countries will expand and deepen cooperation from a higher starting point.
Ties with the EU
China is prepared to enhance coordination with the EU to keep the relations on the right track, he noted.
He said the year 2020 marked the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and the EU. And throughout the years, the relationship has on the whole focused on dialogue, cooperation and mutual benefit, and demonstrated strong vitality by progressing with the times.
"The most important conclusion is that our cooperation and common understandings far outweigh competition and differences. China and the EU are comprehensive strategic partners, not systemic rivals," he said.
"The most important mission is to jointly tackle global challenges, promote a multi-polar world, economic globalization and greater democracy in international relations, and inject more stability and certainty into a turbulent and changing world," he said.
"President Xi Jinping and European leaders have jointly announced the conclusion of negotiations on a China-EU investment treaty, adding fresh, strong impetus to China-EU cooperation. It is also great news for the struggling global economy," he said, stressing that in 2020, China and the EU made new progress in their relations despite COVID-19.
China will remain a supporter of European integration, greater strategic autonomy of the EU, and a bigger role of the EU in international affairs, he said.
"The multilateralism that our two sides advocate must be dedicated to unity and cooperation rather than group politics. It needs to transcend systemic difference rather than draw lines along ideology," he said.
Ties with ASEAN
China stands ready to work with ASEAN to further enrich the strategic partnership and usher in a new era of peace, development and cooperation for the region, said Wang.
"Since its launch, China-ASEAN cooperation has always been results-oriented, pioneering and responsive to the trend of the times. It has become the most successful and vibrant example of regional cooperation," he said.
He said the two sides became each other's largest trading partners for the first time in 2020. "We jointly pushed for the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which gave birth to the world's most promising free trade area with the largest population and biggest economic aggregate. This is a historic breakthrough in China-ASEAN cooperation."
Noting that China and ASEAN will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their dialogue relations in 2021, Wang said the Chinese side looks forward to the new opportunities it will bring for enhancing China-ASEAN ties.
Wang called on the two sides to work together to defeat COVID-19, do their best to bolster regional economic recovery, and stay committed to sustainable development.