China has long been one of the leading players on the international arena, whose opinion influences the political and economic situation around the world. Therefore, the position of this country on any given issue is of the same interest.
Chinese Ambassador to Ukraine Du Wei has agreed to clarify this opinion in an interview with Ukrinform. One hour was enough to talk about the nuclear dossier of North Korea, about why China did not resort to shock therapy during the reform process, about the work of Chinese philosophers, and even about the beauty of Ukrainian girls.
THE KEY TO SOLVING THE NORTH-KOREAN NUCLEAR PROBLEM IS NOT IN CHINA
- Mr. Ambassador, in July China fulfills an important and honorary role of chairing the UN Security Council. What tasks in this regard does Beijing set before itself and the UN Security Council as a whole?
- This month, and in the future, China will carry out its work as chair of the UN Security Council, complying with its consistent principles such as high objectivity, justice, openness, transparency, efficiency and pragmatism. The July UN program is very rich: as far as I know, about 30 meetings will take place this month. Their main themes are the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, that is "hot spots" in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan, and Colombia.
- Are Ukrainian issues on the agenda of the UN Security Council, if not, then why not?
- Such a program for July was drafted by all UN Security Council members collectively. China, of course, together with other non-permanent members of the Security Council, will hold such meetings in terms of finding the peaceful settlement of conflicts and solutions to existing problems.
But China and Ukraine have traditionally supported very close cooperation on the international scene in terms of multilateral settlement. The head of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations, immediately after taking up the post of the UN Security Council president, has met with the head of your permanent delegation.
The Chinese side is grateful for the continued support provided by the Ukrainian side in international affairs, and is ready to continue to intensify such cooperation.
- One of the most urgent issues on the agenda of the UN Security Council is the nuclear dossier of North Korea, especially given that it regularly conducts rocket launches. The international community has high hopes for China as a key regional and global player in the context of finding a way out of a deadlock. How does Beijing assess the situation and what immediate steps, in your opinion, should be taken by the Security Council for its speedy resolution?
- Indeed, the international community is now paying a great deal of attention to North Korea - it is in the political focus of the whole world.
China has always been categorically opposed to the appearance of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, and also strongly opposes the latest rocket launches by North Korea. At the same time, China strictly adheres to UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting cooperation with North Korea. But in our opinion, only through sanctions it is impossible to resolve the North Korean nuclear problem, since its origins are in the absence of mutual confidence in the field of security, first of all between the United States and North Korea.
The Chinese side proposed the idea of a "dual-track solution to the problem" (the need for observing denuclearization of the peninsula and changing the cease-fire mechanism to peace) and a "bilateral cessation of actions" (the cessation of DPRK's nuclear actions and large-scale military exercises in the United States and South Korea). It is an approach that can simultaneously solve the problems of all parties involved in the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula, as well as become a fundamental political course aimed at long-term order and long-term stability on the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, the Chinese position can be formulated as the simultaneous promotion of two processes - nuclear disarmament and the conclusion of a peace treaty.
Let me recall that after the war on the Korean Peninsula the parties signed only a truce agreement, rather than a full-scale peace treaty. It's abnormal, it's necessary to start promoting its signing, and China has come up with such an initiative. But it's necessary to get an answer from the interested parties, first and foremost, from the United States and North Korea.
Along with these processes, China has come forward with one more initiative - "a dual suspension," that is, North Korea should suspend the development of nuclear weapons and, above all, rocket launches, while the United States and South Korea should not conduct large-scale military exercises close to the Korean Peninsula.
We are very counting on the active reaction of these countries to our initiatives.
I met several times in this regard with journalists, who have high hopes for China's role in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Of course, our country plays a rather significant role in solving this issue, but not the most important one. The root of this problem and the key to its solution are not in China, but in the United States and North Korea.
- Ukraine and China are strategic partners, and the level of political trust and mutual understanding between our countries is very high. Our country firmly adheres to the one-China policy and is grateful to Beijing for supporting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, which is especially important in the conditions of Russia's aggression against our state. How does China implement this political position?
- China has a very clear position - we respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. After the start of the Ukrainian crisis, the Chinese leadership openly and clearly confirmed this position. Neither in the past nor in the future has China ever violated and will not violate these principles. With regard to relations between Russia and Ukraine, you know that both countries - both Russia and Ukraine - are friendly to China, and we really want to see a solution to the conflict through political and diplomatic talks in the near future.
- One of the methods to encourage Russia to peace talks is international economic sanctions for its actions in Donbas and Crimea. Does China support the policy of sanctions against Russia?
- In our current policy, we are very cautious about sanctions. When it comes to the situation between Russia and Ukraine, we nevertheless stand for political and diplomatic talks.
We consider these measures to be very effective, especially when the "Normandy format" is currently working, the Minsk process is underway, that is there are channels and ways of contacts. We would very much like to see all parties to speed up the Minsk process as quickly as possible so as to resolve these problems.
CHINA HAS NEVER SWERVED FROM REFORM AND OPENNESS POLICY FOR 38 YEARS
- Let's move from political to economic issues.
-Yes, they're much easier! (laughs)
- China has been pursuing a strategic initiative "One Belt - One Road" for several years. A year ago, in your speech on the occasion of the beginning of a diplomatic mission in our country, you, Mr. Ambassador, said that the door is open for cooperation with Ukraine in the Silk Road Economic Belt. What is your vision of Ukraine's place there?
-I have been answering this question many times. I believe that Ukraine is a very important hub on the Eurasian continent. In addition, China has received a very active reaction from your country immediately after the One Belt One Road initiative was put forward. Therefore, we have included Ukraine in the first group of 65 countries that will take part in building the general concept "One Belt - One Road."
At meetings with journalists, I have already spoken about three advantages of Ukraine in our cooperation as part of the concept "One Belt - One Road."
The first is the geographical location of your country and convenient transport network (air, land, sea). In this sense, Ukraine will play an important role in the implementation of this concept.
The second is the ability of our economies to complement each other, that is, the Chinese side has advantages in capital and the experience of implementing scientific and technical results, whereas the Ukrainian side has a large market potential and solid scientific, technical and human resource base.
Thirdly, we have a mutual cultural interest. We notice that many Ukrainians love China and Chinese culture in their heart, which gives us a deep impression. Accordingly, more and more Chinese people are showing great interest in the literature, art, painting and music of Ukraine.
I want to remind you that in May First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv, at the head of a Ukrainian delegation, attended the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing. The Ukrainian side held very meaningful and productive talks with Chinese leaders, including Vice Prime Minister of the State Council of China Ma Kai.
-Have specific agreements been reached?
- For example, during the talks Mr. Kubiv and Mr. Ma Kai agreed to hold by the end of the year the third meeting of the intergovernmental commission on cooperation between China and Ukraine (the first meeting was held in 2011, and the commission has not met since September 2013).
In addition, Mr. Kubiv, at a meeting with the presidents of Eximbank of China and China Development Bank, exchanged deep thoughts on expanding the use of loans from Chinese banks in the amount of 7.65 billion dollars.
- The unprecedented growth of the Chinese economy is the subject of study by analysts from many countries. What could be applied in Ukraine from the Chinese reform experience?
- China and Ukraine are different countries, so we cannot say that the experience of Chinese reforms corresponds to the realities of Ukraine. But I want to explain my understanding from the point of view of an ordinary Chinese.
First of all, I would like to emphasize that our most important experience is the persistence in conducting reforms and openness to the outside world. Everyone knows that in different periods of history, China was also a very developed and powerful state, but at the time of the Ming dynasty and the Qing dynasty there was a recession and the reason for this decline under these dynasties was that China closed its doors to the outside world.
The leaders of our state and the Chinese people consider it a lesson for the nation, that is if there is no policy of openness and reform, there is no developed and prosperous China.
You know that in 1979, Mr. Deng Xiaoping [a Chinese politician and reformer, a member of the Communist Party of China] began a policy of reform and openness. Thirty-eight years have passed since then, several generations of leaders have worked in China's leadership, but China has never swerved from such a policy, it has only deepened and expanded.
That is, the consistency and continuity of policy is the first important moment that can also be regarded as a good reflection of Chinese culture. The second is preserving the stability of society, since reforms are to some extent a revolution, a shock, and without stability and unity in society it is very difficult to conduct them.
Therefore, before the official launch of the policy of reform and openness, Deng Xiaoping, as a wise politician, laid the solid foundation for political stability and solidarity in our society.
It is also very important to carry out reforms gradually, step by step. Some countries have chosen shock therapy, but China has chosen a different path.
China is very big, so before conducting a new important policy, first of all, it is necessary to choose one area and conduct an experiment there. If it succeeds, then the experience can be gradually extended to the whole country. This is the process of reform that we have.
- Our media often quote an ancient Chinese curse "May you live in a time of change!" Is it still relevant, or China is no longer afraid of change?
- The Chinese are not afraid of changes, and the most important thing is what they will bring us. If changes are for the better, then we meet them with applause (laughs)
-Let's get back to Ukrainian reforms. The Ukrainian government has not abandoned the intention to hold large-scale privatization of state-owned enterprises, which was postponed for various reasons. Are Chinese investors planning to take part in it?
- We are, of course, very closely watching this process. China also saw a reform of state-owned enterprises, but in our country this process was even more complicated, because it was not about privatization.
In any case, China is interested in privatization in Ukraine, and we very much hope that the Ukrainian side will give us more information so that Chinese businessmen could assess their chances in the Ukrainian market.
-Which economic branches are most attractive to them?
- As far as I know, Chinese entrepreneurs are interested in investing in the privatization process in the financial, agricultural and logistics sectors.
- Does it mean purchase or joint projects?
- At the moment we see that now it's just a purchase. But I am confident that there will be other forms of cooperation, including joint ventures.
Of course, new questions arise in the process of cooperation.
The biggest problem in this process is that China has opened a credit line to Ukraine for $7 billion, but, unfortunately, the level of their use is very low. The Chinese side, including myself, made every effort to extend the validity of these loans, but of course it will not last forever.
It is very important for me to facilitate the more effective use of these funds as soon as possible. As I have already said, one of the many ways to address this issue is to expand the areas of use of loans from Chinese banks.
-You said that new questions arise in the process of cooperation. Is the Chinese side satisfied with the speed of their solution in Ukraine?
- As far as I know, Ukraine now selects concrete projects for which we can use our loans. But this process is very slow. We have not yet seen a specific list of projects, although the amount is very high, and the use of this loan in such a difficult time for Ukraine is very important. Therefore, I am trying to accelerate this process, but until now, unfortunately, it does not work out.
- U.S. President Donald Trump has explained the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord by the fact that it allegedly economically restricts the U.S. and gives benefits to some countries, in particular, India and China. How does China see this position by the U.S. president?
- I remember very well the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009, which was attended by representatives from 193 countries. But then this event ended in vain, and everyone was very upset. [Initially, it was expected that the world would be able to negotiate a new agreement, which would change the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, but there was not time to prepare the document].
Six years later, in 2015, thanks to the maximum efforts of all countries, a package of agreements was reached in Paris. The Paris agreement covers the maximum number of countries, so it is a very important document.
Achieving such agreements is a complicated process, and China has also contributed to this. Of course, we will comply with all the agreements and adhere to our consistent position regarding the implementation of this document.
Let me recall that at the recent G20 summit all countries, except the United States, which signed the Paris Agreement, have promised to comply with the agreements under this package.
I think that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is very important and it will become an irreversible process, although the Trump administration opposes it.
But even within the United States, there are very strong voices against the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which was declared by Trump. I do not exclude that in the future the U.S. can take part in this process, but in some other form.