The 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states will be held in Zhengzhou, Henan Province from December 14 to 15. At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Karim Massimov of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Temir Sariyev of the Kyrgyz Republic, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation, Prime Minister Rasulzoda Qohir of the Republic of Tajikistan, First Deputy Prime Minister Azimov Rustam Sadikovich of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as government leaders of SCO observer states including the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mongolia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will attend the meeting. Heads of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ASEAN, Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and other relevant international organizations and mechanisms will attend the meeting upon invitation. All parties will exchange views on promoting SCO cooperation in various fields. After the meeting, President Xi Jinping will have a group meeting with heads of government of SCO member states.
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Massimov of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Medvedev of the Russian Federation and Prime Minister Sariyev of the Kyrgyz Republic will pay official visits to China before or after the 14th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of SCO member states. Premier Li Keqiang will also co-host the 20th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian prime ministers with Medvedev.
At the invitation of the government of the Republic of Argentina, Vice Chairman Ji Bingxuan of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will travel to Buenos Aires as the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping to attend the ceremony for presidential power transfer on December 10.
At the invitation of Vice President Li Yuanchao, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi Emirate of the United Arab Emirates will pay an official visit to China from December 13 to 16.
Q: What will be discussed at the SCO prime ministers' meeting?
A: As agreed by SCO member states, the theme of the meeting is designated as discussions on the present, future and development measures of SCO cooperation in trade, investment, finance, transportation and culture. Against the backdrop of the Silk Road Economic Belt and other regional cooperation initiatives, the Chinese side, as the host of the meeting, looks forward to exploring new ideas and measures for the in-depth and all-round development of SCO cooperation with all parties, planning for top priorities and pressing tasks of regional cooperation under the current circumstances and bolstering development and stability of all SCO members.
Q: The Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) concluded on December 5 with the adoption of a declaration and an action plan for 2016-2018. Is the Chinese side satisfied with the results of the summit?
A: The FOCAC Summit in Johannesburg scored great success and yielded fruitful results. In his concluding remarks at the summit, President Xi Jinping lauded the summit as a perfect and remarkable event, saying that China and Africa have created the history together. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has gone into details about the summit when jointly meeting the press after the summit with his South African counterpart. The summit has ushered in a new era of win-win cooperation and common development between China and Africa, mapped out a new blueprint for China-Africa relations and showcased the resolve of China and Africa to work hand in hand for progress. Specific outcomes are as follows. First, the summit came up with a new concept of China-Africa cooperation, as was embodied in the theme of the summit "China-Africa Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development". Second, the summit charted the course for China-Africa relations. The two sides agreed to establish and develop a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. Third, the summit erected five major pillars for China-Africa relationship, namely, political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, mutual assistance in security, and solidarity and coordination in international affairs. Fourth, the summit nailed down 10 major cooperation plans in the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure construction, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.
The cooperation concept and initiative brought forth by China echoes China's African policy featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the right approach to justice and interests. It will help break Africa's development bottlenecks of backward infrastructure and inadequate professional and skilled personnel and add new impetus to China-Africa relations as it answers the call of the times for green and sustainable development. We have noted positive commentary given by the international community, saying that China-Africa cooperation is based on an equal-footing, and relevant measures for cooperation are practical and the concept advanced, leading and inspiring international cooperation with Africa. The cooperation measures and concept are also well received by African leaders to the summit. A lot of African leaders said that China is a staunch force for world peace and development. By developing economic and military strength, China is to help rather than bully the poor, to pursue peace rather than war. China who used to fight side by side with Africa for national independence and liberation, now stands together with Africa in the process of development as the most reliable and sincere partner for cooperation. African countries are ready to join China in realizing the dream of national renewal.
We give credit to FOCAC members and the host South Africa in particular. Their efforts and input of personnel, financial and material resources ensured the full success of the summit where all the events were carried out securely and orderly. President Xi Jinping expressed sincere gratitude to South African President Jacob Zuma, the South African government and people in his concluding remarks. We would like to avail ourselves of the opportunity to once again thank the South African government and people, African countries and regional organizations such as the African Union that attended the summit and all those who contributed their efforts to the summit.
The Chinese side will adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests as were put forth by President Xi Jinping, carry out follow-up actions to deliver outcomes of the summit to African friends in a timely fashion so that both the Chinese and African people will enjoy the benefits as soon as possible.
Q: Some West African countries are cracking down on illegal timber export for the protection of their forests. But experts say that demands from China have caused the illegal trade in timber to spike. Is China taking measures to combat illegal timber trade?
A: China, as a responsible major country, stays committed to protecting, recovering and developing sustainably world forest resources. While protecting and enriching its own forest resources, and making contributions to slowing down the disappearance of forests and reforesting, China also plays an active part in international cooperation, working together with other countries to promote sustainable development of forest resources and mutually beneficial cooperation in this regard.
China puts timber and forestry product import under strict supervision. The Chinese government and governments of relevant countries signed memorandums of understanding on illegal logging and illegal trade in timber and established cooperation mechanisms. We firmly oppose and strictly crack down on illegal logging and relevant trading activities. Chinese companies' logging and forest management in foreign countries shall follow local laws and regulations. The Chinese government is willing to conduct close cooperation with all countries including African countries to fight against illegal logging and illegal trade in timber, and make greater contributions to normal international trade in forestry product and conservation of global forest resources following the strategy of maintaining sustainable development of forest resources through win-win cooperation.
Q: In a joint statement issued after the meeting of national security advisers of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, Thailand, the two sides described their meeting as candid and constructive, and agreed to continue with constructive engagement. What is China's comment on that?
A: As the friend and neighbor to both India and Pakistan, the Chinese side is glad to see signs of improvement of bilateral relations. We appreciate efforts made by Indian and Pakistani governments and sincerely hope that the two countries could keep the momentum going and jointly safeguard regional stability and development.
Q: Election results coming out today show that Venezuela's opposition has won a majority of seats in the National Assembly. As Venezuela's major partner for trade and investment, how does China comment on the election?
A: The Chinese side has noted that the election of Venezuela' s National Assembly went smoothly on November 6. As a friendly country to Venezuela, the Chinese side hopes that Venezuela could maintain stability and growth, and stands ready to deepen traditional friendship, expand practical cooperation in trade and other areas and further enrich the comprehensive strategic partnership with Venezuela through joint efforts.