On February 20, 2012, on the eve of his official visit to Turkey, Vice President Xi Jinping received a written interview of Turkey's Sabah and answered questions on China-Turkey relations, cooperation and cultural exchanges and the role of Turkey in regional and international affairs.
Talking about China-Turkey relations, Xi pointed out that the bilateral relations have maintained the sound momentum of healthy and stable development with the joint efforts of both sides since China and Turkey established diplomatic ties 41 years ago. In particular, the bilateral relations stepped into the new stage of all-round development since the establishment of the bilateral strategic partnership in October 2010. The two countries enjoy close high-level exchanges and increasing political mutual trust and support each other on issues involving their core interests and major concerns. The bilateral pragmatic cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, finance, transport and energy moves forward steadily and brings tangible benefits to the two peoples. The bilateral cultural and social exchanges are widened constantly and friendship is more deeply rooted in the heart of the people. The two sides keep coordination and collaboration in such multilateral frameworks as the UN, the G20 and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and have safeguarded and promoted peace, stability and development in Asia Pacific and the word at large. China is satisfied with the current development and full of confidence in the outlook of bilateral relations with Turkey.
Xi stressed that it is consistent with the practical and long-term interests of China and Turkey to fully enrich the bilateral strategic partnership connotation given the current complex and volatile international situation. China is willing to work with Turkey to enhance the pragmatic cooperation in various fields and promote the continuous development of bilateral ties.
With regard to China-Turkey economic and trade cooperation, Xi said that the two countries have actively conducted economic and trade cooperation in a wide range of areas and made major progress under the guiding principle of mutual benefit. In 2011, the bilateral trade volume reached US$ 18.7 billion, up 24% over previous year. The bilateral pragmatic cooperation is fruitful and mutual investment increases steadily. Both China and Turkey are important emerging markets and have strong complementary advantages in capital, technology and market. China's 12th "Five-Year" plan and Turkey's initiative of becoming one of the top ten economies in the world by 2023 create favorable opportunities for both sides to expand cooperation. It can be said that the bilateral economic and trade cooperation boasts great potential and promising prospects. China is willing to work with Turkey to give full play to their respective advantages, expand the bilateral trade, broaden the cooperation areas and achieve better and faster bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Xi pointed out that Turkey has superior strategic location, strong market radiation capacity and sound industrial and technological base. It has a large number of key infrastructure construction projects relating to improving people's livelihood to be implemented. China has leading technical expertise and distinctive price advantages in the sectors of infrastructure, energy and communications. The two sides enjoy great potential of cooperation in those areas. In addition, China and Turkey have strengthened cooperation in the high-tech fields, such as nuclear energy and aerospace and in the areas of green economy and new materials and cultivated new growth points of pragmatic cooperation in recent years. China will continue to encourage domestic enterprises to invest in Turkey through a variety of ways and hopes Turkey to provide better investment environment and more convenient working conditions for Chinese enterprises.
Answering the question on the Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey and the Year of Turkish Culture in China, Xi noted that it is the first time to hold such activities in the history of China-Turkey relations and it will be a major event in the bilateral relations in the next two years. The culture year activities aim at promoting China-Turkey traditional friendship, providing an important platform for cultural exchanges and enabling the two peoples to comprehensively understand the history and culture, current status and future of each other. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the Year of Chinese Culture campaign to be held in Turkey this year and will organize more than 70 outstanding cultural shows in Turkey, including music, dance, drama, literature, film and forums to display the charm and brilliance of Chinese culture to the Turkish people. Meanwhile, China looks forward to the splendid Turkish culture and art programs the Turkish government will bring to the Chinese audiences next year. He believes that the culture year activities, with the support of the two governments and the active participation of people from all walks of life, will write a glorious chapter in the history of bilateral cultural exchanges.
As to the latest developments in Xinjiang, Xi said that Xinjiang which is located in the hinterland of Eurasia is home to the Chinese people of many nationalities, an important transportation hub in Eurasia and a strategic area for China to expand opening up to a wider range of areas and at higher levels. The Chinese government has been committed to developing Xinjiang and improving the living standards of people of all nationalities there, including the Uighurs. In order to promote Xinjiang's development by leaps and bounds and realize prosperity and stability of Xinjiang, the Chinese government especially made the long-term and strategic planning in 2010 and launched a series of policies to support development in Xinjiang. The goal is to ensure Xinjiang, like the rest of the country, will achieve the target of building a well-off society in 2020.
In 2011, the growth of Xinjiang's major economic indicators made historic breakthroughs. Its GDP increased by 12% to US$104.8 billion, urban per capita disposable income grew by 13% to US$2,460 and import and export reached US$21.7 billion, up 26.6%. Throughout the year, 34 key projects were completed, 45 were started and 104 were under construction. US$26 billion of investment were materialized on key projects, hitting a historical record. Fiscal expenditure on education reached US$6.6 billion, increasing by 31.6% and 10 national-level and 38 autonomous region-level reform pilots were kicked off. Xinjiang is faced with favorable opportunities of construction, opening up and development. He believes Xinjiang will enjoy a better tomorrow. Xinjiang sincerely welcomes more Turkish businessmen to participate in the Asia-Europe Expo held in Urumqi and invest in Xinjiang for win-win outcomes.
About the role of Turkey in regional and international affairs, Xi said that Turkey is a member of the G20 and also an important emerging country and major power in the Middle East. Turkey has made long-term efforts to safeguard regional stability and promote common development over the years. It has played an active role in recent years to seek solutions to the regional and international hotspot issues, such as Afghanistan, the Iran nuclear issue and the Middle East peace process and promote the exchanges among civilizations. It will host the G20 summit in 2015. The active and flexible all-round foreign policy of Turkey enables it to play an increasingly important part in regional and international affairs. The Chinese side admires that.
Xi stressed that China and Turkey hold similar views and cooperate closely on many major international issues. Turkey played an active role and cooperated soundly with China on many major issues when serving as the non-permanent member in the UN Security Council from 2009 to 2010. As the current regional situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, China is willing to further strengthen coordination and cooperation with Turkey and join hands with countries and organizations in the region to promote peace, stability and development in the Middle East.