With the Seventeenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) drawing near, overseas readers are showing great interest in external exchanges of the CPC. People’s Daily (overseas edition) had an interview with Wang Jiarui, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC) for a detailed introduction of the Party’s work on the international front.
A paradigm of party-to-party diplomacy of Chinese style has taken shape.
Q: Could you first of all give a brief account on the general situation of the CPC’s external exchanges?
A: Sticking to the four principles of “independence, complete equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs”, the Communist Party of China actively reaches out to all political parties and organizations across the world who are willing to engage with the Party in a new type of inter-party relations of exchanges and cooperation.
At present, the CPC has established and maintains various forms of contacts, exchanges and cooperation with over 400 political parties and organizations in over 160 courtiers and regions. A paradigm of party-to-party diplomacy of Chinese style that is all dimensional, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep-going has taken shape.
Pursuing a “human-oriented” style of work, the CPC tries keenly to make as many friends as possible and to forge close ties with them. Through our work, many political heavy weights and media people who used to have prejudice towards the CPC have turned to be friends of the CPC, becoming forces friendly to China.
High-level exchanges of visits have been increasingly active in recent years.
Q: Would you please brief us on the new development in the Party’s foreign affairs work since the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC?
A: First of all, high-level exchanges of visits have been more active. Since the Sixteenth Party Congress, nearly 200 delegations led by main party leaders have visited China. Over 50 CPC delegations headed by officials at and above the Political Bureau level have paid visits to other countries. Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee have met with around 300 visiting delegations. Direct contact and dialogues between the Chinese leadership including General Secretary Hu Jiantao and party leaders of various countries have played an irreplaceable role in guiding development of party relations and state-to-state relations.
Our contacts have reached further and wider. Over the past five years, the CPC has newly established relations with nearly a hundred political parties in over 30 countries. New friends were made in South Pacific island states, the Middle East and Central America and the Caribbean.
Parties the CPC associates with cover a greater range. New development is witnessed in CPC’s relations with traditional parties like communist parties, worker’s parties, socialist parties, labor parties, and conservative parties with new breakthroughs in dealing with emerging parties such as the green parties. Relations with major political groups in the European Parliament and international organizations of political parties have also been further expanded.
The CPC’s foreign exchanges are carried out in greater depth. In addition to study tours, theoretical discussions, political dialogues, and seminars on economic and cultural cooperation, discussions are also carried out to share governance experiences, to seek solutions to international and regional issues, to explore new ways to promote state-to-state relations and to look for new means of enhancing party building.
Platforms of exchanges are more diversified. The CPC has actively attended congresses, and party newspaper festivals of foreign parties. It also volunteered to hold international conferences of political parties. In 2004, the CPC hosted the third International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), which saw the participation of over 80 political parties. According to statistics, over the past five years, over 1200 party delegations have visited China. The CPC has also been invited to send over 600 delegations abroad, making the Party’s external exchanges more active than ever.
Party diplomacy will always serve the goals of overall state diplomacy.
Q: From your briefing, we can see that the CPC’s work on the foreign front is a thriving enterprise. What is the purpose and meaning of the Party’s external work?
A: The external work of the CPC has always been an integral part of the Party’s all round effort to fulfill its general mission. Since the CPC is the ruling party, its external work is also an integral part of the overall diplomatic endeavor of the country, which always serves the interests of overall diplomacy as well as domestic development and international cooperation.
External exchanges of the CPC have been not only a major platform for the Party to observe, understand and embrace the world, but also a prime showcase to display to the international community the CPC’s image as a democratic, progressive, open-minded and innovative party that works for the interests of the public and for the well-being of the people; a showcase for the world to learn about the new theoretical findings advocated by the CPC, including the scientific outlook on development and the building of harmony through joint efforts.
Besides, the Party’s external work also provides intellectual support for the Central Committee to make analysis and judgment on the international situation, to deal with major international issues and to better run the Party and the country. We are also actively involved in important diplomatic activities of the state. Giving full play to our unique advantages of “all-whether dialogues”, “soft diplomacy” and “people relations”, at key moments when bilateral relations face difficulties or breakthroughs, we will open communication channels, seek cooperation from various parties and provide a new way for the problems to be solved.
At the same time, the Party’s foreign affairs work is also linked closely to China’s reform and development initiatives, including the Western Development strategy, Revitalization of Old Industrial Bases in China’s Northeast, Rise of Central China, Supporting Eastern Coastal Areas to Take Development Lead, etc. to serve domestic economic development.
The CPC’s external work will make new contribution to the building of a harmonious world.
Q: The Seventeenth National Congress of the CPC is to be convened soon. How will you foresee the prospects of the Party’s external work?
A: The CPC’s external work will continue to deepen in the future, with opportunities and challenges on the way. The Seventeenth National Congress of the CPC is going to be convened soon. The external work of the Party will be carried out based on review of new rules, new experiences and new features since the Sixteenth Party Congress, and serious analysis of new situation, new environment and new opportunities in order to better serve the building of a harmonious society, and the endeavor of creating a new situation in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Meanwhile, it will make new contributions to the friendly cooperation between China and the world, to the building of a harmonious world, and to peace, development and progress of mankind.