For New Progress in the CPC's External Work
— Interview with Minister Wang Jiarui by People's Daily

People's Daily: The 17th National Congress of the CPC has been the prime event of the year for the Party and the nation, and has been an outstanding happening in party politics in the world. What contribution has the Party's diplomatic front made to the success of the Congress?

Wang Jiarui: The 17th CPC Congress was one of great importance held at a crucial stage of China's reform and development. Our main job this year on the diplomatic front has been focused on the preparation for and publicity of the Congress, and on the study and implementation of its spirit. In our inter-party exchanges, we have tried to tell our friends in the international community through different channels and in different ways about the latest achievements of our party in theoretical and practical innovation, such as the Scientific Outlook on Development, and also about what the Congress was designed for and what it would mean to China and to the world, enabling foreign political parties and political leaders to better follow and be better informed about this Congress. In a bid to facilitate preparation for the Congress and contribute to the Party's theoretical innovation, we have strengthened research on experience of foreign political parties in their self-improvement efforts and in administration of state affairs, and have closely followed the latest trend of foreign political thinking and developments of party politics in the world with a view to providing intellectual support to the leading bodies of the Party in making decisions from a strategic perspective.

After the successful conclusion of the Congress and as instructed by the Central Committee, we organized timely briefings to our international friends. Two members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee went on separate tours to the DPRK, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba, to brief party and state leaders of the four socialist countries on the outcome of the Congress. In the meantime, relevant information was provided to other foreign political parties and political leaders through exchange of visits, and to over 130 foreign diplomatic missions stationed in China through collective briefing sessions. All these efforts were well received and commended by the recipients.

People's Daily: Every day during the Congress, People's Daily published dozens of congratulatory messages from foreign political parties and political leaders, which gave rise to a flurry of comments from readers home and abroad. How do you read that?

Wang Jiarui: My department – the International Department of the CPC Central Committee -- was in charge of receiving and handling letters and messages of congratulations from foreign political parties. We could see that this Congress has attracted unprecedented attention from the international community. Throughout the Congress, we received altogether more than 640 letters and messages of congratulations from over 310 foreign political parties and organizations of over 150 countries, either on the Congress itself or on the election of the new CPC leadership. In their letters and messages, many foreign political parties spoke highly of the achievements that the CPC has scored as a ruling party and expressed appreciation for its domestic and foreign policies established at the Congress, saying that they are confident in China's future development, and are willing to strengthen inter-party relations with the CPC and continue to share experience in exercising governance. Through the Congress, the CPC is better known to the world 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, and our road to socialism with Chinese characteristics is increasingly acknowledged by the international community.

People's Daily: 2007 is now drawing to an end. What progress has been made in the Party's external work in this past year amidst complicated international situation and ever changing political landscape around the world?

Wang Jiarui: This year, the global situation of political parties has on the whole remained stable with certain changes taken place in some parts of the world. Globalization is bringing about profound transformation in party politics, whose interaction with international relations is getting more prominent and thus inter-party exchanges worldwide become more active and deep going.

The external work of the CPC is an integral part of the Party's all round effort to fulfill its general mission and an important front of the overall diplomacy of the nation. It is also a vital field for building up China's soft power. Under the guidance of the Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as the general secretary and with personal attention of its leading members, the Party's external work this year has been carried out according to the overall diplomatic plan of the country and has played an important role in consolidating and promoting China's relations with other countries and in creating a sound external environment for our nation.

We have added new forms and substance to our relations with ruling political parties in other socialist countries, and deepened our traditional friendship with them. Meanwhile, steady progress has been made in developing relations with political parties in our neighbours, major countries in particular. About 300 visits have been conducted between the CPC and foreign parties during the year, about 1/3 of which were with parties of our neighboring countries, and many by senior leaders, which have markedly deepened political mutual trust of both sides. Association with political parties in developing countries has further consolidated and expanded, with over 120 visits exchanged, which has effectively enhanced China's bilateral political, economic and cultural ties with those countries and has strengthened the strategic foundation of China's foreign relations. Exchanges and dialogue with mainstream political parties in developed countries have also continued to deepen, which has facilitated bilateral relations between China and relevant countries and helped remove mistrust and misunderstanding of the Western world toward China. Relations with political parties in major European countries have been further enhanced with fruitful communications on governance philosophy and international hotspot issues. In addition, we have played a more active role in multilateral inter-party exchanges and have strengthened contacts with international and regional party organizations. In the past year, CPC representatives have been sent to attend more than 20 multi-lateral activities of political parties.

People's Daily: Would you please elaborate on the most eye-catching achievements that the Party's external work has registered in this year?

Wang Jiarui: Firstly, new breakthrough was made in mechanism building for inter-party exchanges. As our Party is growing mature in its external exchanges, we have made constant efforts to explore new ways and new forms to engage with foreign political parties and have gradually formed some effective bilateral exchange mechanisms that are suitable to both sides, such as the regular engagements with political parties in Vietnam, Laos, Japan and some other neighboring countries, major political parties in European countries and ruling parties in some developing countries as well. Apart from that, exchange of visits on regular basis, joint-sponsorship of seminars and monographic study tours etc. have all enriched the content and consolidated the foundation of inter-party relations.

Secondly, party diplomacy has played a greater role in the overall diplomatic programme of the nation in more areas. Apart from propelling state-to-state relations, party diplomacy, with its special potentials and resources, has also served as a catalyst for solving sticky problems in foreign relations. Through inter-party exchanges, we have actively expounded China's principled position on Taiwan and enabled foreign political parties to keenly understand this question. We have tried especially to lay bare to foreign political parties what is behind the Taiwan Authorities' attempts at holding "Taiwan-Africa Summit" and calling for "referendum on Taiwan's UN membership", and encouraged political parties and leaders of certain countries to state their position to adhere to the One-China principle and to clearly oppose "Taiwan independence". Besides, we have closely followed the developments of international hot spot issues, taken timely actions according to the general plans of the central authorities and played a unique and effective role for their settlement.

Thirdly, new measures have been taken to promote human-centred party diplomacy. The essential argument of the Scientific Outlook on Development is to put people in the first place. In the Party's external work this year, we have continued to make more friends in foreign political parties, to foster more sinophile forces in the world, and have increased initiative and efficiency in building relations with political personages in other countries by making the best of "soft diplomacy" and "personal ties". In our association with foreign parties, we have given a more prominent place to those parties in government and have paid special attention to exchanges with young political leaders. Over the year, we have invited more than 500 young politicians from major foreign political parties to China, to ensure that our inter-party relations will be carried on by future generations.

People's Daily: Currently, the entire membership of the CPC are going all out to study and implement the spirit of the 17th Congress with an aim to promote sound and rapid development in all fields. What new plans do you have to promote the Party's external work in the year to come?

Wang Jiarui: 2008 will mark the 30th anniversary of the inception of reform and opening-up in China. It will also be the first year for fully carrying out all the tasks identified by the 17th Party Congress. Holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese Characteristics, following the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents and thoroughly applying the Scientific Outlook on Development, the Congress has pointed out the way ahead for future development of the Party and the nation, and has provided guidance for the Party's external work in the new era. In the year to come, we will continue to rally ourselves around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Hu Jintao as the general secretary and profoundly understand and put into practice the spirit of the Congress, bear in mind what the Congress calls for, thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development and take into full consideration our overriding objectives both at home and in the world. In a view to building up the Party's capacity for international exchanges, we will look into our past experience and draw serious lessons that are instructive to the Party's external work, try and expand the scope of work in party diplomacy, explore new ways, forms and mechanisms for carrying out our work under new circumstances, and work hard for real effects so as to advance the Party's external work to a new stage and make greater contribution to the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and to the great new endeavor of party building of the CPC.


  Source: People's Daily