BEIJING, Jan. 14 -- In an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency, Minister Wang Jiarui of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee said that the Party's external work over the year 2008 played a constructive role in promoting China's overall development programme from both national and international dimensions.
Reviewing 2008 as an extraordinary year for the Chinese nation on its journey of rejuvenation, Wang said that the year that had just passed was riddled with overwhelming events, responsible tasks, and daunting hardships. However, said Wang, that under the correct leadership of the CPC Central Committee, China triumphed over all big challenges.
2008 was also a special year for the Party in terms of its external sector. Wang said that his Department had exerted much effort focusing on the key tasks of the Party and the nation, and in light of the overall situation at home and in the world. Their efforts not only added flesh to the Party's external exchanges, but also facilitated China's domestic development. It is fair to say that the International Department has pulled its weight on all the major undertakings of the year.
Minister Wang said that party-to-party exchanges are an important channel to connect China with the rest of the world. The world's reaction to what happened in China in 2008 and the impact of international issues on our country were all reflected in inter-party exchanges, which gave us a keen understanding of how "extraordinary" the year has been.
2008 has seen growing ties and deepening friendship between the CPC and parties of other countries. Wang said that on the outbreak of the March 14 incident in Lasha and the massive earthquake in Wenchuan, we immediately communicated with foreign political parties by writing letters, sending emails, holding meetings, or dispatching working missions to fill them in on the truth of the incidents and allow them to appreciate the grave concerns of the Chinese side, so as to avoid misunderstanding. Upon learning the outbreak of the Wenchuan earthquake, many foreign political parties, including quite a number from least developed countries and regions, offered with no hesitation material assistance to and showed solidarity with China, which reflected their profound sentiments towards the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people.
On high-level inter-party exchanges, Wang said that top leaders of the CPC, during their foreign visits, held a keen attitude to conducting in-depth exchange of views with their counterparts on international and regional issues of common interest. It was through such in-depth discussions that some important strategic issues were settled, generating significant strategic impact. In 2008, quite a few CPC delegations went on foreign missions, which were headed respectively by senior Party leaders including Li Changchun, He Guoqiang, and Zhou Yongkang, as well Liu Qi, Liu Yunshan, Li Yuanchao, Zhang Gaoli, Yu Zhengsheng, and He Yong. We also received a number of high-level party delegations led by their leaders such as General Secretary Nong Duc Manh of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, President Sonia Gandhi of the Indian National Congress, and President Jacob Zuma of the African National Congress of South Africa.
"These high-level exchanges provide opportunities for parties involved not only to compare notes on the major direction and new ideas in promoting the development of bilateral relationship on both party and the state levels, but also worked to further expand substantive cooperation and build up business ties." Wang said.
Talking about the role of party diplomacy in promoting concrete cooperation, Wang said that with the current financial crisis spreading all over the world, the role of party diplomacy in promoting economic and trade cooperation is becoming more obvious. Taking Africa as an example, Wang said, we have tried to find opportunities of business cooperation between China and Africa during the exchange of party delegations. Moreover, together with the Zhejiang Provincial People's government, we jointly hosted the "China-Africa SME Cooperation Forum" in Wenzhou, in an attempt to match the needs of Chinese companies and those in Africa. Such efforts not only are contributive to African countries' economic and social development, but also can help Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises to find new markets to expand their room for further development.
Commenting on the Party's external work over the past 30 years since reform and opening-up, Wang said that the external work of the CPC has been performed in close keeping with the central tasks of the Party and the nation and in step with the ups and downs of the era. Efforts in party diplomacy are not merely confined to safeguarding national interests and promoting state relations, but rather are exerted more in sharing experience with other parties in running party and state affairs, and in building a sound reputation of the Party in the world. As part of the Party's external work, serious studies have been conducted on prominent issues such as foreign and security strategies, to provide references to the central leadership for their decision-making. Apart from that, systematic research programs are also carried out on the concepts, institutions, modes and laws of governance of foreign ruling parties in a bid to provide intellectual support to the CPC for enhancing its ruling capacity and consolidating its ruling status.
Up to date, the number of political parties and organizations that are associated with the CPC in different forms has reached 528 and they cover 166 countries and regions in the world. A new scheme of all-dimensional, multi-channeled, wide-ranging and deep-going foreign relations of the CPC oriented to mainstream political parties in various countries as well as international and regional party organizations has taken shape.
As an undertaking of the whole Party, the CPC's external work needs the participation and support of the whole of the party. Wang said that the support, cooperation and help from other national organs and local committees of the Party and foreign affairs offices of provinces are an important source of strength for the constant development of the Party's external work. In September 2008, the International Department held a symposium on the Party's external work, which summarized what the CPC has traversed and achieved in this endeavor, and raised proposals for fraternal departments to strengthen coordination against the new situation to boost the Party's external work. This symposium is of great significance to promoting comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development of the Party's external work under new historical conditions.
Talking about the upcoming year, Wang said that 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China. More efforts will be made in implementing the important decisions and plans of the central leadership regarding foreign affairs, and both domestic and international perspectives will be taken into consideration, so as to make bigger contribution to the building of the Party and the development of the nation.