Innovation and Progress upon the New Historic Starting Point

The external work of the Communist Party of China has made new headway in promoting relations between China and other countries. Arrangements of institutionalized exchanges between the CPC and major political parties of major countries have initially taken shape. Exchanges with ruling parties of the socialist countries are growing in a comprehensive and in-depth way. Relations with parties in neighboring countries are further consolidated, and new progress has been achieved in relations with parties of other developing countries.

In 2009, the world lent more attention to China and the CPC, and the international community followed closely the Party's increasingly active exchanges with foreign counterparts. At the end of the year, staff correspondents of the People's Daily made a special interview on the external work of the CPC with Minister Wang Jiarui who is in charge of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.

Correspondents: Minister, would you first outline the external work of the CPC in 2009?

Wang Jiarui: For China, as much as the world, the year 2009 was extraordinary. It was a year when the international financial crisis continued to spread around the globe, the remolding of the international system picked up pace, and political parties around the world witnessed more interaction of ideas and policies.

The People's Republic of China celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding in 2009 with world-renowned achievements in development, and thus, concepts like "China model" or "China road" have become ever more intriguing to the outside. The world is looking more attentively at China and its ruling party.

Facing changes in the world situation, changes in China's own domestic condition and fresh development of the Party itself, and standing at a new historic starting point, the external work of the Party further expanded the latest achievements of the study and practice of the Scientific Outlook on Development. Based on the better understanding of both domestic and international situation, it sticks to innovation and reform, identifying the areas and focuses of work in the layout of the country's overall diplomatic endeavor. By actively exploring new opportunities, ways, measures and mechanisms of the work in the new situation, CPC's diplomacy turned out to be well oriented, better-targeted, more flexible and effective in 2009. It was more responsive in coping with the international situation and handling international affairs.

In 2009, the CPC made a step forward in institutionalized exchanges with major political parties of some countries. It further deepened political mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation with parties of the socialist countries, the neighboring countries and the developing countries. It continued to expand exchanges with international or regional organizations of political parties. Its constructive role in solving hot and sensitive issues was further enhanced. The external work of the Party made new contribution to safeguarding the sovereignty, security and development interests of China, to promoting long-term, healthy and stable progress of China's state-to-state relations with other countries, and to projecting a sound image of the CPC in the world.

Correspondents: It has always been the fundamental responsibility of the Party's external work to serve the central tasks of the CPC and the country. The international and domestic situation in 2009 both required efforts to cope with the world financial crisis. Minister, would you please introduce the contribution of the Party's external work in this regard in 2009?

Wang Jiarui: An important responsibility of the external work of the Party is to judge the international situation with a broad global vision and a scientific approach, so as to provide information and suggestions for the Party's decision-making. This year, we conducted deep-going and solidly-based researches and study on the development and impact of the international financial crisis. Being a ruling party, the CPC made it an important topic for party-to-party exchanges to discuss with foreign political parties and political leaders the development of the crisis, reflection over its root cause, searching for the way out and the experience of tackling the crisis.

The 5th Theoretical Seminar of the CPC and the Communist Party of Vietnam held in December 2009 was rightly themed by "the theory and practice for tackling the financial crisis". Party scholars from both sides had a profound discussion and put forth advices for the two countries to handle the crisis together. The seminar proved a full success.

Because of its appropriate and effective measures taken against the crisis, China took the lead in economic recovery and it has been more frequently regarded as a stabilizer for the world economy. Therefore, the trend and mode of the country's economic development have attracted world-wide attention. When we conducted inter-party exchanges, we extensively, comprehensively and thoroughly introduced the measures and positive outcome of the effort taken by the Party and the Government of China in confronting the crisis. We discussed and clarified issues of concern or doubt to foreign political parties or political leaders. This has increased the understanding of the international community about China and boosted their confidence in cooperation with our country.

Joining hands to fight the crisis and strive for development is the consistent topic of the high-level inter-party exchanges in 2009. General Secretary Hu Jintao and other leaders of the Party and the country attach high importance to the external work of the Party. They met with many visiting leaders of foreign political parties and statesmen, exchanged views with them on the international financial crisis, strategies to face the crisis and prospects of future cooperation.

Leaders of the Party's Central Committee including Li Changchun, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang paid visits to countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. During their visits, they had in-depth exchanges with party leaders, and had wide contact with different social sectors of the host countries, thus deepening political mutual trust and consolidating the political basis for bilateral relations. They have also directly facilitated the solution of some major economic and trade issues.

Helping to match the needs of different sides in economic and trade cooperation through the channel of party-to-party exchanges is another highlight of the CPC's external work in 2009, given the background of the global financial crisis. Events like the 2nd China-Russia Forum of Political Parties, China-Arab/Africa Medium & Small Businesses Cooperation Forum, and Seminar on Tourism and Trade in South Africa were new and useful platforms for Chinese businesses to tackle the financial crisis and boost economic and trade collaboration with relevant countries and regions. In particular, the 2nd China-Russia Forum of Political Parties with the theme of promoting economic cooperation in the border areas of the two countries was held with the joint effort of the CPC and the United Russia Party in Suifenhe City of Heilongjiang Province, on the eve of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to China. The Forum was participated by over 100 representatives, including local administrative leaders, legislatures and entrepreneurs in addition to members of the two parties' central leadership and officials of relevant government authorities of both countries. The two sides conducted in-depth discussions on a whole array of topics related to strategic planning of development in the border areas, outstanding issues and problems of economic collaboration in the region, and legislative and institutional innovation for spurring economic cooperation there. During the Forum, the entrepreneurs were also actively involved in commercial and trade activities and reached agreements or intentions of cooperation of several programs.

When making arrangement of outbound visits for the Party's local committee leaders, we included economic and trade agenda tailored to specific conditions. For example, collaboration programs with relevant countries have been successfully promoted concerning water-conserving agriculture, which are key areas of economic cooperation for provinces in West China.

Correspondents: The external work of the Party has proven important as the propeller and stabilizer of state-to-state relations between China and the rest of the world. You have made use of the strengths of party diplomacy in 2009 and gained new achievements. Would you please elaborate on it?

Wang Jiarui: In 2009, new explorations have been made to promote state-to-state relations between China and other countries through the external work of the Party, resulting in the following development.

First, A pattern of institutionalized exchanges between the CPC and major foreign political parties is initially taking shape. In 2009, when we handled bilateral relations with major countries, more attention was paid to the positive role of their ruling parties and therefore, we steadily advanced the institutional exchanges with the major political parties of some major countries. The mechanism of dialogue between the ruling parties of China and Russia has been formally launched and we signed a new agreement and MOU on cooperation with the United Russia Party, which effectively boosted the overall development of relations between the two countries.

In the first half of 2009, the CPC held the 4th meeting of the Exchange Mechanism of China-Japan Ruling Parties with the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito Party of Japan. The parties discussed ways to deepen China-Japan relations under new circumstances. In the latter half of the year, government changed hands in Japan. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the country's new ruling party, held the 3rd meeting of the two parties' exchange mechanism with the CPC, which helped to consolidate the sound momentum of China-Japan relations after the DPJ took office. Not long ago, DPJ Secretary-General Ichiro Ozawa led some 140 members of the Japanese Diet to visit China. The meeting of the CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao with the delegation was a strong impetus for stable progress of relations between China and Japan.

Our relations with major political parties of major European countries and with party groups in the European Parliament continue to grow. Attending 3rd Forum of China-UK Leadership of the Future in Britain in September 2009, we keep upgrading the mechanism of exchanges with the three major political parties in the UK and cementing the consensus on cooperation with China among the three parties. In October, a delegation of the French Union for a Popular Movement visited China. The party signed a Memorandum on Exchanges and Cooperation with the CPC, to join efforts for sound development of China-France relations in the future.

Second, Exchanges with ruling parties of the socialist countries are growing deeper in all areas. 2009 was a year when we had frequent exchanges of delegations with ruling political parties of the four socialist countries, namely Vietnam, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Laos and Cuba. Such engagements have enriched contents of cooperation. More in-depth exchanges of views on governance experience were made. Bilateral relationship further developed. The visit of General Secretary Choummaly of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and President of Laos to China uplifted the bilateral ties between China and Laos to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which symbolized a new stage of the party-to-party and state-to-state relations of the two countries.

Third, Relations with parties of the neighboring countries have been further consolidated. We also increased mutual visits of party delegations with major parties of neighboring countries, including the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. This kind of communication has elevated our good-neighborly relations, amplified pragmatic cooperation and strengthened bilateral ties between China and the respective countries.

Fourth, new progress has been achieved in relations with parties of the developing countries. 2009 was the final year for implementing the outcome of Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Inter-party relations with African political parties have served as an effective driving force for the new strategic partnership between China and African nations. Engagement with Latin American political parties also progressed in a sound manner with more focus on pragmatic collaboration. The contact between the CPC and political parties in Eastern Europe was highlighted with efforts to increase mutual confidence and cast away misunderstanding. We made new headway in tapping party-to-party exchanges with the Baltic countries and relevant work added new dynamic to China's relations with these countries.

In 2009, we also made extra effort to foster relations with individual political figures. Such a "people first" strategy is meant to put in place new channels of engagement for nurturing new friendship, and to come up with new methods for deepening friendly relations. With relentless efforts we have made friends with a large number of foreign statesmen. These connections cultivated throughout the year will help to maintain long-term growth of state-to-state relations.

Correspondents: Minister, please elaborate the positive role of the external work of the Party in facilitating the solution of some sensitive issues related to China, helping to settle international hot spot problems and working out thorny issues in China's bilateral relations with some countries.

Wang Jiarui: We played a positive role concerning regional and international hot issues. We had various kinds of in-depth discussions with political parties of relevant countries and some international political party organizations, exchanged information, and expounded on our principled stance in order to explore areas where interests of different sides converge. We played our unique role on issues like climate change, the nuclear issues of DPRK and Iran, the issue of Darfur, the conflict between Palestine and Israel, India-Pakistan relations, and the situations in Myanmar and Nepal. We also worked on thorny issues in China's bilateral relations with some countries, helping to expel negative factors to promote healthy development of the state-to-state relations.

Correspondents: We notice new methods were adopted in the external work of the Party to build up a sound image of the CPC in the international community. Minister, we would like to hear your introduction in this regard.

Wang Jiarui: 2009 was a year that brought the CPC and the outside world to closer mutual understanding, and the international influence of the CPC has been further raised. On bilateral or multi-lateral occasions, and during activities of regional scale over the year, we made active response to international views on the CPC and projected a sound image of a democratic, progressive, open-minded and innovative CPC that works for the interests of the public and for the well-being of the people.

On the one hand, we began construction of a multi-dimensional stage for information communication of the CPC to the outside world. In 2009, some functional departments of the CPC Central Committee had direct contact with foreign political parties and party leaders for deep-going dialogues on key topics about the CPC that were of interest to different foreign political parties. Meanwhile, CPC's local committees were also keen to have external engagement to showcase the performance and style of work of party establishments at different local levels and of their leading cadres as well as ordinary Party members, so that the world can have a more vivid idea about the CPC.

On the other hand, we also worked hard to explore new ways of channeling information of the Party to the outside world. Immediately after the convention of the 4th Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, in cooperation with relevant Central Committee departments, the International Department held briefings for foreign diplomatic corps and mainstream foreign media on major issues of interest to the international community related to the Session. By providing authoritative explanations, the briefings met satisfactory response.

We invited ambassadors and diplomats accredited to China from Arab states to visit the countryside in suburban Beijing. The diplomats talked to Party members at the grassroots, paid home visits to ordinary farmers and gained genuine and first-hand knowledge about the Party building of the CPC at the grassroots level.

We have also invited KBS, the ROK public broadcaster, and NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting organization, to make profiles of the Party, including the one entitled "the Communist Party of China in Changes". These have aroused positive response after they were aired in foreign countries.

Correspondents: Minister, before we conclude, would you share with us the outline of the Party's external work for 2010?

Wang Jiarui: 2010 is the last year in the "Eleventh Five-Year Program for National Development" and also an important time for drafting the "Twelfth Five-Year Program". The Party's external work is faced with further tasks under the new situation, new goals and the new expectations of the international community. The work will continue to be guided by the Scientific Outlook on Development, better understand China's domestic condition and the international situation, and further enhance the Party's ability to engage with the external world. Our work will serve as an important platform for the Party to observe, to understand and to embrace the world. It will serve as a key intellectual support for the Central Committee to make sound judgment of the world situation and improve the building of the Party. It will be a key channel to project the CPC to the international community. And it will be an indispensable frontline of the general diplomatic layout of the country.

We believe that with the direct leadership and personal involvement of the Central Committee led by General Secretary Hu Jintao, the external work of the Party will make new and historic contribution to the building of a well-off society in a comprehensive way, to a sound external environment for the rapid socialist modernization process in China, to the overall diplomatic effort of the country, and to the development of the cause of the Party.



  Source: People's Daily