In an exclusive interview on June 26th with Li Jinjun, vice-minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC) at the margins of the "2010 Yangzhou and Gulf Arab States Petrochemical Industrial Cooperation Forum", he talked to this website about the external relations of the CPC, promoting trade through inter-party relations and friendly exchanges between China and Arab countries.
Correspondent: We know that the International Department of the CPC Central Committee is a functional organ of the Party in charge of its external relations. However, we have also noticed that the IDCPC has been increasingly involved in trade promotion activities. What are the considerations behind?
Li: Since the reform and opening up, the outlook of China has undergone profound changes, and so has the external work of the CPC in both content and form. The primary task of the CPC, as the ruling party, is economic development. As the functional organ of the CPC Central Committee responsible for its external relations, the IDCPC must also change its focus of work according to changing priorities of the Party. As a result, in recent years, in addition to day-to-day communications with foreign political parties and organizations, we have also taken upon serving domestic economic development as one of our priories.
The IDCPC has made some meaningful explorations in this respect in recent years. For example, after the outbreak of the international financial crisis, many small and medium sized enterprises in the coastal provinces of China met great difficulties due to shrinking traditional markets and the lack of discovery of emerging markets. These SMEs were at a loss. Against this background, the IDCPC and Zhejiang Province jointly held "China-Africa SME Cooperation Forum" in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, in 2008. Thanks to the channel of inter-party exchanges with Africa, the IDCPC invited ruling African parties to bring their businessmen to the forum. Through the feedbacks from officials in Zhejiang, we know that SMEs, those in foreign trade in particular, regarded the forum as "timely rain", which opened their eyes on the great potential and tremendous business opportunities of the African market that filled them with hope. The "China-Arab/Africa Medium and Small Businesses Cooperation Forum", as a follow-up event in Ningbo in 2009, was an equal success.
Correspondent: In May this year, the China-Arab Cooperation Forum was held in Tianjin. In June the first round of Strategic Dialogue between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was held in Beijing. These two important meetings brought relations between China and Arab countries and the Gulf States to the spotlight. Could you make some elaborations on that?
Li: Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Gulf States, bilateral relations have been developing very fast. Into the new century, relations between China and the Gulf States have entered a new period of comprehensive, fast and in-depth development. The two sides have maintained sound coordination and cooperation on a series of major international and regional issues. The first Strategic Dialogue between China and the GCC in June was of great significance, which opened a new chapter in bilateral relations.
The Gulf States did not know much about China in the past, let alone the Communist Party of China. In recent years, as China opens up wider to the outside world, the CPC is also increasingly open. The Gulf States began to realize that it is under the leadership of the CPC that China is undergoing great changes. Just as Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates rightly pointed out at the forum, "we have begun to feel that the CPC is a great strategic designer of a rapidly developing big country".
As they began to understand and then recognize the governance philosophy of the CPC, the Gulf States also realized the necessity of accelerating the development of sound relations with China. In economic terms, the Gulf States and China are highly complementary, with increasing economic mutual dependence. Both sides expect more cooperation in energy, trade and other areas. In addition to political mutual trust, economic complementarity, the two sides also think it is necessary to promote cultural cooperation and the exchanges between the two great civilizations of the Chinese civilization and the Arab Islam civilization.
Correspondent: The IDCPC has held a number of activities this year. Are there more to come?
Li: Indeed this year is a very busy year for the external activities of the Party. In addition to high-level inter-party exchanges and regular dialogue mechanisms with big parties in big countries, we still have in store a series of activities to promote cooperation with foreign political parties and build platforms of economic cooperation. Following this Forum in Yangzhou, we also plan to hold a Poverty Alleviation Conference of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in Yunnan shortly. It is the common view of major political parties in Asia that poverty reduction should be made the priority of work. The conference will provide a platform for Asian political parties to share experiences in poverty reduction and share China's achievements in this respect.
Besides, we also plan to host the first China-Africa Agricultural Forum in Changchun in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Jilin People's Government. Government and party officials and agriculture ministers from nearly 20 African countries will be invited to the forum. We hope that through the forum we will have in-depth discussions with African ruling parties on strengthening agricultural cooperation with the purpose of helping Africa realize food security and promoting local development.
Correspondent: This year is the 89th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Next year will be the CPC's 90th birthday. Will the IDCPC have any activities in this regard?
Li: The IDCPC serves the Party's external relations. We are thinking about how to celebrate our Party's 90th birthday with our work.
Since the reform and opening up, there have been fundamental changes in the guiding ideas and principles of work in the CPC's external exchanges. How we go about the Party's external relations and with whom we associate with have also seen profound changes. Two of the most eye-catching changes are, first, as I mentioned above, we are more sensitive to serve the priority of the Party, namely economic development. Second, we also focus on how to consolidate the ruling position of the Party through its external relations.
The Communist Party of China is an old party with nearly 100 years of history. To consolidate the CPC's ruling foundation, we must demonstrate to the Chinese people and people around the world through our real actions that the CPC is fully capable of leading the Chinese people from one victory to another. We must put in real efforts around the priorities of the Party.
Economic development, top priority of the Party, is promoted on many fronts, and local economy is one of them. Over recent years, we have given more attention to the platform of inter-party exchanges to serve local economic development. We held this forum in Yangzhou in order to build bridges liking domestic and foreign businesses according to the future development needs of Yangzhou, especially in the petrochemical industry. We think that the IDCPC can build bridges and platforms of cooperation so that Chinese and foreign local governments and enterprises could demonstrate themselves and explore possibilities of cooperation. Quite a few Gulf States have realized through these exchanges that China is extraordinary, the CPC is extraordinary, and cooperation with China enjoys guarantee. In the future we will continue to work with local governments and relevant ministries to consolidate the Party's ruling position and foundation through serving local development.
Moreover, the IDCPC is also actively engaged in getting the information about the Party out to demonstrate to the world the philosophy and means of governance of the CPC, to showcase how Party committees at various levels are focusing on economic development and the purpose of serving the people. We hope that through these real efforts, the IDCPC will be able to make its own contributions to celebrate the 90th birthday of the Party.
Source: News of the Communist Party of China