On October 30, 2022, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang gave an exclusive interview to CGTN on its special programme “A New Journey -- China’s Global Relations” (European seminar and television forum). In the interview, Ambassador Zheng highlighted the significance of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and stressed that China will respond to the external uncertainties with its own certainty, and inject positive energy into world development with its own high-quality development and high-level opening up. He also explained that Chinese path to modernisation enriches the world modernisation theory, provides a new choice for human modernisation, and will actively lead the progress of the economic globalisation as well. We hope that the UK side will work with the Chinese side in the same direction, follow the principle of mutual respect, openness, and inclusiveness, focus on cooperation, and address differences properly so that the bilateral relationship will continue to grow along a positive and constructive track. The full transcript of the interview is as follows:
Anchorperson: President Xi Jinping said at the recent CPC National Congress that China cannot develop in isolation from the world, and that the world needs China for its development. What do you – as ambassador here in London think that says about China’s future international relations? What do you expect to see the role China will play in the world in the next 5 years?
Ambassador Zheng: I think the question is about China’s foreign policy as China embarks on a new journey. President Xi Jinping in his report to the CPC National Congress has elaborated on that in a comprehensive way. Here, I want to highlight a few points:
First of all, one of the major principles of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is that we must maintain a global vision. The Communist Party of China is dedicated to pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In the meantime, the CPC is also dedicated to promoting human progress and world harmony.
In advancing modernisation, we follow the path of peaceful development. Dedicated to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, we will continue to strive for world peace and development while pursuing our own development. In the meantime, we will continue to make even greater contributions to world peace and development through our own development. All these important concepts and principles will continue to guide China’s foreign policy in the years to come.
Second, I want to give you some basic facts. Over the past 10 years, China has pursued major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics on all fronts, and you have seen that China is playing an unprecedented, active and positive role in the world. For example, China has sent more peacekeepers than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. According to the latest World Bank report, China has contributed more to global economic recovery than that of the G7 countries combined. The Belt and Road Initiative has attracted the active participation of over 180 countries and international organisations, bringing great benefits to the people along the routes.
Third, on the new journey, China will continue to strive for world peace and development and work closely with all countries in the world to build a human community with a shared future.
Looking forward into the future, China’s development and modernisation are going to generate even more opportunities for cooperation between China and other countries. And China will respond to the external uncertainties with our own stability and certainty. China will inject positive energy into the global economic recovery with our own high-quality development and high-level opening up.
So the short answer to your question is that, in the next 5 years, China’s relations with the world will be even closer. And China’s contributions to world peace and development will be even greater.
Anchorperson: Let’s talk about that a little bit more, because there was also talk of “China’s pathway to modernisation to provide a new choice for the global economy”, what does that say about perhaps a new globalisation in the future?
Ambassador Zheng: Chinese path to modernisation contains elements that are common to the modernisation processes of all countries, but is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context. President Xi Jinping also has elaborated at length on these features in his report to the National Congress. He pointed out that China’s modernisation is a modernisation of a huge population. We have over 1. 4 billion people, a number larger than that of all the developed countries combined. And our modernisation should be a modernisation of common prosperity for all our people. It should achieve a harmony between humanity and nature. And it should also coordinate material and cultural-ethical advancements. And we follow a path of peaceful development. By any standard, to achieve China’s modernisation is a miracle for mankind and a huge contribution to human progress.
Of the 193 UN members, only more than 30 are developed ones. How can developing countries achieve modernisation? This is actually a hugely important question of our times. It has been proved that every country must choose its own path to modernisation. National conditions vary from one country to another. We cannot simply copy and paste. It won’t work.
All countries must pursue the path to modernisation different from the old one of some developed countries, which achieved modernisation through war, colonisation and plunder. Problems of social polarisation, cultural impoverishment and ecological degradation should also be avoided.
We have full confidence in and are very proud of our new path to modernisation, and we will continue to learn from other countries as well. The Chinese path to modernisation enriches the world modernisation theory, provides a new choice for human modernisation, and will lead the healthy development of the economic globalisation as well.
Anchorperson: We are living through very difficult times globally and perhaps particularly here in Europe. Where are the opportunities for the UK and Europe to work with China to solve those problems?
Ambassador Zheng: There are obviously trying times. The world is full of uncertainties and challenges, but in the meantime, there are important opportunities. These are times calling for solidarity and cooperation. China and Europe, as two major forces in the world, should uphold dialogue and cooperation and oppose division and confrontation. We should champion mutual benefits and reject decoupling and disruption of industrial and supply chains. And we should uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateralism.
There will be upcoming high-level visits to Beijing by European leaders. So by working together, I’m quite sure that China and Europe can inject positive energy into this uncertain world, and will bring benefits to people in Europe and China as well as the world.
The China-UK relationship is of great importance. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. Over the past 50 years, China and the UK have conducted fruitful cooperation on people-to-people exchanges, two-way trade, two-way investments and educational exchanges. Last year, bilateral trade between China and the UK exceeded 100 billion US dollars. In the first half of this year, two-way trade in goods surpassed 50 billion US dollars. And there are 200,000 Chinese students studying here in the UK. Before the pandemic, there had been 2 million visits between our two countries every year. These figures speak volumes about the importance and mutual benefits of cooperation between China and the UK.
Going forward, there is a lot that can be done in practical cooperation between China and the UK. The two countries are well positioned to enhance exchanges and cooperation in trade, investment, new energy, finance, education, culture, climate response and other areas. All this requires concerted efforts of China and the UK.
In my personal engagement with the people here across the sectors in the UK, there is a common understanding that the two countries should work together. China does not pose any threat to the UK but represents the future and opportunities. I hope politicians and policy makers in this country will keep in line with this common understanding and make right decisions on China-UK relations.
China-UK relations are at an important juncture. The UK now has a new government. We hope that the UK side will work closely with the Chinese side in the same direction, follow the principles of mutual respect, openness, and inclusiveness, focus on cooperation, and manage differences properly so that this bilateral relationship will continue to grow along a positive and constructive track. As ambassador, I will spare no effort in enhancing mutual understanding and corporation.
On October 31, local time, the special programme “A New Journey -- China’s Global Relations” (European seminar and television forum) was officially launched in London, the UK. A number of well-known experts and scholars from the UK, Germany, Denmark, Greece and other European countries had in-depth discussions on China’s extraordinary change over the past decade in the new era, contribution of Chinese wisdom on governance to global governance, China’s solutions to global problems and other hot topics. The participants gained a deeper understanding of the historical mission of the CPC on a new journey in the new era and China's historic task of building China into a modern socialist country in all respects in the next 5 years. “China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa.” Experts from around the world agree that the just-concluded 20th National Congress of the CPC will have a more far-reaching impact worldwide.
Click for the interview: