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World community for shared future

Sanju Prasad
Saturday, January 27, 2018

China's vision of making development people-centred is beginning to pay dividends. Over the past five years, China has been able to bail out more than 60 million people from poverty and create 13 million urban jobs annually.

While significant progress has been made in the fight against poverty, China has set an ambitious goal to eradicate poverty by 2020.

Its remarkable progress in the development of the education sector, improvement in law and order and national security, and government-subsidised housing projects to ensure basic needs are met, cannot go unnoticed either.

Today, even though China stands tall among other developed countries, their hands are stretched out to assist developing countries in the Pacific Islands. These were the sentiments shared by Xu Xueyuan, the deputy director-general of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China to journalists from the Pacific Islands who visited China from December 11 to 15 last year.

The purpose of the visit was to promote better communication between China and the media from Pacific Island countries (PIC) and to help PIC media better understand China's overall foreign policies, especially policies towards economic and social development as well as Chinese history and culture.

Ms Xu said it was important for developing countries to have more connections with each other to share experiences and help each other.

"One important thing is that we are stronger than what we were 50 years ago and we think that if needed, we would love to share our experiences with other developing countries," she said.

Interest in PICs

China simply wants to help developing nations prosper. They have managed to achieve a lot of positives in a very short span and are ready to share their models and ideas with interested countries.

"That does not mean that we want to impose our experiences and our model on anybody else. If asked, we would like to share our experiences, our theory of how to improve the living standards of the people," Ms Xu said.

She said in President Xi Jinping's 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China report, he made it clear that if China got stronger, it would be in a better position to help other countries.

"But assistance from China is different from assistance from other Western countries and we do not ask for free conditions for foreign assistance.

"We offer our assistance on the basis of mutual respect and common interests. So this is a basic concept why China is interested in the Pacific Island countries. We want to make sure that our foreign assistance can benefit people," she said.

While admitting that China to some extent did benefit from the foreign assistance they provided, Ms Xu said this was a very open procedure and there was nothing to hide.

World community of

shared future

Over the years, China has become more visible among PICs. It has assisted many PICs build roads and buildings apart from the financial aid they have given.

"Now we have this notion or concept, we think everybody in the world shares the same future and all countries on this Earth need to work together to make sure that the future will benefit everybody," Ms Xu said.

She said China was promoting this idea of world community of shared future. Because China believed all stakeholders had a very good chance of achieving these goals by working together with everybody.

"We think it is very important for those developing countries to have more connections with each other, to share more experiences with each other and help each other," she said.

Development a top priority

To bring about economic growth and to improve the lives of people, development is the key driver. Development comes in different forms and each nation has to weigh the kind of development they need to embark on to bring about positive changes.

"It's true that we share a lot of common interests. Development is always the most important area and domestically, development is the top priority for our government," Ms Xu said

"We believe in the world, for many other countries, development is the top priority for their governments. Even in developed countries like the United States, European countries, development is still a problem.

"Development can help solve lots of issues, for example terrorism. A lot of people question the value of globalisation, but we believe that the ultimate purpose of globalisation is leaving nobody behind, everybody should benefit from globalisation. Equality and more balanced the development is what we very much support," she said.

Belt and road initiative

China believes connectivity is very important in achieving economic prosperity. Their belt and road initiative has not only benefitted China, but it has also improved the living standards of the whole neighbourhood.

"In China we say if you want to get rich, you need to build roads first because roads mean more connectivity," Ms Xu said

"For example if a farmer wants to export his produce, if there are no good roads, nobody would want to visit his farm. There is no way for him to get out his product. It's a very simple link. So that's the reason we introduced the belt and road initiative."

She said she hoped many countries could benefit from this initiative, but made it clear that it was not a strategy that China would use for geographical dominance.

"The way of carrying out this project is to consult all participants with the concept of mutual benefit by working together. This is not that China worked out a plan and imposed the plan on somebody else.

"Also, the belt and road initiative is not only about roads, it's also about dialogue on policies and concept of governance and also about people to people exchange, not just about the more flow of goods, it's also about more opportunities for people to understand each other," she said.

More than donors

"I think we want to be more. We want to be more than donors, we want to be partners. For example people to people exchange.

"I think the visit by this group is a very good example of people to people exchange," Ms Xu said.

"When I say we want to be more than donors, we want to partner on the issue of climate change. We know that there are serious concerns about climate change in your country because of your very special condition."

She said the Chinese people also cared about climate change because they wanted to have cleaner water, cleaner air and fresh air. This was something that the Chinese people attached more importance to.

"We have been keeping very close contact with representatives from island countries, especially Fiji.

"The honourable Prime Minster of Fiji is the chair of COP23 and we worked closely with the team from Fiji to make sure the COP23 conference was a big success. Actually our team in Bonn worked very closely with your team. So there are so much common language on many issues," she said.

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