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Ambassador Chen Xiaodong Received a Written Interview with Singapore's Newspaper TODAY
2015/10/10

On 10th Oct, Ambassador Chen Xiaodong received a written interview with Singapore's newspaper TODAY:

With the Joint Council of Bilateral Cooperation Meeting coming up this month, what issues are expected to be discussed? What are the areas of focus for Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli’s visit?

A: From October 12 to 14, Mr Zhang Gaoli, Vice-Premier of the State Council, will visit Singapore and co-chair with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean the annual meetings of China-Singapore cooperation mechanisms. It is the first visit by a Chinese leader after the establishment of the new Singaporean Cabinet. During the visit, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They will exchange views on further promoting bilateral relations and practical cooperation, and prepare for President Xi Jinping's state visit later this year.

The annual meetings of China-Singapore cooperation mechanisms are important platforms for systematic review and comprehensive planning of our bilateral cooperation in various areas. The two sides will take this opportunity to explore the new designation of bilateral relations, reach in-depth agreements on key issues like the third bilateral project (after the Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-city), upgrading of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, economic reform, financial services cooperation and so on. These agreements will give strong institutional and policy support to the new chapter in China-Singapore relations. During this visit, we will sign agreements on Singapore's Chinese Culture Center, the Tianjin Eco-city, Guangzhou Software Excellence Center and Suzhou Overseas Investment Service Platform.

Singapore and China enjoy longstanding and multifaceted relations, especially in the area of trade and investments. What are some of the major economic projects being undertaken now?

A: China-Singapore relations have come a long way since the establishment of diplomatic ties 25 years ago. During all these years, economic cooperation has always been the ballast stone and the propeller of our bilateral relations. From January to July this year, trade between China and Singapore achieved 4.4 per cent growth despite a sluggish global economy. Singapore remained China’s largest foreign investor and contributed 82 per cent of all the investment from the One Belt and One Road countries to China. In the same period, China’s investment in Singapore has increased four-fold, and the Republic has becomes the largest destination of China’s investment.

With this solid foundation, our economic cooperation projects have been increasingly comprehensive and substantial. For example, the flagship projects between our governments, the Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Eco-City, have long been the models of bilateral cooperation. Local projects such as Guangzhou Knowledge City, Jilin Food Zone, and Sichuan High-Tech Innovation Park are all making further progress. Now, we are working on the third G-to-G project, which fits in China’s national strategies like the One Belt and One Road Initiative and Western Region Development drive. This third bilateral project will be forward-looking and pace-setting, with distinctive features on geographical scope, planning concepts and cooperation models. Currently, we have stepped up coordination on the selection of location, installment of supporting policies as well as on other details. We believe it won’t be long before we reach a final agreement and announce more details on the project.

Since President Xi Jinping came to power, he has embarked on a high profile anti-corruption drive. Have the efforts been successful? What else needs to be done?

A: President Xi Jinping recently emphasised that China's anti-corruption campaign has nothing to do with power struggle. It's nothing like what you see in House of Cards (an American political drama series). Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China has investigated and handled a large number of serious corruption cases, and these efforts have paid off. In future, we will further institutionalise the anti-corruption campaign and make it more law-based. There will be an effective anti-corruption system where officials dare not, cannot and do not be corrupt, and that the power to investigate graft is put under institutional checks.

What are the priority areas of the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? How will it dovetail with China’s One Belt One Road initiative?

A: The purpose of establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is to bridge the funding gap of Asian infrastructure development and promote sustainable development of Asian economies. The AIIB and the One Belt One Road Initiative are closely linked and reinforceable. The AIIB, together with the Silk Road Fund, will provide solid financial support for the One Belt One Road initiative and provide more opportunities for win-win cooperation and common development.

There have been concerns over China’s perceived assertive actions in the South China Sea. Can you shed more light on the reclamation and other construction activities in the area?

A: China's positions on the South China Sea issue have been consistent. It was China that first discovered, developed and administered the Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands). After the Second World War, pursuant to the international treaty and declaration, China lawfully and publicly recovered the Nansha Islands. In the following 30 years, the international community including the countries around the South China Sea had never raised any questions. Rather, they recognised explicitly or tacitly China's sovereignty over the NanSha Islands in different ways such as diplomatic notes and published maps. China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands has sufficient legal and factual basis.

China’s construction on its own islands is beyond reproach, and there is no ground to accuse China being “more and more aggressive”. We are not the first country to build or to deploy military forces on the Nansha Islands. Recently the Chinese side has announced that the land reclamation project on some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands had been completed and the main purpose of China's construction is to meet civilian demands. Yesterday[JTCC1] , we held the lighting ceremonies for the lighthouses on Huayang Jiao and Chigua Jiao[JTCC2] . These lighthouses will provide better navigation services for ships sailing in the South China Sea. Next, China will continue to build civil and public facilities on relevant Nansha Islands and provide more public goods.

What were the considerations behind organising the September 3 parade commemorating World War II? Was the event successful?

A: On September 3, a grand commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War was held in Beijing. I published an article in this newspaper about the commemoration. President Xi Jinping mentioned the word “peace” 18 times in his speech and stated unequivocally in his speech that the purpose of the commemoration is to bear history in mind, honour the fallen heroes, cherish peace and open up the future. The commemoration has achieved a great success and was widely acclaimed. It reflects not only the profound relationship between the Chinese people and the peoples across the world, but also our respect for history and the great importance attached to peace. We thank the international community, including Singapore, for the participation and support.

Terrorism affects everyone and China has not been spared. What are some of the measures undertaken by the Chinese government to combat the Islamic State?

A: China opposes terrorism in any form and has been actively participating in international anti-terrorism cooperation. To uproot terrorism, we need to remove its breeding ground, promote economic and social development, appropriately handle regional conflicts, and advocate equal-footed dialogue between different civilisations, religions and ethnic groups. Singapore has good experience and practice in de-radicalising and severing terrorist financing. China would like to strengthen its cooperation with Singapore in this field and jointly tackle the challenge of terrorism.

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