On September 30, 2018, Cyprus Mail and Politis published an interview of Ambassador Huang Xingyuan by Dr. Andrestinos Papadopoulos, former Ambassador of Cyprus. The full text is as follows:
1. China has become the fastest growing economy in the world. What reforms are taking place in the economic, political, cultural, social and environmental fields?
A: In recent years, against the background of sluggish global economic recovery, frequent outbreaks of regional conflicts and disturbances and intensifying global issues, the Chinese Government has introduced more than 1,500 reform measures, bringing in breakthroughs in reforms of important areas and key sectors. China's average annual GDP growth rate stands at 7%, our economic aggregate ranks second in the world, and the average contribution rate to world economic growth exceeds 30%, making China a driver and stabilizer for the global economy. At present, the Chinese Government is making efforts to implement the following reform measures:
At the economic front, China will deepen supply-side structural reform, focus on the development of the real economy, and promote further integration of the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence with the real economy. We will foster a culture of innovation, encourage more entities to innovate and start businesses, and strengthen the creation, protection, and application of intellectual property. We will pursue a rural vitalization strategy, establish industrial, production and business operation systems for modern agriculture, and improve the systems for supporting and protecting agriculture. We will implement coordinated regional development strategy, speed up the development of old revolutionary base areas, areas with large ethnic minority populations, border and poor areas. We will further reform state-owned enterprises, introduce a negative list for market access nationwide, pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority, promote high-standard liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, significantly ease market access, further open up the service sector, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.
At the political front, we will improve the way the Communist Party of China exercises leadership and governance to ensure that it leads the people in effectively governing the country. We will expand the people's orderly political participation to see that they engage in democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight in accordance with law. We will strengthen legal protection for human rights to ensure that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms as prescribed by law. We will build a rule of law government, promote law-based government administration, and see that law is enforced in a strict, procedure-based, impartial and non-abusive way. The government will transform its functions, further streamline administration and delegate powers, develop new ways of regulation and supervision, and strengthen its credibility and administrative capacity to be better service-oriented to satisfy the needs of the people.
At the cultural front, China will improve public cultural service system, carry out public-interest cultural programs, and launch more popular cultural activities. We will strengthen the protection and utilization of cultural relics to better preserve our cultural heritage. We will carry out extensive Fitness-for-All programs, step up efforts to build China into a country strong on sports, and make good preparations for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. We will strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges with other countries, better engage in crosscultural dialogues so as to present a true, multi-dimensional and panoramic view of China.
In the social sector, we will give priority to education, to see that each and every child has fair access to good education. We will pursue a proactive employment policy, increase employment rate and create better quality jobs with higher incomes. We will improve our basic pension schemes for urban employees and for rural and non-working urban residents,the unified systems of basic medical insurance and serious disease insurance for rural and non-working urban residents, and unemployment insurance and work-related injury insurance. We will establish a unified national platform for social security public services, promote the coordinated development of social assistance systems for urban and rural residents, and improve the subsistence allowances system. We will continue to implement targeted poverty reduction and alleviation measures to ensure that all rural residents living below the current poverty line have been lifted out of poverty by year 2020.
At the environment front, China will spur the development of energy-saving and environment-friendly industries as well as clean production and clean energy industries,with an aim to build an energy sector that is clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient. We will encourage conservation across the board and promote recycling and a simple, moderate, green and low-carbon life style. We will enhance the protection of ecosystems, promote afforestation, take comprehensive steps to control desertification, stony deserts and soil erosion, rigorously protect farmland,continue our campaign to prevent and control air and water pollution to solve prominent environmental problems. We will also actively take part in global environmental governance and fulfill our commitments on emission reduction.
2. Over the years, our bilateral relations have reached remarkable standards. Can you give us an overall assessment of these relations and how do you see them expanding?
A: In recent years, in spite of tremendous changes internationally, the friendly relations between China and Cyprus remain unchanged. Our political mutual trust deepens with continuous bilateral high-level exchanges. Since I assumed post in August 2016,Cyprus' President of the Parliament Dimitris Syllouris, Minister of Education and Culture Costas Cadiz, Minister of Justice Ionas Nicolaou, and Minister of Transportation and Engineering Marios Demetriades have visited China with fruitful results. Our two countries have signed important cooperation agreements on mutual recognition of academic degrees and qualifications as well as extradition treaties.
China and Cyprus understand and support each other on issues of core interests of the other side. "One China, One Cyprus" has become a shared position of China and Cyprus. China appreciates the valuable support given by Cyprus on issues regarding Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and human rights. China will continue to support and facilitate the reunification of Cyprus at an early date.
China-Cyprus economic and trade relations have grown steadily. Our bilateral trade has seen growth. Chinese investors are enthusiastic about investing in Cyprus. There has been a rapid increase in the number of Chinese property buyers in Cyprus. Chinese companies have also had many successes in local telecommunications, aviation, new energy and tourism industries. Cyprus is actively involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. A number of Cypriot companies have signed up for the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November this year to attract Chinese counterparts to participate in local infrastructure, port shipping and tourism facilty building projects.
China-Cyprus cultural exchange have flourished. The number of mutal visits reached a record high exceeding 10,000 in 2017. Cultural events organized by China, including art performances, Chinese Cultural Festival in Limassol, Night of Chinese Culture in Paphos and the Chinese Film Festival have been widely popular in Cyprus. This September, the Chinese Embassy will host a series of cultural activities such as the Chinese Cultural Festival, Maritime Silk Road Oil Painting Exhibition, "China 2017" Photo Exhibition and the Night of Chinese Culture in Paphos. We look forward to celebrating on these occasions with our Cypriot friends.
The Belt and Road Intiative proposed by China has gained close attention and postive responses across Cyprus. China is now vigorously promoting the synergy between the Belt and Road Intiative and development strategies of Europe by linking China's international production capacity cooperation with investment plans of Europe. As Cyprus steps up its economic structural reform, tourism campaign,offshore oil and gas exploration, and opens up the gaming industry and revitalizes infrastructure building,China-Cyprus cooperation heralds great potential in the fields of energy, tourism, shipping, communications and electric power under the framework of the Belt and Road Intiative.
I wish to work together with the people of China and Cyprus to maintain the momentum of bilateral high-level exchanges,forge closer trade, cultural links and parnerships, and continue to strengthen cooperation in international affairs by supporting each other on issues of core interests and major concerns,with an aim to further uplift China-Cyprus relations.
3. Can you tell us about the growing Chinese community in Cyprus? There are many private schools with Chinese children. From what I know some schools also teach some Chinese now: do they cooperate with the Embassy?
A: Cyprus is strategically located at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa with a booming economy, stable society and friendly people. As China-Cyprus relations deepen, Chinese citizens are growingly conscious of Cyprus' unique advantages and charms as the Pearl of the Mediterranean. We have seen an increasing number of Chinese coming to Cyprus for sight-seeing, investment and studies, which has given a boost to bilateral economic and trade cooperation as well as cultural and people-to-people exchange. Cyprus has also benefited in terms of economic growth and employment.
As an EU member state, Cyprus has a safe social environment, high-quality educational resources and preferential policies, making it more budget-friendly than countries such as the United States or United Kingdom. Many private schools here have programs leading to universities in the UK and US, which have attracted Chinese students of different age groups and levels. In May 2017, China and Cyprus signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, providing more opportunities for Chinese and Cypriot students to study in quality institutes recognized by both sides. Many private schools have set up Chinese language courses to meet the needs of Chinese students and their families.
As China-Cyprus cooperation enhances across the board,we have seen a greater demand of Cypriots in learning the Chinese language. In this light, a Confucius Institute was launched in the University of Cyprus in 2015 with the support of the two governments to actively promote Chinese language teaching and Chinese culture in Cyprus. With the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus and the Chinese Embassy in Cyprus, the Confucius Institute at the University of Cyprus will continue to promote Chinese language course in primary and secondary schools in Cyprus and provide mid and short term courses in Business Chinese, Practical Chinese Dialogues for Cypriots working in buiness, cartering,hospitality and tourism.
4. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is playing a prominent role in world affairs. What are the goals of Chinese foreign policy and how this is influencing the Cyprus Problem?
A: In the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October last year, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that that China will work with other countries to jointly forge a new type of international relations and build a community of shared destiny. This is the goal of foreign policy with Chinese characteristics for a new era. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping thoughts on diplomacy, China will fully commit to the building of a community of shared destiny, promote the development of a fair and just global governance system. China will continue to follow the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in the building of the Belt and Road and open its doors even wider. We will work to build a framework for major country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development, forge friendship and partnership with our neighbors, enhance unity and cooperation with developing countries to promote exchange and mutual learning for common development.
Durimg the just-concluded Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, China and African countries agreed to build a closer community of shared destiny. African countries actively supported and participated in the building of the "Belt and Road". The two sides also reiterated their commitment to multilateralism, resisting unilateral actions and support for the leading role of the United Nations.
China will answer the call of the international community, adhere to the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in global governance, actively participate in the reform of the global governance system and political settlement of regional and international hot issues, and work with all parties towards more effective responses to global challenges. China will unswervingly safeguard its national sovereignty, security, and development interests,and remain committed to building world peace, driving global development and maintaining global order.
In helping to settle various flashpoints, we follow a distinctly Chinese approach. There are things we do and do not do. Our approach is peaceful, justifiable and constructive. We call for political settlement of disputes through dialogue and negotiation, and firmly reject the use of force. We respect other countries' sovereignty and wishes, never meddle in their internal affairs or impose our own views on others. We do our best to be fair and objective and proceed from the merits of the matter. We firmly reject the pursuit of private ends.
China's position has been consistent on the Cyprus Problem. China supports a fair and reasonable resolution of the Cyprus Problem based on relevant UN resolutions and all peace efforts towards this end. Despite the current difficulties in the negotiations, it is important to bear in mind that obstacles often exist as parties approach the last mile of the resolution of a historic problem. We believe that the doors to negotiations are still open and that the Cypriots have the will, wisdom and power to rise above the difficulties.
As one of the five permanent countries of the UN Security Council, China encourages all parties to remain committed to the negotiation process, support the efforts of the UN and other parties, and continue to play a constructive role in maintaining stability in Cyprus and working for the resumption of negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.