From June 20 to 26, 2012, Premier Wen Jiabao, at invitation, attended the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and paid an official visit to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. At the end of the tour, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi introduced to the accompanying reporters the achievements of the trip.
According to Yang, the world today is undergoing great development, changes and adjustments and the international financial crisis continues exerting heavy impact. Sustainable growth worldwide has made some positive progress and at the same time faces complex and serious challenges. In recent years, Latin America as a whole has grown rapidly and emerged as an important force on the international stage. Both being developing countries, China and Latin American nations have similar development strategies, extensive common interests and strong desire to share opportunities and achieve common development. In such a context, these major multilateral and bilateral diplomatic activities carried out by Wen this time have great significance to promoting the international cooperation on sustainable development and enhance the level of China-Latin America relations in an all-round manner.
During the trip, Wen delivered a number of important speeches to comprehensively elaborate China’s policy of sustainable development and position of strengthening relations with Latin America, discussed the major issue of sustainable human development with leaders of other countries, planned the blueprint of bilateral relations with leaders of the four countries he visited and contacted people from all walks of life to build friendship. With rich content and remarkable achievements, this trip reached the goals of deepening mutual political trust, expanding strategic collaboration, promoting pragmatic cooperation and achieving common development and received positive responses. It is a successful trip of friendship, cooperation and development.
I. Comprehensively elaborate China’s sustainable development policy and actively promote the undertaking of global sustainable development.
As the global economy and international development cooperation are faced with difficulties, through the joint efforts of all parties, the Conference sent out the positive, clear and powerful signals to revive the international cooperation on sustainable development and inject new vitality into the global sustainable development process. The participation of Chinese delegation headed by Wen not only fully demonstrated China’s image as a cooperative, growing and responsible country but also effectively pushed the international community to build consensus and advance the cause of sustainable development, said Yang Jiechi.
Wen attended the plenary session, the high-level roundtable meeting and “the least developed countries (LDCs) and Rio + 20” high-level side event and delivered important speeches. He elaborated the position and propositions of the Chinese government on promoting sustainable development and introduced China’s efforts and achievements in the field of sustainable development.
Addressing the plenary session, Wen reviewed the progress made by the international community over the past 20 years and the gap which still exists in the field of sustainable development and made profound analysis of the current situation and future prospects of international sustainable development. He raised three major proposals that the international community adhere to the fair and just, open and inclusive development concept, actively explore the effective models of developing green economy and improve the global governance mechanism. He stressed that China is a responsible and accountable developing power. The more China develops, the greater opportunities and contributions it will bring to the world. China will help developing countries improve their environmental and ecological protection and ability to cope with climate change.
In his speech to the high-level roundtable meeting, Wen mainly introduced China’s policy and initiatives to promote sustainable development, put forward proposals to implement the results of the Conference and expressed China’s confidence and determination to follow the scientific outlook on development and promote sustainable growth.
At the “LDCs and Rio + 20” high-level side event, Wen emphasized that the international community should pay attention to the difficulties, challenges and demands of the LDCs with regard to sustainable development and provide them with financial assistance and technology transfer and help them with capacity building.
Wen also attended the side event on the 20th anniversary of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and exchanged views with participating Chinese and foreign Council members, experts and scholars. He introduced China’s initiatives and achievements of sustainable development over the past 20 years, especially in the field of environmental protection and stressed that China is ready to conduct exchanges and cooperation with all parties concerned.
Leaders of other countries and international organizations present at the Conference spoke highly of Wen’s speeches and expressed appreciation for China’s contributions to global sustainable development. They said that Wen’s participation effectively promoted the Conference to achieve positive results. The international media widely believes that China has made positive and constructive contributions to global sustainable development and will play an increasingly important role in the future.
While attending the Conference, Wen also met separately with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Thinley and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which significantly pushed foward China’s bilateral relations with those countries and exchanges and cooperation with the UN.
II. Further deepen China’s friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with the four countries and bring the all-round China-Latin America partnership to a new level.
Yang said that China and Latin America enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. As the international situation fluctuates deeply, China-Latin America cooperation has grown closer and the bilateral relations have greater strategic significance in the world. All the four Latin American countries Wen visited maintain rapid economic development and huge growth potential and hope to further strengthen the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with China. Wen’s visit enhanced China’s relations with them and strategically pushed forward China’s relations with the entire Latin America and strengthened South-South cooperation.
i. Strengthen China’s political mutual trust with the four countries and enhance the level of bilateral relations. During the visit, Wen held talks with presidents of the four countries and met with their congressional leaders to exchange views on deepening the bilateral relations. Wen and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff jointly announced to lift up the bilateral relations to the level of all-round strategic partnership and establish the foreign minister-level comprehensive strategic dialogue. He announced the establishment of China-Chile strategic partnership jointly with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and discussed with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica to expand exchanges between the governments, political parties, parliaments and youth of both sides and at local levels in order to consolidate friendship, enhance mutual trust and promote development of bilateral ties. Wen stressed that China is willing to further develop friendly relations with the four countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and extend mutual support firmly on issues concerning each other's core interests.
Leaders of the four countries spoke highly of China's development achievements and stressed the importance of reinforcing relations with China. They are willing to work with China to carefully plan the future of bilateral relations and achieve common development.
China released a joint statement separately with the four countries to highlight the important achievements and strategic significance of the visit.
ii. Plan the future development of China and the four countries and comprehensively promote the bilateral pragmatic cooperation. During the visit, Wen proposed to expand areas and improve quality of cooperation for the purpose of common development and bringing greater benefit to the people. The Chinese and Brazilian governments signed a 10-year cooperation plan. China and Argentina decided to start formulating the intergovernmental joint action plan. China and Chile announced the completion of negotiations on the investment supplementary accord of the bilateral free trade agreement, the establishment of intergovernmental cooperation mechanism and the kickoff of drafting of the joint action plan. They plan to double the bilateral trade volume to US$ 60 billion within the next three years on the 2011 basis. China and Uruguay consented to carefully plan the bilateral cooperation in various fields. China reached agreements with the four countries on promoting cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, currency and finance, transport infrastructure construction, energy and mineral resources, science and technological innovation and signed more than 40 cooperation documents. Wen also suggested comprehensively promoting the bilateral cooperation on agriculture, forestry, husbandry and fishery and conducting large-scale investment and technology cooperation and outlined the cooperation blueprint with the four countries.
Leaders and people from all walks of life of the four countries extended sincere welcome to investment from China. They expect to learn from China’s development experience, push foward the pragmatic cooperation with China and enrich the strategic connotation of bilateral relations. Media of the four countries and other nations as well believes that Wen’s visit will bring new development opportunities to the four countries and have a positive demonstration effect in the entire South American region in the backdrop of the international financial crisis.
iii. Strengthen cooperation on international and regional issues and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. Wen and leaders of the four countries made in-depth exchanges and reached broad consensus on the current major international and regional issues, agreed to strengthen communication and coordination in the UN, the WTO, the G20 and other international organizations and multilateral mechanisms, step up collaboration on the issues of global economic governance, Doha Round negotiations, climate change and sustainable development, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and promote the establishment of a more just and rational international political and economic order. China and Brazil stressed the importance of strategic cooperation in the multilateral mechanisms such as BRICS and BASIC. China and Chile consented to jointly promote peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region. China will further strengthen coordination with Argentina and Uruguay in international and regional affairs. Consolidating solidarity and cooperation with the four countries, China sent out the clear signal to the international community that developing countries will work together to play a bigger role in the global affairs, which will further enhance developing countries’ confidence and capability to participate in the international affairs.
iv. Enhance China’s people-to-people exchanges with the four countries and consolidate the social basis of bilateral friendship. Wen stressed repeatedly that the basis of bilateral friendship lies in the people, highlighted the face-to-face interactions with people of the four countries, conducted public diplomacy with tangible actions, contacted the local people friendly to understand their views and suggestions on the development of bilateral relations and raised proposals on expanding the people-to-people exchanges and strengthening the social basis of bilateral relations, which received positive responses from leaders of the four countries. It is worth noting that Wen started his visit to Argentina by communicating with the local people. Upon arrival in Argentina, he met the local people, visited a local farm and held talks with Argentines from all walks of life. Wen and Cristina Fernandez jointly attended the celebrations on the 40th anniversary of China-Argentina diplomatic ties. Those activities deepened mutual understanding and friendship between the two sides and highlighted the solid social basis of China’s relations with the four countries.
v. Expound China’s policy and position with Latin America and boost the in-depth development of China-Latin America relations. During the visit, Wen and leaders of the four countries reached important consensus on promoting China-Latin America relations and strengthening common interests. Wen stressed that China always views relations with Latin America from a strategic perspective and is committed to strengthening friendly cooperation with Latin American countries and regional organizations, enhancing the overall strength of developing countries and promoting common development.
During the visit to Argentina, Wen and presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay held the first video conference between China and South American Common Market (MERCOSUR), demonstrating China’s desire to develop friendly cooperation with the MERCOSUR. The two sides mainly exchanged views on deepening bilateral ties and strengthening economic and trade cooperation. Wen suggested holding the foreign ministers’ dialogue between China and the MERCOSUR, conducting a feasibility study to build the China-MERCOSUR free trade area and striving to achieve US$200 billion of bilateral trade volume by 2016. Leaders of the three countries responded actively and stressed the importance of cooperation with China in the current situation.
Wen delivered an important speech to United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) in San Diego. He comprehensively expounded the policy of strengthening China-Latin America relations under new circumstances, stressed that China expects to import more high value-added products from Latin American countries, develop the balanced and sustainable trade partnership and work hard to achieve more than US$ 400 billion of bilateral trade volume within the next five years. He proposed to establish a China-Latin America cooperation forum, build the regular dialogue mechanism of foreign ministers between China and the troika of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, set up the China-Latin America cooperation fund and a special loan for infrastructure construction, form the China-Latin America forum of agricultural ministers and food emergency reserve mechanism and provide 5,000 scholarships for students of Latin American countries to study in China, which pointed out the direction for the development of relations between China and Latin America.
Leaders of the four countries noted that to strengthen cooperation between Latin America and China has strategic importance and helps enhance the economic vitality of Latin American countries and push foward integration in Latin America as the impact of international financial crisis and the European debt issue has not yet ended and the world economic growth remains sluggish. They are willing to play an active role to promote such cooperation. Latin American media generally believes that Latin American countries should seize the opportunity to push for greater development of relations with China.
During his transit in Morocco, Wen exchanged views with Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on the bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern. He explained China’s propositions to further develop relations with Morocco and principled stance on the Syrian issue and demonstrated China’s image as a responsible country.
Yang finally said that the global sustainable development process and China-Latin America relations stand at a new historical starting point. China will carefully implement the results of the trip of Premier Wen, adhere to the mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening up, steadily promote the development of China-Latin America relations and work with the international community to make greater contributions to the sustainable development of mankind.