Full text of Reuters' Q&A with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Updated: 2015-10-19 09:10


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Q: China is playing an increasingly active role as a member of the international community, whether by helping bring peace to South Sudan or evacuating foreigners, including Britons, from the civil war in Yemen. As China's economy and influence in the world continue to grow, it will increasingly have to protect its legitimate interests around the globe. How do you see China's role in global affairs changing in the coming decade? Will it play a greater role in mediating conflicts? Will China one day replace the United States as the world's policeman? Will China one day have to build military bases around the world to protect its interests?

A: China was, is and will continue to be a force for world peace, common development and international cooperation. With the increase of its overall strength, China will be able to play a more active role in international and regional affairs.

At the summits commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN this September, I announced on behalf of the Chinese government a series of initiatives, which include:

* The establishment of an assistance fund for South-South cooperation with an initial pledge of US$2 billion;

* A ten-year, US$1 billion China-UN peace and development fund;

* China joining the newly established UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System and setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops;

* The provision of US$100 million in military aid to the African Union in the coming five years to support the building of African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis.

China has been stepping up efforts for world peace and development not because it wants to become a "world cop", even less to take anyone's place. We are always of the view that a country's affairs should be decided by its own people, and the world's affairs should be managed through consultation among the peoples of all countries. China upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It pursues common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China follows the principle of non-interference in other country's internal affairs and believes that international and regional hot spots should be resolved by peaceful means. China has declared many times that it pursues a defence policy defensive in nature and will never seek hegemony, engage in expansion or impose its own will on others.

Q: China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has pledged to bring its emissions to a peak by "around 2030" and has also said it would cut carbon intensity - the amount emitted per unit of economic output - by 60 to 65 percent below the 2005 level. As a developing country, China has stuck firmly to the principle that industrialized nations should bear most of the burden when it comes to cutting carbon emissions. Is China prepared to change any of its negotiating positions or offer further compromises in order to make sure that a new global climate change deal is secured in Paris later this year?

A: Climate change is a global challenge at which no country can stand on their own. Developed and developing countries have different historical responsibilities for climate change, and different development needs and capabilities. Just like in a car race: it would be neither reasonable nor fair to apply the same speed requirements to cars which have run far ahead and those which have only just left the starting point. Developed countries should do more and lead the way in addressing climate change. This is in keeping with the important principles laid down in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), such as "common but differentiated responsibilities", equity and respective capabilities. This is also the hope of all developing countries.

Having said that, the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" does not exempt developing countries from contributing their share to global response to climate change. It is only that such contribution should be in line with their capabilities and needs. China is now the world's biggest country in energy conservation and utilization of new and renewable energy. In 2014, China's per unit GDP energy consumption and CO2 emission were cut by 29.9% and 33.8% respectively from the 2005 level. China's submission to the UN of its nationally intended contributions is aimed at facilitating global climate governance, and also for the sake of China's own development. It represents China's very best effort to help achieve the goals set in the UNFCCC. China has announced the setting up of an RMB20 billion South-South cooperation fund on climate change to help other developing countries.

The Paris Conference coming up at the end of this year is a significant milestone in the multilateral process on climate change, as it will set up post-2020 international regimes to tackle this challenge. Progress in negotiations requires flexibility of all parties, yet the basic principles of the UNFCCC need to be observed. Parties should demonstrate sincerity as much as they can, build up consensus and work toward the same goal. China is ready to play a constructive role and work for the timely conclusion of a comprehensive, balanced and strong agreement at the Paris conference.

Q: China is being increasingly assertive in pushing its territorial claims in the South China Sea, which has worried many of its neighbours, and Britain, too. China also says it will not pursue hegemony and will unswervingly stick to the path of peaceful development. Do you understand why so many of China's neighbours doubt these claims? How do you respond to accusations that China's activities in the South China Sea could be worsening the security situation in the region? What is China's ultimate aim with its current activities in the South China Sea?

A: To follow the path of peaceful development serves China's fundamental interests, and is also what regional countries and peoples expect from us. It is a strategic choice made by China that has not changed and will not change. For many years, China's active efforts for win-win cooperation with its neighbours have brought real benefits to countries and peoples in the region. Under the new circumstances, China will strive to deliver more benefits of its development to neighbouring countries and peoples. China will continue to pursue friendship and partnership with its neighbours, build a harmonious, secure and prosperous neighbourhood and follow through on its policy of amity, sincerity, mutual-benefit and inclusiveness towards its neighbours.

The islands and reefs in the South China Sea are Chinese territory since ancient times. They are left to us by our ancestors. The Chinese people will not allow anyone to infringe on China's sovereignty and related rights and interests in the South China Sea. The actions China has taken in the South China Sea are legitimate reactions to safeguard its territorial sovereignty. Expansionism refers to laying claims to land outside one's own territory. China has never done anything like that, so such doubts or accusations are unwarranted.

With the joint efforts of all parties, the situation in the South China Sea has on the whole been stable. The South China Sea provides important waterways for China's international commercial exchanges. China needs peace, security and stability in the South China Sea more than any other country. China would not want any turbulence there, still less would it be the party to stir up chaos. It is working hard to take forward consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea within the framework of fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. China will continue to work with its neighbours in the South China Sea to manage disputes through institutionalized dialogue, peacefully resolve disputes through negotiation and consultation, actively explore win-win results through cooperation and joint development, and safeguard the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by countries in accordance with international law. We will together endeavor to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. And the efforts of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability there deserve more respect.