Xi unveils foreign policy direction

Updated: 2012-12-06 02:21


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For German chemist Katharina Kohse-Hoinghaus, it was a huge surprise to get an invitation to a key meeting from newly-elected leader Xi Jinping just 20 days after he assumed his new role.

She was even more surprised on Wednesday to find that she was among the first group of foreigners Xi met as leader of the Party.

Xi unveils foreign policy direction

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, meets a grouop of foreign experts working in China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. [Wu Zhiyi/China Daily]

She was one of 20 foreigners from 16 countries invited to a face-to-face discussion with Xi on China's development. Kohse-Hoinghaus, a world-renowned specialist in industrial combustion who has worked for about 10 years in China, said the meeting "demonstrates how serious you take the process of transformation and innovation in cooperation with other countries".

It was the first time that Xi, the newly elected head of the Communist Party of China, met foreigners in this capacity.

Analysts said the meeting conveyed the new leadership's foreign policy blueprint, and sent a strong signal that China cherishes its ties with foreign countries and people, and will continue on its road of opening up and cooperation with the outside world.

"We are open to the world and we want to learn from the world ... We have learned from the past and realize we cannot succeed in our development behind closed doors," Xi said at the meeting.

Foreigners with expertise in their fields have contributed immensely to national development and are called foreign experts in China. They also bridge China and the outside world.

The number of foreign experts has risen from less than 10,000 at the end of the 1980s to around 530,000 by the end of 2011.

In the 80-minute meeting, Xi received a number of proposals, ranging from reforming universities to better accommodate the real needs of society to helping Chinese firms going abroad.

Pedro Nueno Iniesta, founder of the China Europe International Business School briefed Xi on measures to increase support for small and-medium-sized enterprises.

Atanas Blago Stoyano, a Bulgarian agricultural specialist, proposed a number of measures to boost and vary orchard yields.

Xi, who took notes, told the ministers of finance and human resources at the meeting that the proposals deserved serious consideration.

Speaking of the achievement of China's reform and opening-up, your efforts cannot go unmentioned, Xi told his guests.

Calling foreign experts "bridges and bonds" in China's tie with the world, Xi took the opportunity to speak on China's foreign diplomacy blueprint, saying that Beijing will continue its basic policy of opening-up.

He also said that no country can go it alone or outshine others given the complex situation of the world economy and global issues.

Xi also stressed that countries should take legitimate concerns of other countries into account when they pursue their own interests, as well as promote the development of all countries when they pursue their own development.

Alistair Michie, secretary -general of the UK-based 48 Group Club, said it was impressive to see that Xi had laid out a clear summary of his foreign policy philosophy at the meeting.

Xi also said China will never develop at the expense of others, and if China wins, it does not mean others have to lose.

Japanese financier Tokuchi Tatsuhito said Xi's meeting comes against a background of some countries having mixed feelings toward China. Some say China has contributed to the global economy while others wonder what kind of road China will pursue, he said.

Tokuchi said that as a new leader, Xi sends a clear signal that China will follow opening-up and reform and continue to contribute to world peace and stability.

Qu Xing, president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the meeting gave a clear answer to global curiosity about China's diplomatic policies under the new leadership. The gathering also underlined the attention China pays to public diplomacy, which was first mentioned by a congress report last month, to consolidate the social foundation of foreign relations, Qu added.

Michie said he is "hugely encouraged to see that Xi listened to us before listening to foreign leaders". He said he would bring the message to his friends.

Contact the writers at wujiao@chinadaily.com.cn