On 21 November 2022, Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Li Minggang took an exclusive interview with Daily Post (DP) on the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The full text of the interview was published on DP’s newspaper and website as follows:
DP: Just recently, Vanuatu concluded its parliamentary snap election with a newly-elected legislature and government. I noticed that almost at the same time, the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its 20th National Congress, and elected the new group of leadership of the CPC Central Committee. Can you tell us something about the Congress?
Ambassador Li: The 20th CPC National Congress was successfully held in Beijing from 16 to 22 October. The Congress was a united, victorious and future-oriented meeting. The most important outcome was that Comrade Xi Jinping was unanimously elected General Secretary of the 20th CPC Central Committee. This fully reflects the common will of and firm support from the whole Party and people across the country. Vanuatu President Nikenike Vurobaravu and Presidents of many Ni-Vanuatu political parties sent congratulatory letters to General Secretary Xi Jinping after the Congress. This showcases the high-level mutual trust and firm mutual support between China and Vanuatu.
DP: As a party with more than 96 million members, the CPC is indeed the largest political party in the world. But due to the long distance away from China, we don’t know much about the CPC. Can you give us an introduction of the CPC?
Ambassador Li: The CPC was born in 1921. Since its founding, the CPC has taken the happiness of the people and rejuvenation of the nation as its aspiration and mission. This has remained unchanged for a century and more. Under the CPC leadership, the Chinese people ended the history of old China’s semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, and the Chinese nation ushered in a great leap from standing up, becoming rich, to becoming strong.
Especially in the past decade, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people to adhere to the path of Chinese modernization, lifted nearly 100 million rural poor people out of poverty, completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieved the first centenary goal, creating a miracle in the human history of poverty reduction, and social and economic development. Over the past 10 years, per capita disposable annual income has risen from 280,000 vatu to 594,000 vatu. While pursuing its own development, China actively undertakes international responsibilities, promotes the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and firmly safeguards international fairness and justice, which makes important contributions to the cause of world peace and development.
DP: China has made great development achievements, then why is China still not listed as a developed country? As a country that pursues peace, why is China seeking to build strong armed forces?
Ambassador Li: We cannot measure a country by its appearance alone. Although China’s economic volume remains the second largest in the world, it has 1.4 billion people. When divided by 1.4 billion, China’s per capita figures still lag far behind developed countries. According to World Bank and UNDP, in 2021, China’s per capita GDP is only around 1/6 of that of the US, and 1/4 of that of the EU. Besides, uneven and inadequate development remains an outstanding problem in China. Thus China is still a developing country.
China adheres to the path of peaceful development and is the only country in the world that has written “keeps to a path of peaceful development” into its constitution. China pursues a defensive national defense policy.
Over the 73 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, China has not initiated any war or taken an inch of land from other countries.
China’s national defense development focuses on safeguarding its legitimate national security, while adding peace dividends to the world. China is now the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping assessments and the largest contributor of peacekeeping personnel among the permanent members of the UN Security council. Facts have proven and will continue to prove that China remains a builder of world peace, and its defense development strengthens the world’s forces for peace.
DP: Vanuatu and other Pacific Island Countries (PICs) attach great importance to climate change response. This directly concerns regional people’s right to subsistence. I noticed that the Report to the 20th CPC National Congress also emphasizes the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. What is your take on that?
Ambassador Li: Climate change is a global challenge. Including Vanuatu, the PICs form one of the regions most seriously threatened by climate change. China takes very seriously the unique situation and concerns of PICs on climate. Thus, we have launched the China-PICs Climate Change Cooperation Center. We have signed five project documents with PICs on giving material assistance on climate change under the framework of South-South cooperation, and trained nearly 100 professionals for PICs specializing in climate change response. These are the contribution China has made to PICs’ capacity-building efforts on climate change, and I am sure the list will be even longer in the future.
China is a doer on climate governance. China voluntarily assumes international responsibilities commensurate with our national conditions, and unswervingly follows a development path that prioritizes ecological conservation and pursues green and low-carbon growth. In the past decade, China accounted for 30% to 50% of global energy conservation, energy efficiency improvement, renewable energy development, and green transportation and construction. The Report to the 20th CPC National Congress stressed that China will work actively and prudently toward the goals of reaching peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality, and get actively involved in global governance in response to climate change. This demonstrates once again China’s firm determination to pursue green development and promote harmony between humanity and nature.
China will continue to work with Vanuatu and other PICs, to deepen South-South cooperation on climate change, and together protect our shared home planet.
DP: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and China. What is your comment on Vanuatu-China relations?
Ambassador Li: China’s diplomatic tradition is that all countries, regardless of their size, strength and wealth, are equals. Over the past 40 years, China and Vanuatu have always adhered to mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual benefit, and have become good friends, good partners and good brothers. China-Vanuatu relations have become a model of mutual respect, solidarity and coordination between developing countries.
China upholds that “it is better to help people learn how to fish than to just give them fish”, and has helped Vanuatu a lot in building infrastructure projects such as the Port Vila Community Sports Complex, the Tanna and Malekula Roads, the Pentecost Road, etc. These projects have helped boost Vanuatu’s social and economic development.
Standing at this new historical starting point, China is willing to work together with Vanuatu, under the guidance of the two countries’ new leaders, to strengthen strategic synergy, deepen pragmatic exchanges and cooperation in various fields, so as to promote the China-Vanuatu comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level for the better benefit of the two countries and two peoples.