Question (Q.): China is one of the greatest powers in the world. China like the other great powers, has its interests in Europe, the Eastern and Central European region including. What are the goals of China's foreign policy in our region? What interests is your country guided by in developing relations with Belarus?
Answer (A.): European countries play an important role in international economic and political affairs which is of great significance for China. The relations between China and European countries, including Central and East European countries, are traditionally based on friendship and cooperation. At present, when important and profound changes are taking place in international relations, peace and development are the main features of our time and China wants to develop and create long-term stable relations with these countries turned on the 21st century. It does not only correspond to the interests of the sides but contributes to the fruitful development of relations between Asia and Europe in general, to the cause of peace, stability and world-wide development.
As for the relations between China and Belarus, I can say that friendly ties between our countries used to be stable and close in the Soviet time. China was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with independent Belarus. Belarus is one of the foundind members of the UN. China views Belarus as an important European country which can and must play a proper role in international relations. Belarus, in its turn, highly values the prestige and role of China in international affairs. China and Belarus have common views on a wide range of international problems, support each other on the international arena. In bilateral relations the countries have a good potential for further development of cooperation in different fields. To sum it up, we have common interests in the development of our relations.
Q.: How do you assess trade-economic potential and prospects of China-Belarus cooperation with regard to the current trends in economic development of our countries?
A.: I think that the potential of trade and economic cooperation between China and Belarus has not been exhausted. Our economies are to a certain degree inter-complementary and there is a mutual need for bilateral trade. In Belarus there exist better developed basic branches of industry and highly-qualified research staff. China, in its turn, can supply Belarus with a wide range of home-made goods. The Chinese economy is growing rapidly and steadily and it is the basis for foreign economic cooperation. That is why Belarusian goods, in case they are competitive in price and quality, can always find a market in China. For example, in general overall foreign economic trade China has been having a positive balance for several years running, while in Chinese- Belarusian trade it has been negative for some years. We are not worried by it. I am sure that when Belarus overcomes the current economic crises, its payment capability and currency convertibility will improve and trade and economic cooperation between our countries will undoubtedly reach a new higher level of development.
Q.: Not much time has passed since the diplomatic relations between our countries were established. What do you see as the most important achievement in the relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Belarus? How would you characterise the present state of our bilateral relations?
A.: Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations in January 1992 our bilateral relations have been developing very successfully. The leaders of our countries are in constant contact, the countries support each other on the international arena, they have common views on many important international problems. Reached at the top level agreements and signed by the two countries, the treaties (their number exceeds 30) are being successfully carried out. Necessary mechanisms have been established to put them into practice. Our cooperation in the field of science and technology can be regarded as one of the most important achievements in our relations. At present there are over 400 inter-governmental projects on cooperation, dozens of them have been or are being realised. In the field of culture and education our cooperation is also growing year by year. In general I am satisfied with the present state of our bilateral relations. However, the volume of trade exchange between our countries could have been larger.
Q.: In what fields of bilateral cooperation are there, to your mind, unused resources for further development and deepening of mutually advantageous ties between our countries?
A.: I would say that by joint efforts these resources exist in almost all the fields.
Q.: Mutual interest in cooperation emerges and grows as politicians and business circles get to know more about their partners and their opportunities. What can you say about the role and progress Chinese diplomats have made in contributing to the broadening of cultural contacts between the citizens of our countries?
A.: Broadening of business and cultural contacts between citizens is one of the most important missions of the Chinese diplomats in Belarus. At our embassy there is a counsellor on trade and economic problems, first secretary on science and technology, and a diplomat on culture and education. They do their best to develop contacts between citizens of our countries: they provide necessary information, give references to business partners, render help and assistance in the establishment of contacts. The embassy maintains and expands its contacts with managers and representatives of all public circles in Belarus, both in the capital and in the whole country. It holds different activities and meetings with mass-media representatives. All this substantially contributes to mutual understanding between our peoples. As for the embassy's progress in this field, would like to stress that our work brings about good results: the contacts between our people in different fields are developing, people get to know one another better, show more interesttowards other.
Q.: What programs of cooperation in the field of education and culture could serve as the basis for solid long- term ties between our countries and peoples?
A.: Some long-term agreements on cooperation in education and culture have been signed between our states. They are being successfully implemented. According to these agreements, the sides are to work out concrete plans of cooperation. For example, in 1998 a protocol complementing the agreement on cultural cooperation for the years 1998-2000 was signed. According to the protocol in the current year the Days of Belarusian Culture will be held in China and in 2000 the Days of Chinese Culture - in Belarus. Besides, exchange of musical, dancing and ballet groups will also take place. I think that active implementation of these agreements will serve the basis for further stable and long-term ties between our countries and peoples.