Xi Jinping in the one-on-one that never was

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“Impossible,” snapped Publisher-Editor Rene at my emailed query on Thursday noon Nov. 19. “I am toying with the idea of having a one-on-one with President Xi Jinping. You think MT can arrange it?”

He said MT reporters were all trying to have a one-on-one with any of the heads of government attending the recent APEC summit. Realizing the futility of my idea, I told him “I’ll just find means.”

I had in mind one of my favorite quotes by a Chinese, the one by Deng Xiao Ping: “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white. As long as it kills mice.” I have perceptions about China, its history and its progress from a previously colonized country to one which now shakes America in a contest for hegemony both economically and politically in the Asia Pacific region. I need to have these perceptions crystallized through words direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

How, then, to make Deng’s dictum figure in my desire to get answers to my questions given the impossibility Ed Rene admonished me about?


One assumption, which actually is a truism, is that government leaders go by a set of agreed policies from which they are never to digress. They themselves formulated those policies, they adhere to them as Bible truth. No matter how diverse the issues are, their resolutions invariably gravitate around those set policies.

In other words, government leaders speak with a mindset that determines their words and deeds under all circumstances. Therefore, as long as the questions asked pertain to their functions in governments, they can, by assumptions, be made to answer with a high degree of infallibility.

Thus did the Q and A with President Xi Jinping take place:

Thus did the Q And A with President Xi Jinping take place:

Q    Given the very limited space for this interview, I wish to limit my concern to the South China Sea, which the US has been consistently referring to as the West Philippine Sea. There is a growing fear among a large sector of the Filipino people that China is on the verge of launching a war against the Philippines, as evidenced most specifically by China’s reclamation activities in a widespread section of the Spratlys. Isn’t China already attacking the Philippines?

A    China is committed to the path of peaceful development and a neighboring foreign policy characterized by good neighborliness and partnership with our neighbors. Islands in the South China Sea since ancient times are China’s territory. We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, managing differences and disputes through dialogue, and addressing disputes through negotiation, consultation, and peaceful manner, and exploring ways to achieve mutual benefit through cooperation.

We’re committed to respecting and upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight that countries enjoy according to international law. Relevant construction activities that China are undertaking in the island of South — Nansha Islands do not target or impact any country, and China does not intend to pursue militarization.

Q    How does that contention place in light of President Barack Obama’s assertion at the recent APEC Summit that “bold steps” need to be taken to prevent China from continuing reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea?

A    China and the United States have extensive common interests in this region, and we should continue to deepen dialogue and cooperation on regional affairs and work together to promote active interactions and inclusive cooperation in the Asia Pacific, and work with countries in the Asia Pacific to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in this region.

China is committed to the path of peaceful development and a neighboring foreign policy characterized by good neighborliness and partnership with our neighbors. Islands in the South China Sea since ancient times are China’s territory. We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, managing differences and disputes through dialogue, and addressing disputes through negotiation, consultation, and peaceful manner, and exploring ways to achieve mutual benefit through cooperation.

We’re committed to respecting and upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight that countries enjoy according to international law. Relevant construction activities that China are undertaking in the island of South — Nansha Islands do not target or impact any country, and China does not intend to pursue militarization.

China and the United States have a lot of common interests on the issue of South China Sea. We both support peace and stability of the South China Sea. The countries directly involved should address their dispute through negotiation, consultation and in peaceful means. And we support freedom of navigation and overflight of countries according to international law and the management of differences through dialogue, and full and effective implementation of DOC and an early conclusion of the consultation of COC based on consensus-building. We have agreed to maintain constructive communication on relevant issues.

Q    Cannot taking “bold steps” mean nothing else than physical war?

A    Thank you. In my view, the US in economic, in military, has remarkable strength. And other countries in the world are also developing. Still, the US has un-compared advantages and strength..

The Cold War has long ended. Today’s world has entered into an era of economic globalization where countries are interdependent upon each other. People should move ahead with the times, and give up on the old concepts of “you lose, I win” or “zero-sum game,” and establish a new concept of peaceful development and willing cooperation.

If China develops well, it will benefit the whole world and benefit the United States. If the US develops well, it will also benefit the world and China.

China’s policy toward the US is consistent and transparent. As the world’s biggest developing country and biggest developed countries, and as the world’s two biggest economies, our two sides have broad and common interests on world peace and human progress, and shoulder important and common responsibilities, although our two sides also have certain differences. But the common interests of the two countries far outweigh those differences.

It is also my sincere hope that the two sides of China and the US will proceed from the fundamental interests of the two peoples and world people, make joint efforts to build a new model of major-country relations between two countries, and realize non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and cooperation.

That should serve as a direction where both sides should strive unswervingly. China is the current international system’s builder, contributor, and developer, and participant, and also beneficiary. We are willing to work with all other countries to firmly defend the fruits of victory of the Second World War, and the existing international system, centered on the — and at the same time, promote them to developing a more just and equitable direction.

China has raised the One Belt One Road initiative and proposed to establish the AIIB, et cetera. And all of their aims are to expand mutual and beneficial cooperation with other countries and realize common development. These initiatives are open, transparent, inclusive. They are consistent in serving the interests of the US and other countries’ interest. And we will come — the US and other parties — to actively participate in them.

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To reiterate, the foregoing Question-And-Answer is a contrived one, to make up for the futility of a real one-on-one with President Xi Jinping. But the author swears under oath that there’s not a single word quoted of President Jinping that did not come from his mouth.

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