Nothing will stand in China’s way, foreign minister assures the nation

Simone McCarthy

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has used an end-of-year interview to blast the West’s “interference” in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, telling Chinese state media it was “doomed to fail”.

“Any attempt to interfere in China’s domestic affairs and to block its development will be left behind as the wheel of history turns,” he said.

Wang, who sits on the Communist Party’s policy coordination group on Hong Kong and Macau affairs, said Beijing would remain “consistent, confident and patient” in dealing with what he described as attempts to sabotage China’s development.

“On Hong Kong, we have staunchly supported the special administrative region government in stopping the violence, restoring order and governing in accordance with the law.

“Time will prove that the ‘one country, two systems’ principle will not only work and work well in Hong Kong, but will also win public support,” he said.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) during his end-of-year interview with state broadcaster CCTV. Photo: Handout

Wang noted Beijing’s success in luring more countries to sever their official diplomatic ties with Taipei and hailed his country’s counterterrorism work in Xinjiang, where an estimated 1 million Uygur and other Muslim minorities are in detention. China has denied the figure, but declined to provide an exact number.

The interview, with party newspaper People’s Daily and central broadcaster CCTV, capped a complicated year for China’s foreign policy.

In addition to concerns from abroad over the strained ties across the Taiwan Strait, the months-long anti-government protests in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang internment programme, 2019 was also dominated by trade and technological disputes with the US.

Wang expressed disappointment that the anniversary in January of 40 years of diplomatic ties between China and the US had been marred by US restrictions on China in trade, science and technology, as well as its interference in China’s sovereignty. Such attempts, Wang said, were futile.

“No one or no force can prevent the 1.4 billion Chinese people from striding towards modernisation,” he said.

Wang also stressed the importance of maintaining close diplomatic ties with the EU, which labelled China a “systemic rival” in March. “We are partners, not rivals; friends, not enemies,” he said, in an echo of his remarks to Brussels earlier in December, that China should be seen as a partner not a competitor.

Wang framed Europe as a key partner in China’s vision for a multilateral world order which, he said, was in a vital contest with unilateralism “playing out on a global scale”.

Wang also highlighted the advancement of Sino-Russian ties in 2019, describing them as the “cosiest and most robust” of all the great power relationships. He noted the growing trade figures between the two countries and the opening earlier in December of the Power of Siberia pipeline which will supply northeastern China with natural gas.

The two countries, which upgraded their strategic partnership in June at a meeting between their heads of state, would stand “shoulder to shoulder” against hegemony and their cooperation would “keep marching forward”, he said.

Wang also noted that China remained willing to take an active role in the brokering of a peace deal on the Korean peninsula.

He also stressed Beijing’s work in 2019 to stabilise the Indo-Pacific region, including its mediation efforts between India and Pakistan and the ongoing negotiations for a code of conduct in the disputed South China Sea.

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