China's foreign minister says his country's main diplomatic mission is
to ensure continued economic growth at home. He also touched on many
other issues in a wide-ranging news conference Saturday, on the
sidelines of the annual session of China's legislature, the National
days of worldwide economic gloom, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi
says the economy is taking center stage in Chinese diplomacy.
says one over-arching objective is to "make every effort
to serve the goal of ensuring steady and rapid economic development in
The Chinese foreign minister repeated Beijing's position
that maintaining steady economic growth in China is the biggest
contribution it can make in efforts against the global economic crisis.
He said he believes relations between Beijing and Washington are off to a good start under the new Obama administration.
says President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama have had very good
telephone conversations, and have reached important agreements on
working together to advance China-U.S. relations.
foreign minister will go soon to Washington, to discuss arrangements
for the first meeting of the two presidents, expected at the G-20
summit in London in April.
Yang also pointed to a Chinese desire
to strengthen relations with Europe, despite a decision to cancel a
China-Europe summit in December. At the time, Beijing was angered by
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's meeting with Tibet's exiled
spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
The Chinese official said the
China-Europe meeting will be re-scheduled for later this year, but he
also emphasized Beijing's extreme sensitivity to the Dalai Lama.
called on other governments not to allow the man he referred to as
simply "Dalai," to visit their countries, or to use their territories
to engage in pro-Tibet independence activities.
The Dalai Lama
has publicly and repeatedly said he does not seek independence for his
homeland. Instead, he has called for greater cultural and religious
autonomy for Tibet, amidst charges by Tibetan activists that China is
trying to wipe out Tibetan culture.
Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign minister also discussed his country's growing relations with Africa.
says China appreciates the "tremendous support" from what he described
as China's "African friends and brothers" on Taiwan, Tibet, the Beijing
Olympics and the country's fight against natural disasters.
acknowledged that China's energy and resource cooperation with African
countries is based on mutual benefit. But he also said the Chinese
government's decision to pursue relations with another country is not
solely based on whether that country is rich in oil.
Beijing has been deeply touched by African goodwill, even when African
leaders tell Chinese leaders they have nothing concrete to give China.