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Wang Yi Holds Talks with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney
2021-05-31

On May 30, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney in Guiyang.

Wang Yi said, China-Ireland relations have maintained sound and steady growth, and become more mature. The most important experience is that, despite their difference in history, culture, social system, China and Ireland respect each other's choice of development path, tolerate each other's differences, strengthen mutual trust, and expand common ground, contributing to bilateral cooperation and world peace and stability. This precious experience should be carried forward.

Wang Yi expressed, the essence of China-Ireland practical cooperation is mutually beneficial, and the major driver is complementarity. Ireland is one of the few EU member states that maintain trade surpluses with China for over ten consecutive years, and China has become the second biggest market of Irish meat and dairy products. China will open its door wider to the outside world. The China International Import Expo annually held is to show the world that we do not engage in trade protectionism, but share development opportunities with the world. We should leverage mechanisms such as China-Ireland Technological Innovation Joint Commission, strengthen exchange and cooperation in fields such as technological innovation, quality agriculture, higher education, and cultural industry. China hopes that the Irish side will, as always, provide an open, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for the Chinese companies investing and operating in Ireland. Both sides should continue to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and further consolidate the social basis of the bilateral ties. China will endeavor to prepare for Beijing Winter Olympic Games, and expect the excellent performance of Irish athletes.

Wang Yi said, the fight against the pandemic is both an "unexpected" and "protracted" war. Despite the enormous demand at home and the serious imbalance between supply and demand, China has supplied 340 million doses of vaccines to the world, honoring its pledge to turn vaccines into a global public good with practical actions. China will provide an additional 3 billion U.S. dollars over the next three years to support COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in other developing countries. China and Ireland can leverage respective strengths and strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, keep the industrial and supply chains smooth and stable, and facilitate the faster recovery of the world economy.

Wang Yi expressed, China always believes that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community, and that world affairs should be handled through extensive consultation. This is the essence of multilateralism. To advance multilateralism, all countries should uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and universally recognized international laws and basic norms governing international relations. The so-called "rules" formulated by a few countries or groups of countries are not real multilateralism. China values the Irish unique role and influence in the regional and international affairs, and it stands ready to enhance coordination and cooperation with Ireland under multilateral frameworks such as the UN Security Council, and jointly adhere to and practice the true multilateralism.

Wang Yi said, China and Europe Union (EU) are comprehensive strategic partners, not rivals. The bilateral cooperation far outweighs competition, and we agree much more than we disagree. We should not be afraid of differences, but enhance understanding, clarify matters, remove misgivings and distinguish right from wrong through equal dialogues. More importantly, the EU should understand China's development stages in an objective and unbiased manner, assess China's progress based on facts, and deal with its relations with China in a calm and evidence-based manner. Ireland is a stable force within the EU, and China believes that Ireland will continue to play a positive role in promoting the sound and stable development of the China-EU relations.

As a reply, Wang Yi also talked about the true situation in Xinjiang, and the process of Hong Kong's transition from chaos to stability, and expounded China's position on Xinjiang- and Hong Kong-related issues.

Coveney congratulates on China's successful control of the COVID-19 after making arduous efforts, and thanks China for offering valuable support and sincere assistance in Irish fight against the pandemic. He said, Ireland is the most open economy, and China is the largest consumer market. Ireland prioritizes its practical cooperation with China, and stands ready to deepen cooperation with China in fields such as cyber security, and aviation, as well as at local levels to overcome the impact of the pandemic and actively promote people-to-people exchanges. Overseas Chinese are highly respected in Ireland, and they make a significant contribution to Irish social and economic development. Ireland welcomes the investment from China, and hopes to become a gateway of Chinese enterprises to the European market.

Coveney said, Ireland firmly supports the role of the UN and its institutions, and praises China's firm safeguarding of multilateralism despite headwinds of unilateralism. It is indeed not easy, but multilateralism is vital to small and medium-sized countries. Ireland evaluates positively that China courageously undertook its responsibilities in its presidency of the UN Security Council this May, and played a leading role on the issues related to Africa and the Middle East. Ireland is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with China in fields such as climate change and peacekeeping, and jointly promote the WHO to play its due role. The international community should focus on anti-virus cooperation rather than point fingers. Both Europe and China play a vital role in the world and share broad interests in areas such as climate change, sustainable development, and global governance. It is still the shared aspiration of European countries to strengthen cooperation with China. Both sides will make irrevocable mistakes of historic consequences if each side goes its way due to certain man-made obstacles. The EU-China comprehensive investment agreement serves the common interests, so both sides should overcome the current difficulties through candid dialogues. As a good friend of China in the EU, Ireland is willing to be China's trustworthy partner, and it expects further progress of the EU-China relations.

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