HK Economic Herald:
My question is for Mr. Luo. Since China began international cooperation against the virus, the China International Development Cooperation Agency has received much attention. Can you talk about its functions and focuses as a newly established agency?
Thanks for your question. The agency was set up three and a half years ago, and is directly affiliated with the State Council. Frankly speaking, it is better known abroad than at home. Many friends at home found the name of the agency, China International Development Cooperation Agency, confusing, as it contains both "China" and "international," so I am happy to take this opportunity to introduce it.
Some of the points I and my colleagues just mentioned already reflect the main responsibilities and functions of the agency. Specifically, directly affiliated with the State Council, the agency is responsible for drafting foreign aid policies and plans, approving foreign aid projects as well as supervising and assessing the implementation. We need to evaluate the necessity, possible problems and effects of a project and deal with the problems that might arise in the implementation. We are also responsible for coordinating efforts on major foreign aid issues and promoting reforms of foreign aid methods. This is a major decision of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council after the 19th CPC National Congress to promote the cause of foreign aid. Over the past three and a half years since its establishment, the agency has enacted reforms and optimized its setup while performing functions, thus giving China's foreign aid work in the new era a new look with new efforts and results.
First, we have made significant achievements in guaranteeing China's overall diplomacy. With serving head-of-state diplomacy as our top priority, we have participated in a series of President Xi Jinping's important bilateral and multilateral foreign affairs activities and proposed a number of impressive and feasible aid initiatives, which have seen results. Second, we have made notable progress in guiding South-South cooperation. We have strengthened the synergy of aid projects with the development plans of recipient countries, and launched aid projects in the fields of health care, education and culture, poverty relief and capacity building to enhance the economic and social development of recipient countries and the lives of their people, thus contributing Chinese strength to the implementation of the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We joined hands with other countries to cope with global challenges such as natural disasters and food crises, and provided emergency humanitarian aid more than 150 times. While providing assistance for fighting against the virus, we also provided emergency humanitarian aid in response to floods and food crises. Third, we have made new progress in supporting domestic development. We have given play to the leveraging and guiding role of foreign aid in boosting trade, investment and opening up at a higher level under the Belt and Road Initiative. We assisted recipient countries in their building of centers for inspection and quarantine, and provided their customs with commodity inspection equipment. We also encouraged good Chinese enterprises, products and technologies to go global based on the demand of recipient countries. Fourth, international exchanges and cooperation have born rich fruit. As we just stated, we held three important activities to mark the 70th anniversary of China's foreign aid, the 20th anniversary of the Juncao Assistance and Sustainable Development Cooperation, and the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund and the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development respectively. President Xi Jinping sent congratulatory letters to the latter two activities, which demonstrated the importance that Chinese leaders and the Chinese government attach to South-South cooperation and China's resolution to implement the sustainable development agenda as a responsible major country. These activities have received much attention from the international community and UN organizations. We released the white paper titled "China's International Development Cooperation in the New Era," and established relations with more than 50 countries and international organizations. Fifth, we have continued to deepen foreign aid reforms. We implemented new ideas for foreign aid, focusing on projects that can have timely and remarkable effects on people's livelihood though not large in scale. We strengthened the integrated design of soft and hard assistance and amplified the combined effects of projects. We sped up the process of enacting, amending or repealing laws and regulations and formally released 24 normative documents including the Measures for the Administration of Foreign Aid. According to the requirements of achieving optimization, coordination and efficiency, an inter-ministerial foreign aid coordination mechanism involving 25 departments was set up to strengthen coordination and unified management of foreign aid across all fields and departments. Here, I must stress that foreign aid projects are launched based on strict approval procedures and criteria instead of doing it at will. During the implementation of a project, strict supervision is required. After a project is completed, strict assessment is required. We established the Department of Supervision and Evaluation three years ago, which ensures the transparency, quality and honesty of our projects and that each project can deliver a satisfactory report.
Some Western countries, including the United States, have never stopped slandering and smearing the Belt and Road Initiative as well as our international cooperation against the virus. Since the founding of New China, more than 700 foreign aid workers have died in foreign countries. Our foreign aid workers fear no hardship, act with a sense of responsibility and demonstrate heroic spirit. The new era calls for a new sense of responsibility, and we will continue to fulfill our duties and pursue innovation to promote the high-quality development of our foreign aid work.
Of course, we should never forget where we came from, no matter how far we go. Over the past 71 years, our foreign aid work has adhered to our own ideas and principles, and had distinctive Chinese characteristics. First, equality and win-win cooperation. Second, honoring commitments and seeking concrete outcomes. We never make empty promises and always stand by our word. We contribute according to our ability and never try to be a savior. However, as long as we make a promise, we will do our best to fulfill it no matter how difficult it is. Third, focusing on development and believing that it is more important to show people how to fish rather than just giving them fish. Fourth, openness and inclusiveness, exchanges and mutual learning.
Next, we will make health the priority of our foreign aid and international development cooperation, and do our best to support international cooperation against the virus. We will focus on green development and continually implement the sustainable development agenda. We will also focus on people's livelihood and contribute to global economic recovery. Taking multilateralism as a guide, we will continue to improve global governance in the field of development cooperation. These will be the focus of our foreign aid and international development cooperation work going forward.
I hope that you will learn more about the agency, and I also welcome Chinese and foreign media friends to visit the agency. Our agency can work together with the State Council Information Office to organize activities for an Open House. This is an invitation to you all. Thank you all.
Thank you, Mr. Luo, and thank you all. Today's briefing is hereby concluded. Goodbye, everyone.
In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.