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Ambassador Zhan Yongxin Gives Telephone Interview to Israeli Army Radio

On October 2nd, Ambassador Zhan Yongxin gave a telephone interview to Israeli Army Radio with Chief Asia Correspondent Mr. Agam Levy on China's development, China-Israel relations and issues of Hong Kong and Xinjiang. The full text of the interview is as follows.

Q: The 70th anniversary of the PRC comes at a crucial time in China's history - in which Beijing assumes a global leadership position. What will China's leadership in the world look like?

A: Thank you for having me on the program, and thank you for the attention on China and its future.

Indeed, the 70th anniversary is at a critical juncture of China's history. In the past 70 years, Chinese people put an end to the century of humiliation and turned China from a backward and poor country into a country that is open and on the move.

Over 700 million Chinese have been lift out of poverty; average life expectancy increased from 35 years to 77 years; China became the second largest economy, the largest trader in goods and the largest contributor of global growth.

However, the development task is formidable for China. China is still a developing country, our per capita GDP is only a quarter of Israel's and our motherland has yet to be reunited.

According to our strategy, we will stay focused on Peace and Development, and contribute more to mankind in the years to come. We will uphold peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit,stay committed to opening-up and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Let me elaborate. Peaceful development has long been incorporated in China's Constitution, and it is the cornerstone of China's foreign policy. China will never pursue hegemony or seek expansion. We respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, as well as their social system and development path. We are ready to share our experience and provide necessary assistance. Yet, we have no intention to export our model or to lecture others.

Another point,China pursues mutually beneficial cooperation. In this globalized world, countries all rise or fall together. A zero-sum mentality and beggar-thy-neighbor policy are recipes for failure. China is committed to fostering an open world economy and upholding the multilateral trading regime. It is our aim to advance our development as part of the development of the global community. In the next 15 years, China will import 30 trillion US dollars of goods and 10 trillion US dollars of services. We want everyone, including Israel to have a share in this cake of 40-trillion-US-dollars.

Q:The ties between China and Israel are constantly improving. Is there a common basis for this relationship, besides economic interests? In which ways are China and Israel similar?

A: As you said, China-Israel relations have been enjoying sound momentum of growth. Economically we have been doing very well. The trade has grown from 10.9 billion US dollars in 2014 to almost 14 billion US dollars in 2018. And we are working on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement. It will boost our economic cooperation and bring more benefits to our people and businesses.

What is more important, China is pursuing the innovation-driven development strategy and Israel is a start up nation, we have great cooperation potential in this field.

Other than the economic interests, our relations are also built on many other pillars.

First, political mutual trust. In 2017, our leaders announced the establishment of the China-Israel Innovative Comprehensive Partnership. It defines innovation as the link between our growth strategies and demonstrates that we see each other as long-term opportunities, not one-time expediency.

Second, people-people relations. 4 years ago, only El Al operating direct flights between China and Israel. Now, the airlines like Hainan, Sichuan and Cathay Pacific have all joined the aviation network, making the trip faster, more affordable and more comfortable.From 2015 to 2018, the number of Chinese visiting Israel almost tripled from less than 50 thousand to 139 thousand.

Third, our history. China and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1992. But the friendship between the Chinese and the Jewish people goes way back as 1,000 years ago. We have created splendid civilizations but also endured untold sufferings, yet we have all risen after setbacks and are marching towards national rejuvenation. The common experience in our national memories draws us together and serves as the unbreakable foundation of our two countries.

During the Second World War, the Chinese people extended a helping hand and received tens of thousands of Jewish people escaping from the Holocaust. Shanghai city alone sheltered at least 25,000, exceeding the total number of those in Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand combined.

The relationship between China and Israel has all-round support from political, economic, cultural and historical levels; we have every confidence that it will enjoy good momentum in the future.

Q: While China celebrating the 70th anniversary, the demonstration in Hong Kong shows no sign of dying down. Could you please talk about Hong Kong situation?

A: I have two points to make.

First, what have been going on in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China are unrest and riot. It has nothing to do with human rights or democracy. The central government of China resolutely supports Hong Kong SAR to take all measures in accordance with the law to stop violence and restore order.

Second, Hong Kong is part of China; Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs that brook no foreign intervention. We resolutely oppose any attempt to plunge Hong Kong into chaos.

Since its return to motherland 22 years ago, Hong Kong has enjoyed all-round development under the principles of "One Country, Two Systems", Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high level of autonomy. Hong Kong people now enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and freedom. This is a basic fact that cannot be denied by anyone who is objective and free of prejudice.

Q: Many in Israel look up to China, in its fight against the terrorists in Xinjiang. What lessons can Israel learn from China when it comes to fighting radical Islamic terrorism?

A: Terrorism and extremism are the common enemy of all nations in the world. China has taken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures according to law, including the establishment of training centers in Xinjiang. Those measures have turned the situation around. In the past three years, not a single violent and terrorist incident took place in Xinjiang. The region now enjoys social stability and unity among all ethnic groups. People there are living a happy life with a stronger sense of fulfillment and security. They endorse the government's policies and measures wholeheartedly.

We also invited many groups of foreign diplomats, journalists, experts and scholars to visit Xinjiang and see with their own eyes the place as it is.

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