President Xi's interview in Sochi draws high comments

President Xi’s interview in Sochi draws high comments

In Club News by Stephen Perry

President Xi was interviewed at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Xinhua, Global Times, People’s Daily and China Radio all included comment by the chairman of the 48 Group Club.
Below is the full article from Xinhua:

BEIJING, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping’s latest interview with Rossiya TV on the sideline of attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Russia has drawn high comments from the international community.

Xi received an exclusive interview with Rossiya TV in the southern Russian city of Sochi on Saturday, saying he is “very satisfied” with the fruitful development of China-Russia ties.

Xi, in the interview, extended the message of friendship and cooperation between China and Russia, and evinced China’s determination to further deepen its reform, foreign scholars and experts told Xinhua in response to Xi’s interview with the Russian media organization.

Yakov Berger, a senior analyst with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Xi talked about the prospects of China’s comprehensive and deepening reforms.

“In general, Xi’s interview focuses on the strengthened role of the market in the Chinese economy,” he said, “A special and authoritative body has been established for these reforms — China’s leading group for overall reform, which is led by the Chinese president himself.”

“China will do its utmost to overcome difficulties, further push forward the reform program, in order to realize ‘the Chinese Dream’, the revival of the Chinese nation,” he said.

A Russian journalist named Nicolai Pasca said despite the tight schedule of the visit, President Xi spared time to receive the interview with Rossiya TV, which highlighted his special and serious attention to China’s relations with Russia.

Pasca told Xinhua that in the interview, Xi highly praised the development of the China-Russia ties, noting the bilateral relationship has entered a phase where it boasts the most solid foundation, the highest level of mutual trust, and the greatest regional and global influence ever.

“Xi made Russia the first stop of his maiden foreign trip after he took office last year, and now he came to Sochi to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. This reflects the high level and special nature of the China-Russia relations,” Pasca said.

“I am sure the strategic partnership between the two countries will enjoy more significant development in future,” he added.

Xi’s attendance at the opening ceremony of the on-going Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia also underscores China’s emphasis on the soft power aspect of sports and its growing involvement in high-level diplomacy, British experts have said.

“China’s high-level diplomacy was an occasional concern to China’s leaders, but now it shares top priority with domestic issues,” said Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting relations between Britain and China.

Perry, a seasoned British entrepreneur and China watcher, said Xi’s Sochi trip shows that China’s foreign policy is more “proactive,” adding that the country sees sports as a part of “soft power.”

“In this period, China’s domestic reforms are being challenged by some international adventurism. China will act more proactively to ensure global stability and peace,” he said.

Shada Islam, a director at the Friends of Europe policy group, said the meeting is an indication of the importance that China and Russia accorded each other and their efforts to maintain good relations at a time of increasing global tensions.

“It is good to develop amicable relations with important neighbors and partners in BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” he said.

Aldo Ferrari, director of the Caucasus and Central Asia Program of Milan-based ISPI institute of International Politics, said, “Xi’s presence in Sochi should be especially significant considering some evident absences,” meaning that “several heads of Western states did not show up at the event while the Chinese president was there in person.”

Ferrari noted the two countries shared some “common views” in their foreign policies, such as “the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs, which they both respect.”

“China and Russia are two global powers and their collaboration will continue in the next decades,” he told Xinhua.

“China has positioned itself as the main actor at the international level, both at present and in the future. Every country in the world, especially Russia, wish that China’s leaders will continue to rule the country with the same carefulness and acuity adopted so far,” Ferrari said.` In the interview with Rossiya TV, Xi showed the Chinese government’s determination to tackle tough issues, said Japanese political commentator Jiro Honzawa.

If corruption could be eliminated, he believed, China’s reform would create a new situation.

Xi noted in the interview that China and Russia will boost mutual support to those important issues concerning each other’s core interests and turned the political advantages of their bilateral ties into cooperation advantages, said Han Jae-Jin, director of the China Studies Division of South Korea’s Hyundai Economic Research Institute.

This indicated that the Chinese government will further strengthen its political cooperation with Russia as well as their cooperation in other fields, which will play an important role in enhancing the two countries’ economic developments, Han said.

The South Korean expert also noted that Xi’s trip to Sochi showed to the world the Chinese leader’s image of an amicable person, as well as the new Chinese leadership’s determination to strengthen communications and establish friendly relations with various countries in the world.