UNSC permanent members involvement in Conference on Cyprus should be based on consensus, Chinese Ambassador tells CNA

China maintains an open attitude with regard to the involvement of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in a new Conference on Cyprus, and believes that their involvement, except that of the UK, should be based on the consensus reached between the two communities, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Huang Xingyuan has told CNA in an interview.

The Ambassador pointed out that only when all parties agree on their participation and make appropriate arrangements, will it have a positive impact.

In the interview, he said that as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, China would like to encourage all parties to maintain the enthusiasm for negotiations, to support and assist efforts by the UN and other parties, jointly creating favorable conditions for the resumption of talks.

On the resumption of peace talks, he stressed that the most crucial thing is the firm will and positive actions of the two communities.

He noted that despite the temporary difficulties encountered in the Cyprus talks, we believe that the Cypriot people have the will, the wisdom and the ability to overcome the current difficulties, assuring that China will continue to play a constructive role in maintaining the stability on the island and promoting the resumption of talks.

Huang stressed that Chinas position on the Cyprus problem is consistent and clear and that his country firmly supports the Cyprus problem to be resolved on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations with a comprehensive, fair and reasonable solution and supports all peaceful efforts conducive to a settlement.

Furthermore, he noted that the Cyprus talks is a Cypriot-led process and the United Nations has been playing the role of active support and assistance.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of UN-backed negotiations, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, ended inconclusively in July 2017.

Asked about Cyprus’ role in this troubled region, he said that situated at the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is one of the few democracies in the region that maintains political stability and social tranquility, gaining the name of ‘the anchor of stability’ in the Mediterranean. A case in point is the record number of tourists to Cyprus in the past two years thanks to its credibility as a safe haven in the region.

With regard to the drilling operations taking place in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, Huang said that the discovery of natural gas reserves in the EEZ means a precious asset to the people and a great opportunity for economic and social development.

Once the offshore natural gas resources are developed and utilized, the country will soon change from an energy importing country to a net exporter, which will significantly improve the governments fiscal position, invigorating the construction and development across the countries, and helping fulfill the target of building Cyprus into a regional energy centre, commercial centre and holiday centre, he noted.

In addition, he said, energy can also serve as a catalyst for promoting regional cooperation and bridging the contradictions between different countries. In this sense, the issue of energy will also bring new hope for the reunification of this island at earlier date, the Ambassador underlined.

Asked about the relations between Cyprus and China, the Ambassador said that China-Cyprus relations are embracing a new era with broad prospects in the cooperation between China and Cyprus in various fields such as politics, culture, tourism, economy, trade and investment.

China and Cyprus have maintained solid political mutual trust and cooperation, understanding and supporting each other on the issues of core interests and in the international affairs, he noted.

The Ambassador added that China would like to continue to strengthen high-level exchanges between the two countries in the future, and hopes that Cyprus, as a member state of the European Union, would work with China to actively promote the development of China-EU relations.

Huang noted that In 2017 the number of tourists from both countries hit a record high, with encouraging growth momentum, and expressed the belief that the increase will continue at a steady pace with the efforts of both sides.

We will continue to promote Chinese culture in Cyprus through the ‘Heart to Heart’ cultural exchange program, and will also be willing to actively cooperate with relevant departments to promote Cypriot culture in China, the Ambassador said.

In addition, he noted, the two countries signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of academic degrees in 2017 and the further implementation of the agreement will continuously enrich the cooperation achievements in the educational field.

Huang said that from an economic point of view, we can see great potential in bilateral trade and investment prospects between the two countries, while Cyprus can be also an excellent transfer hub for Chinese goods and capital when expanding the surrounding market areas such as the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Currently, as the economy of Cyprus continues its recovery and growth, Chinas exports to Cyprus usher in a good opportunity. At the same time, the high-quality agricultural and sideline products from Cyprus are attracting more attention and love in the Chinese market, besides the traditional exports to China such as chemicals and medicines, he said.

He added that in recent years, we have welcomed more Chinese investment to Cyprus. Chinese or Chinese-invested enterprises in the telecommunications, energy, aviation and other fields have also made great achievements.

He stressed that the Cypriot government has been making great efforts in attracting Chinese investment to Cyprus, encouraging the Chinese enterprises to participate in the construction of infrastructure, science and technology parks, ports, aviation and tourism facilities, which provides many opportunities for the Chinese investors.

Asked about China’s increasingly leading role in world affairs, including trade, finance, the economy, culture, education etc, the Ambassador said that over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has leapt to the second largest economy and the largest trading nation of goods in the world, contributing more than 30% to the global economic growth.

Furthermore, he noted that over the past four years since the Belt and Road Initiative was put forward, China has been actively promoting political mutual trust, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges among all countries along the region under the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, receiving high recognition from the international community. The efforts of China aiming at world peace and development should not be curbed by cold-war mentality, he underlined.

He said that China pledges to dedicate more quality public goods to the world, to assume more due international obligations and to make greater contribution to the cause of world peace and development.

Asked about China’s position as regards the situation on the issue of North Korea, the Ambassador said that China has been making unremitting efforts to solve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and playing an important and constructive role all along.

He noted that the past has proven that pressure and sanction only will not fundamentally settle the issue. The only right solution is to resolve the legitimate security concerns of all parties in a balanced way through dialogues. China put forward the ‘suspension-for-suspension’ proposal and the ‘dual-track’ approach as a responsible power, these are the most pragmatic process and ideas for resolving this issue, he said.

Huang noted that all parties directly concerned and stakeholders in the Peninsula issue should shoulder their due responsibilities and play a constructive role so that the situation could return to the right track of cooling down and persuading all parties to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible and properly resolve the issue through dialogue.

He expressed hope that all parties can work for the shared goal to seize the current window of opportunity and take an important step forward towards settling the issue through dialogue.

Source: Cyprus News Agency