Spiegel Interview with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs

Germany’s Der Spiegel interviewed Fu Ying, China’s vice minister of foreign affairs:

SPIEGEL: How far will China go in terms of defending its interests? In the dispute over the sovereignty of the South China Sea, the tone can at times be quite sharp.

Fu Ying: We, too, are wondering why there is such strong rhetoric, since the countries involved are already engaged in dialogues on the basis of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in 2002. But this is a dispute of words, and what matters is that the shipping traffic in the South China Sea remains peaceful and there is no war or conflict going on.


SPIEGEL: The West perceives a lack of transparency and rule of law in the Chinese model.

Fu Ying: I think at the moment it is the Western governments that are having problems. We are observing what is going on in the West. We try to understand why so many governments made so many mistakes. Why do political parties make commitments they cannot fulfill? Why do they spend so much more than they have? Has the West been stagnating since the end of the Cold War? Or has it just become conceited?

SPIEGEL: Democracies are very complicated, and compared to tightly ruled systems, they are at a disadvantage. Do you feel superior?

Fu Ying: Superiority is the not the word we use. The Chinese are very modest. We respect your success and we learn from you. You are in the post-industrialized era. Many of the problems you encounter might occur in China later. So we want to see how you address those problems, and if we can learn from you.

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