Chinese premier responds to "arrogance" charge

The attitude of China and its people towards foreign countries and how China acts on the international stage were a hot topic at a press conference Sunday when Premier Wen Jiabao met the press.

China remains a developing county despite its achievements, Wen said. The country pursues peaceful development and advocates international cooperation, however, it would never hesitate to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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He was first asked at the press conference after the National People's Congress (NPC) annual session to comment on his "decision not to attend a key meeting" before the Copenhagen climate change summit last year and the Chinese delegation to the Copenhagen conference being perceived as "arrogant."

Wen said he and the Chinese delegation hadn't received any invitation to a small-scope meeting between several countries' leaders on Dec. 17.

"We haven't received any explanation until now. It's still a mystery to me," Wen said.

Wen said he learned from a European country's leader, at a banquet hosted by Danish Queen, about the meeting that would be held later in the evening, and saw China was on the list of the meeting's participating countries.

He immediately told the Chinese delegation to check and confirmed that no notification had been received, even though, he decided to send Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to the meeting on behalf of the Chinese delegation.

He also voiced his dissatisfaction on the snub against China, "It still perplexes me why some people keep trying to make an issue about China (in this regard)."
 
Wen was also asked to comment on that some foreign enterprises complained Chinese investment environment not as friendly as before, after Google's claim to pull out from the Chinese market and the arrest of Rio Tinto's four employees on charges of stealing state secrets.

He said the complaint are not in accordance with the fact that there is big amount of foreign capital entering China every year, however, he was still willing to answer the question.

Wen said that China welcomed foreign investors to do their business in line with the Chinese laws. He also encouraged them to bring more research and development centers into the country so as to improve the efficiency in the use of foreign capitals.

China will make institutional arrangements to turn the country into a "fair playing ground" for foreign investors and grant foreign enterprises "national treatment," said Wen.

He also directly admitted shortcomings of his work in this field.

"Speaking of shortcomings in our work, my contacts with foreign investors are not close enough," said Wen.

He pledged to create more opportunities to exchange ideas with foreign investors in the remaining three years of his tenure.

A Singaporean reporter also said that some Chinese people may make extreme reactions to some issues concerning China's foreign policy as they feel the country has been more powerful now.

In recent reports of some foreign media, China has been described as being full of self-confidence, even nearly arrogant. They contributed the change of attitude to China's good performance during the global financial crisis.

On March 7, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was also asked for comments on China's "tough stance" in recent diplomatic issues, including the reaction to the U.S. arm sale to Taiwan.

Yang said that China was misunderstood and he called for the abandonment of "colored spectacles" about China.

"We stick to our principals, which is totally different from being tough," he said.

It has always been the mission for China's diplomacy to defend China's sovereignty, security and development interests, while promoting world peace and development, he said.

Yu Wanli, associated professor of the School of Foreign Studies of the Peking University, said China's interests have been more and more closely connected with the world, therefore, China begins to express its stance and opinions in a clearer way.

"Some foreign countries may have not been accustomed to this (change in attitude)," Yu said.

NPC Deputy Gong Jianhua, also mayor of Yichun City of Jiangxi Province, said the fact that China is a developing country with remarkable achievements decided the attitude towards foreign investment changed.

"It's more independent, not arrogant," he said.

At Sunday's press conference, Wen reiterated China's role in world affairs in the future.

China will work together with other nations towards a fair and reasonable new political and economic order of the world, he said.

He said China is concentrating its efforts on economic and social development, which needs a peaceful and safe external environment.

Source: Xinhua