As Shaanxi becomes increasingly internationalized, the number of foreign affairs-related activities is also on the rise over the years. Take the provincial government as an example, 153 foreign affairs-related activities were attended by provincial leaders in 2015, an increase of 50%. These international activities involve a broad range of countries at a high level and are highly systematic with remarkable achievements accomplished. Seven features are prominent.
1. Hometown diplomacy becomes the new highlight of Shaanxi’s foreign affairs-related activities.
In May 2015 when Indian Prime Minister Modi was visiting Shaanxi, president Xi Jinping returned here to meet him, which is an example of home diplomacy between great countries.
The hometown diplomacy starts on September 17th2014, when president Xi Jinping visited Modi’s hometown Gujarat Province. The visit was praised by Indian media as “Inch towards miles”. It’s also when President Xi invited Modi to visit his hometown Xi’an on his trip to China. The hometown diplomacy in Shaanxi in 2015 is a return visit for the previous year and is highly predictive and prospective.
As the hometown of president Xi, Shaanxi plays a crucial role in hometown diplomacy.
Governor Lou Qinjian meeting President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Vice governor Wang Lixia welcoming President of Azerbaijan at the airport
Governor Lou Qinjian meeting president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić in Xi’an
Vice governor Wang Lixia greeting President Nikolić and his wife at the airport
Vice governor Wang Lixia welcoming president of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj at the airport
King Alexander of Netherland trying local Luochuan apple during his visit to a farmer’s house in Shaanxi
In 2015, Indian Prime Minister Modi, president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, president of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, King Alexander of Netherland and Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova all visited Shaanxi as the first leg of their trip to China, indicating that more similar situations will happen in the future.
2. “Belt and Road”-related foreign activities are increasing year on year.
In autumn of 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the major initiative of jointly building “Silk Road Economic Belt” and “21stCentury Maritime Silk Road” during his visit to Central Asia and Southeast Asia. It was proposed to build the “Community of Common Interest” for mutual benefit and win-win situation and “Community of Common Destiny” for common development and prosperity with countries along the Silk Road, garnering close international attention.
As the starting point of the ancient “Silk Road”, Shaanxi plays a critical role in the “Belt and Road”strategy. President Xi spoke at various occasions that Shaanxi is the starting point of the ancient “Silk Road”and his hometown. Shaanxi is becoming the pathway to Central, South and West Asia, trade and logistics hub and base for major industries and people-to-people exchange.
Vice chairman of Shaanxi Provincial CPPCC Li Xiaodong addressing the audience of “2015 Silk Road Economic Belt Strategy and Health Enhancement Seminar”
There is a dramatic increase in activities about this particular Strategy in recent two years. Especially in 2015, as many as 26 “Belt and Road” -related foreign activities were attended by provincial leaders, signifying the importance of Shaanxi in Belt and Road” strategy. We need to capitalize on Shaanxi’s status and edges in the national strategy to promote Shaanxi and bring its international influence and appeal into better play.
3. Cooperation projects made possible by foreign affairs-related activities lead the great growth of Shaanxi’s in-bound investment.
Many foreign affairs-related activities are related to trade and investment, which may bring about tangible results and make investment in major projects possible.
Secretary of CPC Shaanxi Provincial Committee Zhao Zhengyong and Governor Lou Qinjian meeting President Tulin of 3M and his wife
Governor Lou Qinjian and President Kim Ki-nam of Samsung Electronics cutting the ribbon at the Ceremony celebrating the completion of SamsungPackage Testing Center and launching of products.
In recent years, such projects as Samsung, 3M, China-Russia Silk Road Innovation Park, China-Singapore Industry Park were greatly promoted by relevant foreign affairs activities. For instance, thirteen activities related to Samsung project were arranged in 2015. 92 companies have been built in Xi’an to provide supporting services to Samsung project with a total investment of 450 million US dollars. The demonstration effects of such projects have been dramatically driving Shaanxi’s economic growth and inbound investment. Up till now, 110 projects from 74 of World’s top 500 companies have been set up in Shaanxi, turning it into the new hot land for foreign investment.
4. New breakthroughs have been achieved with frequents visits made by foreign ambassadors in China.
Since 2015, ambassadors, minister counselors and consul generals from dozens of countries and regions have visited Shaanxi and met with our provincial leaders. The skyrocketing of the number of such meetings is a new breakthrough in Shaanxi’s international exchange.
Governor Lou Qinjian meeting US ambassador to China Baucus
Those diplomats that have visited Shaanxi include Ambassador Baucus of the US, Ambassador Gourdault-Montagne of France, Ambassador Ettore Francesco Sequi of Italy, South Korean Ambassador Kim Jangju, Ambassador Jorge Torres-Pereira of Portugal, Ambassador Loh Ka Leung of Singpore, Israeli AmbassadorMatan Vilnai, Pakistani Ambassador Massood Khalid, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to China, Ambassador Guy Saint-Jacques of Canada, Ambassador KITERA Masato of Japan, Ambassador Mahesh Maskey of Nepal,Afghanistan Minister Counselor, Egyptian Minister Counselor and Singaporean consul general in Chengdu Mr. Gan Teng Kiat.
Governor Lou Qinjian meeting French Ambassador to China Mr. Gourdault-Montagne
Their visits suggest that increasing attention has been paid to Shaanxi by other countries. Those visits are also on-the-spot investigations of Shaanxi’s investment environments, usually bringing along with them big domestic companies. Shaanxi has also been authorized to establish a consular area. Three consulates have been set up so far, including that of South Korea, Thailand and Cambodia.
5. Hosting visiting foreign governors and mayors is a crucial way for establishing friendly relationships.
In 2015, a large number of governors and mayors from other countries visited Shaanxi, home province of president Xi, enchanted by Shaanxi’s ancient history and culture. The visits also offered channels for building friendly relationships and expanding cooperation in economy and trade.
Governor Lou Qinjian meeting Council of State Governments of the US led by Governor BrianSandoval of Nevada State
Vice governor Wang Lixia meeting Premier Will Hodgman of Tasmania State of Australia
Many governors or mayor have expressed intentions of building friendly relationships or trade ties during their visits, including those of Nevada State, Washington State, Delaware State of the US, Tasmania State of Australia,Mecklenburg State of Germany, Jalal-Abad Province of Kyrghyzstan, Erongo Province of Namibia, Sejong Municipality of South Korea and Cologne City of Germany.
6. An increasing number of international conferences and activities are held in Shaanxi.
The 19thConference of the Transport Sub-committee of China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting Committee was held in Xi’an, Shaanxi in 2015.
The 14thMeeting of the Economic and Trade Ministers’ Meeting of SCO
Member States took place in Xi’an in 2015.Against the background of economic globalization and great development of connectivity, an increasing number of international conferences and activities have been held in Xi’an. Apart from the Silk Road Expo and Euro-Asia Forum hosted by Shaanxi, we also organized over ten large-scale international events, including the 14thMeeting of the Economic and Trade Ministers’ Meeting of SCO Member States, International Statistics Conference, 19thConference of China-Russia Transport Committee, 99th Council of Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), 16thConference of China-Russia Cultural Cooperation Committee, training session for World Intellectual Property Organization. As the increasing of international events pose new challenges to Shaanxi, they also prove testimony to Shaanxi’scapability of organizing important international events.
Deputy Prime Minister Golodets and Vice Premier Liu Yandong at the conference at 16thConference of China-Russia Cultural Cooperation Committee We should put more effort into winning the bid for organizing more international events in Shaanxi, which is not only crucial for improving Shaanxi’s openness and international profile, but also beneficial for attracting investments and increasing economic vitality.
7. Foreign affairs-related activities within the province and outside China become the new norm.
In recent years, Shaanxi is increasingly promoted where provincial leaders make overseas trips while bringing back the return visit by international friends and potential investors.
Governor Lou speaking at Shaanxi-Los Angeles Economic and Trade Promotion
When Governor Lou was making a visit to America in 2015 with state leaders, he attended the 3rdChina-US Governors’ Forum, Shaanxi-Los Angeles Economic and Trade Promotion and visited Boeing, Microsoft, Applied Materials and Micron for economic cooperation. The visit is important, for it helps Shaanxi and its American counterparts in complementing each other and deepening cooperation while resulting in the return visit of American governors and executives of US hi-tech company and facilitating the reaching of cooperation intentions in environmental and biodiversity protection.
Vice-governor Wang Lixia meeting Governors’ delegation from East Africa
As a reciprocal visit to vice-governor Wang Lixia’s visit to Africa for China-Africa Governors’ Forum, visits were made to Shaanxi by Governors’ delegation from East Africa, Guinea Minister of State, Kenya Art group and Tunisian delegation of Culture and Heritages, which are boosts to friendly exchange and make cooperation possible.
Governor Lou Qinjian attending 11thBeijing-Tokyo Forum
International events attended by provincial leaders in 2015 also include 11thBeijing-Tokyo Forum, 2ndChina-Africa Local Governments Cooperation Forum. Numerous rips to Beijing were also made to meet with General Secretary of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Dmitry Mezentsev and foreign ambassadors to China.
Vice-governor Wang Lixia speaking at 2ndChina-Africa Local Governments Cooperation Forum
In 2016, as a province with busy international activities, Shaanxi will participate in hosting important foreign activity outside the province, in addition to foreign activities within the province. Shaanxi will host the luncheon party at 2016 Boao Asian Forum. It’s worthwhile for foreign affairs-related government agencies to think about how to attract foreign investment and conduct international cooperation by fully displaying Shaanxi’s advantages and charm to impress foreign guests with these“Going Out” and “Introducing In” interactions.