Foreign Minister Wang Yi Gives Interview to Xinhua News Agency on “Implementation Day” of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iranian Nuclear Issue
January 17, 2016
1. The “Implementation Day” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iranian nuclear issue has arrived, and how do you think of the significance of the “Implementation Day”?
On the evening of January 16 local time, High Representative Federica Mogherini of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the P5+1 countries issued a joint statement in Vienna with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran to announce the arrival of the “Implementation Day” of the JCPOA. This is a positive message for the international community at the beginning of 2016. We have set a solid step toward the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. Since the “Implementation Day”, the JCPOA will enter a new stage of implementation from preparation, and the sanctions against Iran start to be removed. For the current international nuclear non-proliferation system facing ordeal, the arrival of the “Implementation Day” undoubtedly has a demonstration effect. And for the Iranian people longing for peace and development, today is a day worth celebrating.
This fruit is hard-won. Since the JCPOA was reached in last July, the P5+1 countries and Iran have made great preparations for its successful start and implementation, highlighting the political will and firm commitment to safeguarding the JCPOA. China expresses its appreciation to this.
2. What are the challenges in your opinion in the implementation of the JCPOA in the next phase? What’s China’s position and suggestions on successfully implementing the agreement?
From the “Implementation Day” on, the P5+1 countries, the EU and Iran will embark on a “voyage” as long as ten years. The agreement is not implemented in a “vacuum”, and it will inevitably encounter difficulties and challenges. However, no matter how far the destination is, we will get there as long as we have perseverance; no matter how difficult the task is, we will finish it as long as we have determination. We have finished a “mission impossible” by reaching the agreement; likewise, we can create history again by successfully implementing the agreement. China puts three pieces of proposal to this end.
First, to honor the commitments. With the arrival of the “Implementation Day”, the P5+1 countries and Iran will focus on the two main themes of measures in the nuclear field and lifting sanctions and honor their commitments, completing the step-by-step and reciprocal first round. In the next phase, all parties should continue to seize the JCPOA as a yardstick, stick to the principles of step by step, reciprocity, fairness and balance so as to fulfill commitments without any reservation.
Second, to enhance mutual trust. The Iranian nuclear issue is actually an issue of political security. The primary cause is the lack of mutual trust between parties concerned. All parties have accumulated certain political mutual trust through continuous contacts in the negotiations and implementation preparations of the JCPOA. In the future, all parties should continue to keep the general goal in sight, bear the overall situation in mind and persistently enhance mutual trust to make it the “ballast” of the follow-up implementation of the agreement.
Third, to understand and accommodate each other. The Iranian nuclear agreement is a balanced document and the product of compromised interests of all parties, embodying the greatest common divisor of all sides. Various riffles and rapids will inevitably appear in the voyage in the next ten years. We should continue to adhere to the spirit of reaching agreement, understand each other and seek common ground while reserving differences to properly resolve divergences, actively seek consensus and join efforts for progress. Only in this way can the agreement witness a stable and lasting implementation and achieve successful outcomes.
3. What roles does China play in the achievement and implementation of the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear issue?
China always holds the view of solving the Iranian nuclear issue through political and diplomatic means. China’s focus and starting point is always to fulfill our due international responsibilities and duties to consolidate the international nuclear non-proliferation system and safeguard international and regional peace and stability.
China constructively participated in the whole process of negotiations on the JCPOA, and put forward helpful solutions and approaches to promote the settlement of difficult issues such as uranium enrichment and lifting sanctions. After reaching the JCPOA, China has positively made preparations for the implementation of the agreement with all parties. In the issue of Arak heavy water reactor renovation in particular, China has launched highly effective cooperation with all parties such as the United States and Iran, and has promoted the reaching of the “official document” and “memorandum of understanding”, creating favorable conditions for the smooth arrival of the “Implementation Day”. China also donated four million RMB to the International Atomic Energy Agency for its relevant inspection tasks in Iran in 2015 and 2016 under the JCPOA.
The implementation of the JCPOA is an arduous and long-term task. Upon the arrival of the “Implementation Day”, I would like to reiterate that China’s solemn commitment to maintaining international peace and stability will never change, its political will to advance the implementation of the JCPOA will never be shaken, and its diplomatic efforts to seek peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue will never be reduced. China will continue to join all parties to make new contributions to promoting the comprehensive, long-term and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.