TIMELY HELP: A doctor from the Chinese international rescue team treats patients whose homes were swept by the ferocious floods in Pakistan on August 31 (YUAN MAN)
The fourth area I want to identify is science and technology. There are about 6,000 Pakistani students studying in China and most are studying medicine and genetics. Some specialize in physics, chemistry, aeronautics or astronautics. In the future, the fields are to be expanded to other fields, such as the nano-technology and bio-technology.
How is Pakistan progressing with post-flood reconstruction? What role do you expect China to play in this process?
This summer's floods were so massive and ferocious that the devastation still lingers. Many people are still living in temporary shelters. We have made all efforts to overcome this catastrophe and we were helped by the international community, including China. China came to the rescue immediately, providing us with blankets, tents and power generators. We are grateful to China for that.
China also sent several medical missions to Pakistan, each with 60 people who treated about 1,000 patients a day. Many patients cried when the nurses and doctors left.
In the northern part of Pakistan, to help Pakistani people overcome the natural catastrophe, China organized a huge team of 101 trucks to deliver items, such as sugar and salt, to the flood-affected areas.
When Premier Wen was at the United Nations [in September], he announced China would participate in the reconstruction of the flood-affected areas of Pakistan, and he announced a grant of $200 million. China has indicated its assistance will not just be limited to what was publicly announced. China would like to help Pakistan reconstruct the neighborhoods in the villages, townships and cities affected by the floods.
We need the Chinese expertise in building houses, hospitals and roads. Just like the reconstruction effort in China's Sichuan Province after the big earthquake, we are starting from scratch.
Terrorist attacks in Pakistan have been frequent in recent months. What are the reasons behind this and what further measures will the Pakistani Government take against terrorists?
It is a continuing threat that we have to combat. We have succeeded to some extent. But the challenge continues. We are cooperating with the U.S. military forces in this regard. It's going to be a long-term task, but we are hoping it could be over in a couple of years.
We are pursuing a policy of three Ds—dialogue, development and deterrence.
We want to have dialogue with the moderate terrorists within the Taliban, trying to persuade them to participate in normal civilized facilities, get jobs and so on. This is already working, to some extent.
The second measure is development. The areas where the terrorists are rampant are the least developed areas. The terrorists offer money, as well as other benefits, to many young people who join them. We are improving the economic condition of the local population in these areas and preventing young people from being lured to join the terrorists.
Lastly, if the measures of dialogue and development don't work, there is no other way but to confront them and eliminate them, militarily. That is military deterrence.
Premier Wen will also visit India during his upcoming trip. How would you evaluate the development of Pakistan-India relations over the past year?
In the past year, we have made several efforts. We have invited the Indians to join in structured, meaningful and sustained dialogue. We have not succeeded so far, but I think we should keep calling the Indians to the negotiating table to resume dialogues. We will also cooperate with the international community, including China in this regard. China has tried to calm tensions and promote dialogue. We appreciate China's efforts in this regard.
The United States has recently boosted its presence in Asia by getting increasingly involved in regional affairs. What implications will this strategic shift have for regional peace and stability?
I don't think there is a strategic shift of the United States. With regard to tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the following U.S. military exercises with Japan and South Korea, we fully support the efforts made by the Chinese Government to calm tensions and defuse escalations.
China has acted in a most responsible manner. We fully endorse China's policy of promoting peace and stability. China has great bilateral relations with Southeast Asian nations and these relationships should not be disrupted. If people do not behave in a responsible way, the situation will escalate further, and the consequences for the international community will be disastrous economically, politically and militarily.
Therefore, it is essential for everybody to step back and take a very measured approach. They should resort to engagement, but not confrontation. In this regard, we compliment China for the strength it has shown, for the wisdom it has displayed, and for the diplomatic efforts it has been making to bring all stakeholders to the negotiating table. China has called for the opening of the six-party talks in one form or the other. This is a very wise move. We hope the other countries can respond.