FT: One question which is actually on a completely different theme. Europe, or I should say the euro area, has increasingly over the past couple of years talked about promoting the euro as an international currency. And in particular, this became relevant in the context of the American decision not to participate in the JCPOA. Do you see any prospect of a rival currency to the American dollar and in particular of the euro becoming the rival currency? Or is it your sense that the global financial system will continue to be dominated by the dollar despite the aspirations in Europe?
Zhang: The euro is about to enter its 21st year and it's already become an important currency in global economy and trade. It is not a bad thing for there to be a diversity of currencies in the international financial system, after all our world is moving toward multi-polarity.
I have noticed that the EU is not happy about the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the maximum pressure on Iran. They have put in place the INSTEX, and I can see more European countries on board now. We hope this mechanism could be effective and further expand its scope of business. In a sense, that would be helpful for the euro to be stronger in the world. I think there is a clear tendency that the euro becomes a major currency in the world. As for the time it needs, it depends.
FT: It is obviously that that the INSTEX project is still being developed. It would be difficult to describe it as a success at this point. People have often questioned whether America's very muscular use of sanctions would lead other parts of the world to develop alternatives to the dollar to avoid the power of the dollar payment system. The tendency seems to be that there is no sign of the dollar losing its status or U.S. sanctions losing their power as a result.
Zhang: I agree it is too early to say that INSTEX is a success now. I believe that the EU could be more assertive in this regard. It could be a good thing in terms of breaking the dollar's dominance and also it is a good thing for global peace and security.
FT: The EU diplomats say that China should be more assertive on Iran. Russia and China haven't really stepped up as much as they could, particularly in China's case, on buying oil.
Zhang: It is my first time to hear such argument. China and Iran are long-time cooperation partners, including in the field of oil. That cooperation continues even when the U.S is imposing sanctions. I think China, EU and Russia are all making efforts to promote the resolution of the Iran nuclear issue. I understand that the EU says that China should be more assertive in this regard, just as I am saying that Europe should be more assertive. We need to do the right thing that conforms to multilateralism and global peace and stability.