Strengthening friendship, progressing towards sustainable development in solidarity

TTimes
By TTimes October 16, 2020 11:01

Strengthening friendship, progressing towards sustainable development in solidarity

By ZHOU DING

October 1stmarks the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our embassy is not able to hold our National Day reception as usual. However, this should not stop us from taking the opportunity to reflect on the past, look to the future, and recognize our profound friendship.

I clearly remember September 21st of last year, when an earthquake suddenly hit Albania. Two days later, we held our National Day reception under these difficult circumstances. His Excellency President Meta, Speaker Ruçi and many Albanian friends attended the celebration, and I extended my heartfelt sympathies to the Albanian people affected by the earthquake. Two months later, a stronger earthquake jolted Albania, causing tremendous losses. On behalf of the Chinese government, I donated funds to the Albanian Red Cross and visited hard-hit areas. In this unique way, we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between us.     

China is no stranger to natural disasters; floods, droughts, and earthquakes have stricken our land throughout history. Historians believe that China’s earliest form of state came into being 4,000 years ago when people gathered together to combat the endless floods caused by the Yellow River. Looking through China’s thousands of years of written history, we believe in a simple truth — we can only defeat natural disasters with solidarity, and only when those in power put the people first can a country enjoy sustained peace and prosperity.   

71 years ago, the People’s Republic of China was founded after decades of strenuous struggles against fascist invasion and domestic chaos, securing hard-won national sovereignty, independence and dignity. During the 40 years of reform and opening up, the Chinese government has upheld people-centered development — relying on people to drive development and making development benefit the people. We’ve embarked on a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which took its root in the reality of China’s 9.6 million square kilometers of land territory, 1.4 billion population and 56 ethnic groups. It draws on the experiences and wisdom of ancient Chinese civilization, as well as other civilizations in the world, and experience from China’s 40 years of reform and opening-up.       

It is a huge responsibility and a tough challenge for the Chinese government to shelter its 1.4 billion people from famine, war and hatred and to let its people enjoy peace and prosperity. In the past 40 years, China has lifted 850 million people out of poverty. By the end of this year, we will be able to achieve the poverty reduction goal of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals 10 years ahead of schedule, creating a miracle in the world’s poverty reduction history. As the world’s second largest economy, largest trading country in goods, biggest consumer market and a leading center for innovation, China has contributed over 30% to the world’s economic growth for years. After the outbreak of the pandemic, the Chinese government implemented staunch measures based on the principle of respecting science and valuing life, and quickly put the pandemic under control. China also actively carried out international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, launching unprecedented scale of global emergency humanitarian assistance. We are proud of our achievements and our contribution to the world. China is not perfect, but full of opportunities and with bright prospects. According to long-term surveys conducted by a number of world’s renowned think tanks and polling agencies, the satisfaction rate of the Chinese public to the government exceeds 90%, which fully reflects the confidence of the Chinese people in their own development path.   

We live in a diverse world. Countries differ in historical and cultural backgrounds, political systems, and development experiences. China never attempts to export its system or model, nor does it interfere in other nations’ internal affairs. It intends to peacefully coexist and achieve prosperity with global partners, to jointly construct a shared future for mankind. At the same time, based on our history and reality, the Chinese people cherish and stay ready to make sacrifice to defend our own sovereignty, unity and rights to development. This is because we have had the taste of an era without sovereignty and dignity. That was a century of colonial oppression, and lack of means to survive.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the world Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations. Based on historical experiences and lessons, the world has achieved the longest period of stability and prosperity in modern times. In the past years, China and the international community have worked together to promote economic growth and deal with the common challenges of the international financial crisis, terrorism, and epidemics like AIDS, Ebola, SARS, and H1N1. Today, we stand at another crossroad of history once again. Global challenges such as COVID-19, economic recovery, and climate change etc., all call for strong global responses.

In the series of high level meetings to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, China together with other member states reaffirmed our commitment to the UN Charter, promised to safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law, to reform and improve the global governance system, to revive multilateralism, and fully implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This demonstrates the determination of the international community to face difficulties hand in hand.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed in the meetings that the pandemic has triggered many issues, yet peace and development remain the theme of the times. In the face of common challenges, countries should go beyond ideological biases and seek mutually beneficial cooperation. China will continue to be actively involved in international cooperation against COVID-19, ensure the stability of the global supply chain of anti-pandemic supplies, and actively participate in global scientific research on tracing the source and transmission routes of the virus. China will give priority to developing countries when our vaccines are ready for use,  and honor our commitment of providing 2 billion US dollars of international assistance in two years to facilitate global economic and social development. China will also strive to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. This demonstrates China's determination to pursue a green and low-carbon development path, an important contribution to multilateralism.

I noted that President Meta, who was also present at the meetings for the 75th anniversary of the UN, praised global cooperation in the framework of the UN, and stressed that multilateralism is key in tackling global challenges. A few days ago, in the China-EU Leaders’ Meeting via Video Conference, both sides also confirmed to jointly uphold multilateralism, speed up China-EU Investment Agreement negotiation and establish China-EU High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue as well as China-EU High Level Digital Dialogue, so as to jointly foster green and digital partnership. China has always supported Albania’s EU accession efforts, and looks forward to Albania's early accession to the EU family. China is ready to work with Albania and other European countries to continue our efforts in fighting COVID-19 and promoting a green post-pandemic economic recovery. 

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I am pleased to have donated multiple batches of medical supplies to Albania, on behalf of my government and relevant enterprises, to facilitate Albania’s battle against COVID-19. The embassy has also helped to arrange health officials, experts and medical personnel of the two countries to exchange experiences in prevention, control and diagnosis and treatment of the disease via video link. At present, the Albanian government is adjusting its prevention and control strategies in line with the evolution of the pandemic, trying to strike a balance between pandemic control and economic recovery. Doctors and medical workers have been fighting on the front line tirelessly. I pay my tribute to our Albanian friends.

China and Albania enjoy long-standing friendship. Since taking office as Chinese Ambassador to Albania, I have often heard touching stories between our two countries and peoples, which give me boundless strength and confidence to fulfill my duty. No matter how the international situation may change, the friendship between our two peoples remain sincere. Based on mutual friendship and the win-win principle, China has actively participated in Albania's development. Up till now, China has invested more than 930 million US dollars in Albania and remains one of its top trading partners. As Ambassador to Albania I have encouraged our companies to turn their eyes to Albania. We’ve seen progress in fields of infrastructure, energy, agriculture and tourism, and there is still huge potential for our future cooperation. People-to-people exchanges between us have also been dynamic. Despite the impact of the earthquake, the number of Chinese tourists in Albania increased by 20% last year, vice versa, the number of Albanians going to China to work, study and travel has also increased. Over the past year, we’ve also had the honor of sponsoring Albanian art troupes, cultural heritage conservation and environmental projects.

Albania, with its long history, rich culture, picturesque scenery, and most of all its industrious and resilient people, deserves a prosperous future. China stands firmly with the Albanian people on the road to prosperity. I was very pleased to attend a ceremony last October, when Mr. Zheng Enbo, a Chinese translator, and Mr. Wang Hongqi, a journalist, were awarded the " Naim Frasheri " Medal by President Meta. For decades, they have presented “the country of eagles” to China through their literary translations and news reports, making outstanding contributions to our friendship. I am also glad to see that our younger generations are continuing the friendship. After last year's devastating earthquake, two Chinese students in Albania volunteered to join the earthquake relief efforts in a social service center in Tirana; while the COVID-19 pandemic raged in China early this year, some Albanian students in China also voluntarily participated in their local community’s work in fighting COVID-19. Their actions are beautiful sights in both countries, representing the future of our great relations.

Wishing all the best to Albania, and hoping that we will proceed along the path of sustainable development in solidarity and friendship.

TTimes
By TTimes October 16, 2020 11:01