Speech of H.E Ambassador Xu Erwen at the Annual Meeting of Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society Rijeka
31 August 2021
Your Excellency, former Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, President of Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society Rijeka (HKDPR), Mr. Simoni?,
Dear Friends of Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society Rijeka (HKDPR),
It gives me great pleasure to attend the annual meeting of the Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society Rijeka via video. First of all, I would like to thank former Deputy Prime Minister Simoni? and friends of the Croatian-Chinese Friendship Society Rijeka for your long-time and strenuous efforts in promotion of the friendly cooperation and mutual understanding of our two countries and two peoples. I know you all care about the development of China, and China and Croatia cooperation. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to give a brief introduction on China’s development, its domestic and foreign policy as well as our bilateral relations. I also look forward to exchanging views with you and expecting your valuable opinions and suggestions to China’s development and further upgrading China-Croatia cooperation.
This year is a very special and significant year for China. It is the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), and the first year for China to start its 14th five year plan. This year is also the converging year for China to reach its first centenary goal by accomplishing the comprehensive better-off society and step into the second centenary goal which is to build a fully modernized socialist country by the middle of this century. We have a staunch task ahead of us and have to work hard to satisfy the people’s high expectation for better life and solve the problem of unbalanced and inadequate development.
Facing the severe challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and world economic recession, the Chinese people, under the strong leadership of the CPC, have gone all out and become a leading country to have strategically controlled the Pandemic. The latest data shows the Delta variant in China is basically under control. Chinese economy has realized positive growth from negative and become the only major economy in the world to enjoy positive growth last year. I am proud to say that China’s economy has maintained steady growth and it has achieved 12.7% increase by the first half of this year. Recently many world organizations such as the world Bank and UNDP etc. have adjusted their prediction of China’s economy and predict that China will enjoy 8.5% of growth this year. I believe the whole world can feel the great potential of Chinese market and benefit of China’s new round high level opening up and reform. Along with its fast growing China’s foreign policy also draws great attention of the whole world.
The combined forces of changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century have brought the world into a phase of fluidity and transformation. Change means challenges. It also means opportunities. China’s foreign policy has been clear and consistent. Not long ago, in his speech in celebration of the centenary of the CPC, President Xi Jinping declared that China will remain committed to promoting peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, to an independent foreign policy of peace, and to the path of peaceful development. We will work hard to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative through joint efforts, and use China’s new achievements in development to provide the world with new opportunities.
China has always been and will continue to be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order. At this new historical starting point, China will continue to firmly pursue peaceful development, expand opening-up, and deepen cooperation with all countries, including Croatia, towards shared development and prosperity. China’s destiny is closely linked to that of the world, and the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is closely related to the dream of community with a shared future for mankind.
China will continue to work with all peace-loving countries and peoples to promote the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom. We will continue to champion cooperation over confrontation, and to focus on mutual benefits instead of zero-sum games. We oppose hegemony and power politics. The Chinese People have never bullied, oppressed and enslaved the peoples of other countries, at same time we will never allow other forces to do the same to us. China’s determination to defend its sovereignty, national security and development is firm, steadfast and solid as rockets. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other country is both an important element of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence put forward by China and a basic norm of international relations. Interfering in the internal affairs of other countries or forcing one’s own development model and values upon other countries with very different histories, cultures and circumstances will end up in failure. A government cannot stand without the support of its people. Solving problems with power and military means can only lead to even more problems, lessons of the failure of Afghanistan war have proved that once again.
China always views its relations with Croatia from a strategic and long-term perspective and cherishes its traditional friendship with Croatia. Our two countries have established a comprehensive strategic partnership. Friendly exchanges and cooperation have always been the main theme of our bilateral relations. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Croatia have supported each other in times of difficulty. The traditional friendship between the two countries has stood the test and opened up new opportunities. The leaders of our two countries have kept close communication and contacts. and reached broad consensus on strengthening China-Croatia and China-EU relations and promoting cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries . China and Croatia’s cooperation is faced with great new opportunities. China’s new development concept featuring innovation, coordination, openness, greenness and shared development is very much in line with Croatia and EU’s development concept. China, with a population of 1.4 billion and 400 million middle-income people, has maintained to be the biggest contributor to the global economic growth at over 30% for many years. The high quality “the Belt and Road Initiative” has created the world’s largest open and cooperation platform and 140 countries, including Croatia, and 32 international organizations have signed the document on “the Belt and Road Initiative” cooperation. The construction of “six corridors, six connectivity routes and multiple countries and ports” has been steadily progressing. China is also the first country in the world to host an international import Expo to share development opportunities with other countries, including Croatia, with a shorter negative list, a better business environment and a higher level of openness.
Croatia is ideally located in the European precision manufacturing belt and directly in the Central European hinterland, with a high quality of personnel. As a European Union country, Croatia is backed by a large EU market of more than 400 million people, sound laws and regulations, excellent infrastructure and a stable social order. Our two countries have great potential and bright prospects for cooperation in infrastructure construction, scientific and technological innovation, green energy, medical and health care and other fields. Croatia’s high quality agricultural products such as diary, wine, olive oil and truffle etc. become well known to Chinese market. I am confident more and more Croatia food products will be served on the tables of the Chinese consumers. Croatia is also rich in tourism resources, Many Chinese tourists want to come to beautiful Croatia, the pearl of the Adriatic sea for travel. Recently, the Pelje?ac Bridge, flagship project of tripartite cooperation of China, Croatia and EU, just accomplished its smooth closure. It is not only the long-cherished wish of the Croatian people to connect the north and south of Croatia has finally come true, but also sets a new benchmark for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. The Pelje?ac Bridge, will be one of the magnificent tourist attractions as well, I believe.
Sports cooperation has always been one of the highlights of China-Croatia cooperation. At the recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games, Chinese and Croatian athletes fought hard and both delivered outstanding results. Croatia gained excellent results with 3 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze. “Together” was added to the Olympic motto in Tokyo, which reflects the common voice of the International Olympic family and the people of the world in the face of the pandemic. In less than six months, China will host the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are confident that, together with the IOC and the international community, we will carry forward the Olympic spirit, uphold the spirit of peace, unity and friendship, and deliver a simple, safe and wonderful Olympic Games. However, a “pan-political” trend is witnessed frequently in the international community recently as some even attempt to “politicize” sports and hype up “boycotting” the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which is a serious violation of the Olympic Charter and athletes’ rights. Sport is a common language that transcends national boundaries. China and Croatia should jointly resist “politicizing” sports. At the same time, both sides should also seize the opportunity to deepen cooperation in winter sports, create a new growth point for the “white economy” and promote practical cooperation between China and Croatia.
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Croatia. The Chinese side expects to move forward together with the Croatian side, to make top-level design for bilateral relations, continuously exploring and expanding converging interests between the two countries, to promoting the pragmatic cooperation in all areas to a new level, and let the people of both countries to live a better life.
The pandemic is still raging around the world, with the Delta variants on the rise and Europe is facing a fourth wave. Vaccine is the most powerful weapon in the fight against the pandemic. In international vaccine cooperation, China is the first to share the full-length genetic sequence of the novel corona-virus with the world, China is the first to conduct phase III clinical trials of the inactivated vaccine overseas, to provide vaccines to developing countries in need, and to cooperate with other developing countries in vaccine production. China has been and is donating vaccines to more than 100 countries, and has exported vaccines to more than 60 countries, with a total exceeding 770 million doses, ranking the world’s first. China has no political purpose in or does not seek any economic interests from its international cooperation in vaccines. And, there have never been any political conditions attached to such cooperation. Our only goal is to make vaccines a global public good and those for the people of the world in the real sense.
The origins tracing is a serious and scientific issue that requires international cooperation on a global scale, based on facts and respect for science. China also took the lead in carrying out origins tracing cooperation with the WHO, China has twice invited WHO experts to China for joint research on tracing the source of the outbreak and has published detailed report on the study. Regrettably, in the face of the authoritative WHO report, some people choose to turn a blind eye and see without believing it. The U.S. is trying to blame China in order to shift its responsibility for failure in fighting the pandemic at home. In particular, its intelligence community has recently compiled a so-called report on the origins of COVID-19 in a bid to pin the blame on China. It is a mendacious report made up for political purposes without scientific basis or credibility to which the Chinese side firmly opposed. Politicizing origins tracing is a political burden left by the former U.S. government. The sooner the U.S. side unloads this burden, the easier it will be to get out of the current predicament. China urges the United States to stop politicizing the COVID-19 origins tracing, stop putting pressure on the World Health Organization, and stop interfering with and undermining the international community’s solidarity against the pandemic and the global scientific cooperation on origins tracing. We believe that the international community, will see through the nature of this move, continue to take an objective and just position, clearly oppose the malicious attempt to politicize COVID-19 origins tracing, and jointly maintain the sound momentum of international solidarity against the pandemic.
I have been working in Croatia for over 2 years. During this period of time, I am so blessed to have friends like you. I am always overwhelmed by the friendship of the Croatian people towards China and the Chinese people. I have full confidence in the future development of China-Croatia relations and the Chinese Embassy in Croatia is willing to continue to build the bridge for friendly cooperation between the two countries. Let us join hands and make persistent efforts to write an even more brilliant new chapter for China-Croatia relations. Finally, I wish your annual meeting a complete success!