Looking Ahead and Working Together
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the On-line Celebration of the 71st Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China
Chinese Embassy in the UK, 28 September 2020
Minister James Duddridge,
My Lords and MPs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to our special on-line reception to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China! This year’s National Day of China and Mid-Autumn festival fall on the same day. So today we gather together to mark the auspicious “double happiness” and share “double blessings”.
Since New China was born 71 years ago, tremendous changes have taken place in the country. Today, China has taken on a new look. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and thanks to the painstaking efforts of the Chinese people, China has made great leaps from gaining independence to becoming prosperous and growing strong, and created a miracle in the history of human development. China’s overall national strength continues to grow. As the second largest economy, the largest industrial country, the largest trader in goods, and the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves, today’s China is an important engine of world economic growth. In the field of science and technology, China has made rapid progress. Major scientific and technological achievements kept emerging, including the launching of Chang’e lunar probe, the completion and launch of the BeiDou-3 Navigation Satellite System, and the successful maiden flight of Kunlong AG600 large amphibious aircraft. These have created a powerful driving force for innovation and development in China. The Chinese people enjoy a stronger sense of achievement and happiness, with per capita gross national income exceeding $10,000, and 850 million people lifted out of poverty. China adheres to the basic national policy of opening up and actively expands global partnerships. It pursues peaceful development and continues to be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order. It is committed to working with people of all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Twenty-twenty is an extraordinary year. The COVID-19 pandemic added complication on top of the world’s ongoing profound changes unseen in a century. China has met the difficulties head on, forged ahead in solidarity and cooperation with other countries, and made new contribution to the peace and development of mankind.
First, China has lived up to its responsibility as a big country and contributed to global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. In face of the unexpected outbreak of the disease, China has put people’s lives and interests first, tackled the extraordinary challenge with extraordinary measures, won the decisive battle against the virus, and protected people’s lives and health to the greatest extent possible. In an open, transparent and responsible spirit, China has joined hands with the rest of the world to tide over the tough times. In record time, China informed all parties of the outbreak, published the genetic sequence of the virus, and shared its experience of prevention, control and treatment with the whole world. When called to assist, China dispatched 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries, sent 283 shipments of assistance to more than 150 countries and international organizations, and provided and exported protective materials to more than 200 countries and regions. On global response to COVID-19, China supported the World Health Organization in playing a leading role and called on countries around the world to build a global community of health for all. China also pledged $2 billion over two years to help with COVID-19 response, and vowed to share its COVID-19 vaccine with the world as a global public good to ensure vaccine accessibility and affordability. At the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly not long ago, President Xi Jinping said: “China will provide another $50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.” Talking about the vaccines that China is developing, President Xi said: “When their development is completed and they are available for use, these vaccines will be made a global public good, and they will be provided to other developing countries on a priority basis.” All these are China’s concrete actions to provide strong support for the global fight against COVID-19.
Second, China has played its due role and injected confidence in world economic recovery. In face of the devastating impact of the pandemic and the severe challenge of the global economic downturn, the Chinese economy has shown remarkable resilience and enormous potential: China has made good progress in getting the economy running again and worked vigorously to maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains. The Chinese economy has stayed strong and demonstrated a robust momentum of recovery. GDP increased by 3.2 percent in the second quarter, back into positive territory, making China the first economy to register growth. China has been deepening reform and opening up, and introducing the “dual circulation” growth pattern whereby the domestic economic cycle will play a leading role while international economic cycle remains its extension and supplement. This will enable China to share with the world the dividends of development. China has taken the initiative to promote international economic cooperation by pursuing greater open-up and offering three major exhibition platforms, namely, China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) and China International Import Expo (CIIE). In the post-pandemic era, China will remain an engine and an opportunity for the world economy. With its domestic economic recovery, China will drive global recovery and help restore world economic prosperity at an early date.
Third, China has been fulfilling its global responsibility and providing solutions to world peace and development. Against the surging tide of unilateralism and protectionism, China holds high the banner of multilateralism and openness and cooperation. Against the dangerous trend of “new cold war” and “decoupling”, China works vigorously to promote a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. Against global challenges such as climate change, cyber security and terrorism, China actively participates in global governance and international cooperation. This year, China has set out to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects on schedule and to achieve the poverty reduction goal set in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. China is confident in hitting these targets and make new contribution to global sustainable development. Recently, at the high-level meeting to commemorate 75th UN anniversary, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s solemn commitment. He said: “We will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence. We have no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot war with any country. We will continue to narrow differences and resolve disputes with others through dialogue and negotiation.” China will continue to be a true follower of multilateralism. It will stay actively engaged in reforming and developing the global governance system. It will firmly uphold the UN-centered international system, firmly uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and firmly defend the UN’s central role in international affairs. China is committed to peaceful, open, cooperative and common development. It stands ready to work with other countries to uphold peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are values shared by all, and to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
“Time and tide wait for no man.” The past 71 years after the founding of New China have seen both China and the UK undergoing tremendous changes. The 71 years have also witnessed remarkable progress in China-UK relations despite ups and downs. If China-UK relationship is a world of difference from what it was 71 years ago, then the past decade has seen China-UK cooperation scaling new heights. Especially in the past decade or more, trade between our two countries doubled. Chinese investment in the UK increased 20 times. Annual mutual visits doubled, reaching two million. The number of Chinese students studying in the UK nearly doubled, increasing from 120,000 to 220,000. At present, the UK is China’s third largest trading partner in Europe. China is the UK’s third largest export market for goods. And the UK is China’s second largest investment destination in Europe. All these facts fully demonstrate that China and the UK are mutually beneficial partners and the development of China-UK relations serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples.
Both China and the UK are permanent members of the UN Security Council and countries with global influence. A stable and sound China-UK relationship not only serves the common interests of China and the UK, but also contributes to world peace and prosperity. We have a thousand reasons to make this relationship successful, and not one to let it fail. To this end, it is of great importance that both China and the UK abide by the following three principles:
First, we should respect each other and maintain the political foundation of China-UK relations. As an old Chinese idiom goes, when a root is firm, the branches flourish. Our experience tells us that as long as our two countries observe the basic principles governing international relations, especially the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, China-UK relations would move forward. Otherwise, the relation would suffer setbacks or even retrogression. Therefore, we should adhere to a historical and strategic perspective, keep in mind the fundamental interests of each other, respect each other, treat each other as equals, regard each other as opportunities rather than threats and rivals, and strengthen strategic dialogue to deepen political mutual trust.
Second, we should pursue mutually beneficial outcomes and expand our common interests. China and the UK have highly complementary economies, deeply integrated interests and extensive cooperation. In the “post-pandemic” and “post-Brexit” era, China and the UK have huge potential for cooperation in trade, investment, finance, science and technology, education, public health and other fields. Our two countries also enjoy broad prospects for cooperation in addressing global challenges such as safeguarding multilateralism, promoting free trade and tackling climate change. China and the UK should seize the opportunity and continue to dovetail our respective development strategies, leverage our respective strengths, promote better connectivity of our markets and resources, and make the pie of common interests bigger, so as to deliver concrete benefits to our two peoples.
Third, we should properly manage differences and keep China-UK relations moving in the right direction. China and the UK differ in social system, history, culture and national conditions. However, we have more consensus than differences and we need cooperation more than competition. The big picture of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between the two countries should not be disrupted or undermined. The two sides should always remain rational and mature, stand on the right side of history, oppose the so-called “new cold war” and “decoupling” rhetoric, engage in communication and dialogues, reduce and eliminate the “understanding deficit” and the “trust deficit” and continue accumulating and expanding consensus. We should overcome the current difficulties, bring the relationship back on the right track at an early date, and deliver more benefits to our two countries and beyond.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A Chinese poem from the 17th century wrote these lines praising the steadfastness of bamboo: “Battered by winds from all directions, it remains strong taking many a blow. The changing international situation and the raging of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot stop China and the UK from working together for win-win cooperation. Nor will they shake the confidence of people from all walks of life in both countries to seek common development and promote friendship. I am confident that China and the UK will emerge from the pandemic with stronger relationship, broader cooperation and deeper friendship between our peoples. Let us work together to overcome the difficulties and build a brighter future for our two countries and for the world!
Today, although we do not have a glass in hand, may I offer my best wishes
To the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China,
To the steady and sound development of China-UK relations,
To world peace and prosperity,
To the happiness and well-being of all of you and your families!