Ambassador Cong Peiwu Delivers Remarks at the Webniar Held by the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy
7 May 2021
Good evening everyone. I am very glad to attend the webinar organized by the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy (IPD).
In recent years, with the growing of its overall strength, China is playing an increasingly important role in the international stage. The international community is paying more attention to China. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about China’s development and its implication for the world and the China-Canada relations.
The year 2021 marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China. 100 years ago, China was a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, threatened by domestic strife and foreign aggression, and its people lived in poverty and despair. Since its birth in 1921, the CPC has led the Chinese people through painstaking exploration, struggle and efforts to achieve a great transformation of the Chinese nation from standing up to growing rich, and to becoming stronger. China has created the “two miracles” of rapid economic development and long-term social stability, which are rare in the world. Now China has become the second largest economy and the largest industrial country in the world. 2021 is the opening year of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan. China has embarked on a journey toward fully building a modern socialist country, entered a new stage of development.
China’s great achievements are mainly due to the following reasons:
Adhering to the leadership of the CPC. All that the CPC does is to pursue happiness for the Chinese people, rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and the common good for the world. The development of China cannot be achieved without the leadership of the CPC, which is the right choice made by history and the Chinese people. The leadership of the CPC has the heartfelt support of 1.4 billion Chinese people. Polls conducted by international authoritative institutions show that the Chinese people’s satisfaction with the Chinese government has exceeded 90% for many years.
Adhering to socialism with Chinese characteristics. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China upholds comprehensively deepening reforms, advancing the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, adhering to the new development concept, building a new development pattern, promoting overall law-based governance, safeguarding and improving people’s livelihood, and the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.
Adhering to the people-centered philosophy. China has succeeded in eliminating absolute poverty, and the people’s livelihood and well-being are being continuously improved. China has built the world’s largest social security system, with basic medical insurance covering more than 1.3 billion people. During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, the basic pension insurance participation rate will increase to 95%. The average life expectancy will increase by 1 year to 78.3 years. We will make further efforts to achieve common prosperity for all.
China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a guardian of global order. While achieving its own development, China strives to inject positive energy into world’s peace and development.
China is a pillar of world peace. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese government has been pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. In recent years, in view of the changes of the international situation, China has put forward important ideas such as building a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for mankind. Over the past 70 years, China has never started a war nor occupied an inch of land of others. China is committed to dealing with territorial issues and maritime delimitation disputes through negotiations and consultations. China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence. Nor will China ever engage in an arms race. China is the second largest contributor to UN regular budget, the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations fund and the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the P5 of UN Security Council.
China is the engine for global development. China has signed more than 200 Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) cooperation documents with over 170 countries and international organizations, and has invested more than 110 billion US dollars in partnership countries. According to a World Bank report, the BRI will lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty in the countries concerned. At present, China is building a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Although domestic circulation plays a leading role, it is by no means a closed-door operation. Instead, it’s an active cooperation with other countries, regions and enterprises, forming an all-round, multi-leveled and diversified pattern of opening up and cooperation.
China is a steadfast defender of international fairness and justice. We adhere to the five principles of peaceful coexistence and never interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, nor allow other countries to interfere in our internal affairs. China adheres to multilateralism and remain firm in upholding the international system with the UN as its core, the international order based on international law and the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as its core. China adheres to the rule of law and has acceded to almost all inter-governmental organizations and more than 500 international conventions. We stand against bullying practices and uphold that dialogue, consultation and win-win cooperation should prevail over confrontation, coercion and zero-sum game. As President Xi Jinping recently said at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, world affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, and the future of the world should be decided by all countries working together. What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony. We must advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are common values of humanity.
China is at the forefront in coping with global challenges. China has actively cooperated with WHO and other countries in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. China has provided emergency medical supplies to over 160 countries and international organizations. Despite of its own fast-growing demand, China is working on providing vaccines to over 80 countries and three international organizations with urgent needs. China is committed to building a global ecological civilization. China will strive to implement its commitment to nationally determined contributions on climate change, and will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
What does China’s development mean for Canada? Where will China-Canada relations go from here? I would like to share some of my thoughts.
China and Canada are not entangled in historical issues nor do they have major conflicts of interest. The economies of our two countries are highly complementary, and both of us are committed to promoting free trade, which means we are natural cooperation partners. China has been Canada’s second largest trading partner for many years. Against the backdrop of COVID-19 ravaging the world and the difficulties in China-Canada relations, Canada’s exports to China increased by about 8% in 2020 while Canada’s overall exports fell by about 12%. This reflects the resilience of China-Canada economic and trade relations.
With 1.4 billion people and a 400 million middle-income group, China enjoys a huge market. The Chinese people have great demands for higher-quality products and services. China will comprehensively improve the level of openness to the outside world and continue to work to foster a business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law and up to international standards. This will provide more market and investment opportunities for Canada. The two countries have great potential for cooperating in energy, resources, clean technology, modern agriculture, financial services, healthcare, higher education, cultural industries and other areas. China is currently stepping up its preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will provide opportunities for the two countries to cooperate in winter sports and related industries. In addition, China and Canada have a common language in a wide range of areas such as strengthening global governance, addressing climate change and promoting environmental protection, where the two sides can further strengthen coordination and cooperation.
At present, China and Canada, together with the international community, are faced with challenges such as fighting pandemic and developing economy. Both sides should eliminate all kinds of interference, focused on strengthening cooperation in various fields. However, the Meng Wanzhou incident is still the crux of the China-Canada relations and the barrier that the two sides cannot neglect. We urge the Canadian side to face up to the political nature of the incident, proceed from the merits of the incident itself and fairness and justice, make correct decisions to release Ms. Meng as soon as possible, so as to create conditions for steering China-Canada relations back on track and further releasing the potential for cooperation between our two countries.