Working Together for Maintaining Peace and Promoting Common Development
Yue Xiaoyong, Ambassador of PRC
March 7, 2010, Qatar University
Assalam Alaikom. It is my pleasure and honor to speak here about China, its relations with Qatar, Arab countries and the world at large. I would thank the most prestigious QU to give me this opportunity to meet all of you and share my views.
China is a country with an uninterrupted history of over 5000 years and population of 1.3bn in a land of 9.6 million square kms. It has been through many things, and yet its culture and civilization stand very well there, enriched and evolving constantly as years and centuries passing on. As you may well see from our annual session of the National People Congress taking place at the moment in Beijing and from our Premier Wen Jiabao's report, China, after having marched onto a reform and opening up drive in a time of globalization more than thirty year ago, has witnessed huge new changes and advancement with deeper international cooperation and integration. All along, we have kept on as a peace loving country. Our people cherish unity while highly valuing hard-working, forward-looking and social harmonious. We are ready to join hands with peoples in the rest of the world, Qatar and Arab world included, for maintaining peace and promoting common prosperity.
New China, the People's Republic of China, was founded in 1949. We celebrated the 60th anniversary of new China a few months ago. In these 60 years, we have found a new development path through long and hard exploration. The past 30 years, in particular, has witnessed tremendous achievements in China, thanks to continuous comprehensive reform and opening up. China's GDP has been growing at an average annual rate of nearly 10% and 235 million people have been lifted out of poverty. Three historic transitions has been achieved: from a highly centralized planned economy to a dynamic socialist market economy, from a closed or semi-closed society to an open one, and from a state of mutual estrangement with the rest of the world to one of closer than ever interactions.
An important footnote should be given here that in spite of all those achievements, China still faces daunting challenges. Our per capita GDP has just exceeded 3,000 US dollars, ranking the 104th in the world. Uneven development remains prominent. Some better developed urban or coastal areas can in no way represent the whole of China, and many rural or remote inland areas are still very poor. 135 million people are living on less than one dollar a day. By both economic development level and systems transformation tasks faced, China is still a developing country and efforts of generations are called for to truly achieve modernization. That is why maintaining a long term peaceful and stable international environment is so important to us strategically.
It is clear both for domestic needs and international responsibility, China will always stand for peace, development and cooperation, pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, and stick to its diplomatic vision of upholding world peace and promoting common development.
-- We are committed to the path of peaceful development. Our endeavor to rejuvenate the Chinese nation represents an opportunity and our contribution to the world. We maintain that countries, big and small, strong and weak, rich and poor, are all equal, and we respect the right of people of all countries to independently choose their own development path. We seek peaceful settlement of international disputes and hotspot issues and greater international and regional security cooperation. China does not seek hegemony now, nor will it do so in the future.
-- We are pursuing a win-win strategy of opening-up. China will continue to push forward regional and global development through its own development. We will work to broaden common grounds and accommodate the legitimate concerns of others, especially those of developing countries. We will continue to engage in international economic cooperation and trade with our partners. We support the international community in channeling more assistance to developing countries in improving people's well-being and enhancing capacity for self-development. We support efforts to improve the international trade and financial systems and resolve differences through consultation and collaboration. China will never seek to advance its interests at the expense of others.
-- We are ready to join our efforts with the rest of the world in building a harmonious world community. Enduring peace and common prosperity are the defining features of that community in which all countries truly uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, abide by international law and universally recognized norms governing international relations, and embrace a spirit of democracy, collaboration and win-win progress in international relations. Mutual respect, equality, dialogue and cooperation with trust are what we advocate in dealing with common challenges facing the mankind.
-- We have been keeping on strengthening friendship and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and taking an active part in the international efforts to address global issues. China has been actively involved in the international cooperation on tackling the financial crisis. We also attach great importance to and have actively participated in the international cooperation on addressing climate change. China actively supports international arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. We stand for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and firmly opposed the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery. We are ready to work with other countries for the early realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
-- We have been working vigorously for the proper settlement of hotspot issues. We maintain, for instance, that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations and that efforts should be made to pursue a long-term solution to the issue. We highly appreciate Qatar and other relevant parties' most valuable efforts in bringing it possible the signing of the framework ceasefire MOU for the Dafur issue in February this year in Doha and will continue to do our part for peace in the country. We strongly support and actively participate in all international efforts that are conducive to peace in the Middle East. We hope that the parties concerned will seize the opportunity and take concrete steps to move the situation in that part of the world toward relaxation and stability.
China-Arab relationship is very strong. Last year our Premier Wen Jiabao in his visit to Egypt made a most significant speech on this subject. Our relationship with Arab world goes far back in history. It has a solid and sound foundation with a proud tradition in friendly exchanges, mutual learning, mutual supporting and mutual caring. The Chinese people see the Arab people as good friends, good partners and good brothers. We rejoice at every success you have achieved on the path of development, and we warmly congratulate you on all your accomplishments.
In China, more than 20 million people from 10 ethnic groups believe in Islam. They are all important members of the big family of the Chinese nation, and their religious belief, cultural tradition and way of life are fully respected. There are over 35,000 mosques in cities and the countryside across China. The Chinese government has adopted a range of policies to support economic, cultural and social development of minority ethnic groups and areas. Ethnic groups who believe in Islam have lived in amity with other ethnic groups and jointly promoted national development and social progress.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, China and Arab countries have always sympathized with and supported each other. In the 1950s, a number of Arab countries overcame various interferences and made the courageous decision to establish diplomatic relations with China. In the 1970s, Arab countries and other friendly developing countries gave strong support and made persistent effort in helping restore New China's lawful seat in the United Nations. On our part, the Chinese government and people have shown full understanding for the just cause of Arab countries to seek lawful national rights and your aspirations for development. We have given you strong political and moral support and provided assistance within the realm of our capabilities. Many Chinese engineers and construction workers gave their precious lives for the development of Arab countries and were laid to rest in the Arab land.
The 21st century is marked by great progress of diverse civilizations. China and the Arab world with its several hundred million people, both shoulder the sacred mission of renewing our centuries-old civilizations. Looking back at the last 200 years, we have missed far too many opportunities. It is high time for us now to enhance our cooperation, deepen our exchanges and make common development through greater efforts.
China is committed to deepening political trust and strengthening strategic cooperation with Arab countries. The establishment and development of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum have opened broad prospects for strengthened collective dialogue and coordination between the two sides. We should work together to promote peace and stability, seek settlement of international disputes and regional conflicts through dialogue and consultation, oppose all forms of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and reject linking terrorism to any specific ethnic group or religion. And we should jointly foster a safe and peaceful international environment. China is ready to step up cooperation with Arab countries to address global challenges, including climate change, energy and non-traditional security threats and promote the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals. We should continue to support and cooperate with each other in major international and regional affairs, work together to safeguard the interests of developing countries and endeavor to build a just and reasonable new international order.
China will continue to promote the Middle East peace process. The Middle East deserves a peaceful and prosperous future. We highly appreciate the Arab Peace Initiative, which demonstrates to the whole world the sincere wish and strategic decision of Arab countries to peacefully resolve the Middle East issue. The fundamental way to resolve the Middle East issue is to replace confrontation with dialogue, promote reconciliation by increasing understanding, and stop the bloodshed and conflicts. We hope that disputes and conflicts will soon come to an end and peace and tranquility will return to the Middle East. China is ready to step up consultation with Arab countries and other parties concerned and play a constructive role in promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East issue in order to achieve peace, security and stability in this part of the world.
Our economic cooperation and trade with Arab countries are seeing big growth. Trade volume between China and Arab countries jumped from US$36.7 billion in 2004 to US$132.8 billion in 2008, a 2.6-fold increase in a short span of five years. By the end of 2008, the total value of contracted projects between the two sides had approached US$100 billion. There is great potential for business cooperation between China and Arab countries. The Chinese government encourages and promotes Chinese firms, both public and private sectors, to participate in the development in Arab countries. China will, as always, provide assistance to underdeveloped countries and help them improve people's livelihood, eradicate poverty and expand capacity for self-development.
The Arab people are great people. The splendid literature and art, beautiful music and dance, unique food and dress and exquisite craftsmanship epitomize your colorful culture. The Chinese government will continue to encourage educational, cultural, tourism and other exchanges with Arab countries. We will encourage more young people to study in Arab countries and welcome young Arab students to come to China for study or visits.
Sino-Qatari relationship is on very constructive and friendly track with cooperation deepening and expanding every year. We set up our diplomatic ties in 1988, the bilateral relations started growing ever since under the wise leadership and guidance of top leaders of both sides. This friendship not only reflects itself wonderfully in political, economic and energy fields, but also in educational, cultural and people to people exchanges. Our trade has reached about 2bn a year, with services of construction projects as well as others over 3bn USD in total. Many companies of both sides come to each other for new opportunities. We have also sign agreement to strengthen our exchanges in cultural fields and we actively participate in events here in Doha for your festival every year and Capital of Arab Culture this year. We have more students and delegation exchanges. I visited your QSTP last week and have a very good conversation with Qatari side for the future cooperation.
We have supported and helped each other in international and regional issues based on ever growing common grounds and common interests. We work together in UN and many other international organizations. We very much appreciate what Qatar has been doing in understanding and supporting our concerns in our core interest fields such as Taiwan and others. We also support each other in human rights dialogues in international multi- or regional forums.
Looking into the future, we are confident for an ever growing and expanding relationship and mutual beneficial cooperation. We are ready to make our friendly ties even better and stronger.