by Dr Zhao Yongchen,
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Grenada
1 October will mark the 71st anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have forged ahead and followed the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, achieving leapfrog development, increasing overall national strength and improving people’s living standards.
Over the past 71 years, more than 850 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, and the average life expectancy has increased from 35 to 77 years, and the historic leap of nearly 1.4 billion people from poverty to having sufficient food and clothing to well-off life has been achieved. This year, China will fulfil the aim of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and meet ten years ahead of schedule the poverty eradication target set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
China’s development not only benefits China, but also the world.
As a builder of global peace, China continues to inject positive energy into the evolution of the international landscape. For more than 70 years, China has unswervingly followed the path of peaceful development, has never provoked wars nor conflicts, nor ever occupied an inch of land from other countries.
As a defender of the international order, China has continuously added stabilising factors to the global governance system. China has always been a staunch supporter and practitioner of multilateralism, resolutely safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order based on international law, and the multilateral trading system anchored by the WTO.
As a contributor to global development, China continues to provide strong impetus to global economic growth. China has contributed more than 30% to world economic growth for more than 10 consecutive years, and China’s poverty alleviation has contributed more than 70% to global poverty reduction. China upholds the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to promote international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, which provides effective plans and channels for promoting world economic growth and achieving common development.
As President Xi Jinping announced at the General Debate of the 75th Session of The United Nations General Assembly, to support the UN in playing its central role in international affairs, China will add another US$50 million to the UN Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. China will provide US$50 million to the China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III).
2020 is an unusual year. Since the beginning of the year, the sudden Covid-19 pandemic has swept the world and brought an all-round impact on human society. In the struggle against the coronavirus, the Chinese people has honoured the spirit of patriotism, collectivism and internationalism, and forged the great anti-pandemic spirit which features putting people’s lives first, nationwide solidarity, respecting science, and a sense of mission for humanity. China has worked hand in hand with all countries in the world to fight the virus and earnestly adhering to the value of common destiny for human society.
Remarkable achievement has been made in the process of pandemic prevention and control. As the first country to face the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government upheld the people’s-lives-first belief, and adopted the most comprehensive, strict, and thorough prevention and control measures, and only took about three months to contain the development of the pandemic in Wuhan and other severely affected areas. China was among the first batch of countries in the world to successfully taken the pandemic under control.
Economic and social development has been resumed orderly. The Chinese government has coordinated pandemic prevention and control as well as economic and social development, which helped China achieve positive economic growth in the second quarter, becoming the first country in the world to resume growth, highlighting the strong resilience and vigour of the Chinese economy, and injecting strong impetus into the recovery of the world economy.
Humanitarianism has been honoured by anti-pandemic cooperation. Following the concept of “One World, One Family”, China has sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries, provided 283 batches of anti-pandemic assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organisations, held video conferences with health experts from over 180 countries, and provided and exported anti-pandemic materials to many countries and regions. China has facilitated global pandemic prevention and control with practical actions. We held two media conferences with Grenadian medical teams which contributed a lot to Grenada’s fight against Covid-19.
The banner of unity and consensus has been held high. The virus knows no borders or races. Only by championing the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind can we meet common challenges. During the pandemic, President Xi Jinping has engaged in extensive “telephone diplomacy”, calling on the international community to help each other, unite and cooperate to defeat the pandemic, and opposing pining labels to the virus, politicising the pandemic, and stigmatising specific countries has become a general consensus in the international community.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic ties between China and Grenada. In the past 15 years, under the guidance of the leaders of the two countries, we have always adhered to mutual respect, mutual support and common development. Our relationship can be regarded as a model of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation between large and small countries.
The two countries have always been good friends of sincere mutual trust. The leaders of the two countries have maintained close interactions and exchanged greetings on important festivals and major political agendas of both sides, which charted the course for the development of bilateral relations. China appreciates Grenada’s adherence to the one-China principle and applauds Grenada’s support to and cooperation with China in international and regional affairs to jointly safeguard multilateralism.
The two countries have always been good brothers helping each other. After China suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic, Hon. Right Prime Minister Dr Mitchell expressed sympathy and solidarity to the Chinese people. Grenada’s Embassy to China donated anti-pandemic materials, which significantly reinforced the Chinese people’s confidence in fighting the virus. After the outbreak of the pandemic in Grenada, China immediately offered help and organised two conferences between health experts from the two countries on pandemic prevention and control. On 10 April, the first batch of anti-pandemic medical supplies including N95 masks, protective clothing, forehead thermometers, and goggles donated by the Chinese government arrived in Grenada.
Later, the Chinese Embassy in Grenada, the Zhejiang Provincial Government, and Chinese private sectors also donated batches of medical supplies to Grenada to support Grenada’s fight against the pandemic. The Chinese government also donated tractors, greenhouses and other agricultural machinery to Grenada to support the development of Grenada’s agriculture and reactivate the economy after the pandemic. The Chinese Embassy also worked with local social groups to lend a helping hand to families in need. China and Grenada have created new opportunities for cooperation in the joint fight against the pandemic, and the fraternity of mutual help is fully manifested at this moment.
The two countries have always been good partners for practical cooperation. China and Grenada have always stuck to practical cooperation and achieved fruitful outcomes in the fields of agriculture, education, sports, culture, law enforcement, and anti-corruption. China assisted the construction and maintenance of the Grenada National Stadium and the Kirani James Athletic Stadium, which has effectively promoted the comprehensive development of Grenada’s sports and youth development; 7 successive phases of the agricultural cooperation demonstration project have proven to be successful, and agricultural experts have helped Grenada’s farmers improve their planting skills; the second phase of the low-income housing project will be completed by the end of this year. Together with the first phase, a total of 1,000 families have improved or will soon improve their living standard thanks to the project. The cooperation between China and Grenada has benefited our people to a large extent.
The global pandemic of Covid-19 has accelerated the evolution of changes unseen in a century that we are faced with, and the world has entered an era of turbulence. We should focus on the “post-pandemic era” and fathom what kind of future human society desires. China is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind and to peaceful development.
We must uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateralism. Unilateral acts such as wanton withdrawal from international treaties and organisations by certain country have severely impacted the international order and global governance system and harmed the common interests and development opportunities of all countries. We must insist on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, safeguard the multilateral trading mechanism, promote the construction of an open world economy, and jointly share the fruits of development.
We must push forward the democratisation of international relations and oppose hegemonism. Peddling “my country first” slogan and putting its own interests above the international community is doomed to failure. We must abandon unilateral enforcement actions such as economic blockade and financial sanctions against other countries, object to hegemonism and power politics, reject bullying, refuse gross intervention in other countries’ internal affairs, stay committed to resolving contradictions and differences through dialogue and consultation, and respect the development path chosen by each country and its people.
We must adhere to the international order based on international law and oppose double standards. The progress of human society cannot be achieved without the rule of law and order. Double standards should not be adopted to enforce the long-arm jurisdiction of domestic laws, infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of other countries, and undermine peace and stability, international justice and the principles of international law. China is willing to work with all countries, including Grenada, to firmly defend the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law, and promote democracy and rule of law in international relations.
We must highlight unity and cooperation and oppose self-conceit. Confronted with common challenges, unity and cooperation is the gateway to victory. Prioritising one’s own interests behind closed doors, willfully shifting blame or withdrawing from treaties and international organisations will not protect oneself, but harm the common interests of the international community. Facing the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic, we should consolidate international cooperation, step up support for WHO, and jointly build a community of health for mankind.
Envisioning the future, China stands ready to continuously increase mutual trust with Grenada, bolster the alignment of development strategies of both parties, advance cooperation under the BRI framework, and deepen practical cooperation in agriculture, tourism, education, health, etc. In the process of realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and Grenada’s National Sustainable Development Plan, we can together foster a better future for China-Grenada relations.
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