Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at the Online Reception Celebrating the 73rd Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China: Charge Ahead to Open a New Chapter
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Gillian Keegan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to meet you online to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all the guests present, and express my heartfelt thanks to friends from all walks of life who have long cared for and supported the development of China-UK relations!
Since the founding of the People’s Republic 73 years ago, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people, through their strenuous efforts, have completely changed the poverty and backwardness of old China which was also subjected to foreign aggression. Our country has achieved two miracles rarely seen in world history, namely, rapid economic development and long-term social stability. It is making a historic leap from standing up and growing rich to becoming strong.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. In the past 10 years, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to overcome difficulties and forge ahead. Historic achievements and transformation have been made in the cause of the Party and the country. We have attained the first Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all dimensions, and we are striving towards the second Centenary Goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects.
China follows a people-centered development philosophy. We have eradicated absolute poverty, achieved a comprehensive victory in poverty alleviation and realized a comprehensive improvement in people’s lives. Today, China has a middle-income group of more than 400 million people.
China is fully committed to innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. We have achieved remarkable results in promoting high-quality growth and building a new development paradigm.
China has witnessed rapidly growing composite strength in scientific and technological innovation, with over 12% average annual growth rate in R&D funding, the highest number of international patent applications in the world, and breakthroughs in a large number of core technologies.
China has taken solid steps towards carbon peaking before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, making earnest efforts to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity. It has become the world’s largest renewable energy market and relevant equipment manufacturer, and accounts for a quarter of the world’s afforestation.
China is committed to expanding its opening to the outside world. We have become a major trading partner of more than 130 countries and regions. Our contribution to world economic growth has remained at around 30% for many years. We will open even wider to the outside world.
Since the beginning of this year, China has made parallel progress in COVID-19 prevention & control, and economic & social development. We have so far maintained the world’s lowest infection rate and fatality rate, effectively safeguarding the health and safety of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people.
Facing the increasing risk of stagflation and volatilities in several major economies, China’s economy grew in the first half of this year by 2.5% year-on-year, with the consumer price index at only 1.7% and the actual use of foreign capital up by 17.4%. The long-term positive growth trend of China’s economy remains unchanged.
Internationally, China is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. We have all along upheld peace, development, openness, cooperation, solidarity and equity, and opposed war, poverty, exclusion, confrontation, division, and bullying.
China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order, a provider of public goods, and a mediator on hot-spot issues. China’s Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping have been widely welcomed and supported by the international community.
China has sent more peacekeepers to UN missions than any other permanent members of the Security Council, and is the second largest funding contributor to both the UN and its peacekeeping operations.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has been an active participant in global response, providing supplies and sharing best practice on combating the virus. We have sent over 2.2 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. Since the beginning of this year, we have provided more than 15,000 tons of emergency humanitarian food aid to developing countries in need.
China has always championed that state-to-state relations must be based on the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, equality and mutual benefit, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The one-China principle is the political foundation and important prerequisite for any country in establishing and developing diplomatic relations with China. This principle must be earnestly followed.
The biggest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is the “Taiwan Independence” separatist activities and the interference from outside forces. China will continue to endeavor to achieve peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and efforts. But we will combat “Taiwan independence” separatist activities with resolve and do whatever it takes to repulse any external interference.
Issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are, in essence, nothing about democracy or freedom, but everything about China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. While respecting the internal affairs of other countries, we will never accept any meddling in China’s internal affairs from outside forces.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level between China and the UK. We have held a series of commemorative events together with people from various sectors of both countries.
It is the shared understanding of everyone attending these events that the China-UK cooperation serves the fundamental interests of both peoples and is conducive to world peace, stability and development; at the same time, only by adhering to the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, can China-UK relations continue to make healthy and steady progress.
The leaders of our two countries have maintained communication and exchanges. Not long ago, His Excellency President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to His Majesty King Charles III on the passing of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and another message of congratulations to His Majesty on his accession.
At the invitation of the British government and as the Special Representative of President Xi Jinping, Vice President Wang Qishan attended the state funeral of Her Late Majesty. This fully shows the friendly feelings of President Xi, and the Chinese government and people to the Royal Family, the UK government and people as well as the great importance the Chinese side attaches to China-UK relations.
A great leader of a huge country, President Xi Jinping values the bond with people and the friendship between the Chinese and British people. He sent a congratulatory message to the “Icebreaker” 2022 Chinese New Year Celebration, and replied to the letters from pupils of the Francis Holland School in London on the question of climate change, and the daughter of a “Lisbon Maru” survivor.
In his message and letters, President Xi encouraged people from all sectors and the younger generation from the two countries to remember the past, cherish the friendship and strive to promote China-UK cooperation in the new era.
Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to Liz Truss on her assuming the office of Prime Minister and, after the passing of the Late Queen, he sent a message to the Prime Minister expressing his condolences.
A few days ago, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverley on the sidelines of UNGA, during which they exchanged in-depth views on China-UK relations.
On Economic and Trade Cooperation
In the first half of this year, trade in goods between China and the UK exceeded 50 billion US dollars, and China has become the UK’s fourth largest trading partner and second largest source of imported goods. The stock of two-way direct investment rose to about 50 billion US dollars. Direct flights between China and the UK have resumed, and direct maritime freight express routes have been launched.
China and the UK held ministerial-level energy dialogue and health dialogue, and delegations from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the Chinese Academy of Sciences paid productive visits to the UK. The two sides have continued to cooperate in areas such as new energy, combating climate change, environmental protection and public health.
On People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges
There are currently more than 200,000 Chinese students studying in the UK. I have visited many universities here and the presidents and vice chancellors I met all hope that Chinese students will continue to come to the UK.
Chinese athletes took part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and the boat representing the city of Qingdao won the championship. The Chinese men’s rugby team trained in the UK. The Chinese women’s hockey team came to London for the FIH Pro League. I watched their game with England’s women and was very happy to see that the Chinese girls won.
Since the beginning of this year, I have visited Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff, and have had friendly exchanges with people from different sectors.
I could feel their friendly sentiments towards China and the Chinese people, their hope to learn more about China, and their firm belief that China-UK cooperation serves the interests of both sides. The friendship between the two peoples is the source of strength and the biggest driving force for China-UK relations. We should take good care of it and build on it.
As China-UK relations stand at a critical juncture, we hope that the British side will work with the Chinese side in the same direction, stay committed to dialogue and cooperation, and remove disturbances and obstacles. This is the right choice for both sides.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Next month, the 20th National Congress of the CPC will be convened in Beijing. Fully embodying the aspirations of the Chinese people, this Congress will make plans and establish the goals for China’s development in the coming five years and beyond.
China will set out to realize the great rejuvenation of the nation through modernization with Chinese characteristics, and it will bring new opportunities for the world through its new development.
Standing at this new historic starting point, China in the new era is embracing a bright future. We are ready to work with people of vision in the UK to strengthen the bridge of bilateral exchanges and preserve the foundation of cooperation, so that we can create more benefits for the peoples of both countries.
Let us wish China in the new era greater prosperity!
And let us wish the Chinese and British people enduring friendship!