- By Jane Joshua, Daily Post Vanuatu
A long journey can be completed only by taking one step at a time.
Chinese Ambassador Zhou Haicheng made the remarks on the occasion of the 69th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which was celebrated on Friday 21 September, 2018 at the National Convention Center.
“Only by working hard can we realize our dream. What I know for sure is that with our joint efforts, China-Vanuatu friendship and cooperation have broad vistas.
“Our cooperation is booming with so much more to achieve. The Sino-Vanuatu’s tomorrow will be even brighter. Let us adhere firmly to win-win cooperation and work together to push our strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development to a new level.”
Ambassador Zhou reflected that over the last 69 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, Chinese people have overcome numerous difficulties and obstacles, added a glorious chapter to the epic of the history and explored a successful development path toward the modernization.
“China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace,” he said.
‘We respect the right of the people of all countries to choose their own development path.
“China continues its efforts to strengthen the friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
“It always upholds justice while pursuing shared interests, takes a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency and adheres to the principle of putting common interests of the people of all the countries as top priority.”
The year 2018 also marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up.
During the last 40 years, the determined efforts and tenacious work of Chinese people have brought enormous changes to the country – China’s GDP has averaged an annual growth rate of around 9.5%.
Today China has grown into the world’s second largest economy and the largest trader of goods.
The Chinese Ambassador said China lifted 740 million people out of poverty, accounting for more than 70% of the global total over the past four decades.
In recent years, China has contributed over 30% of global growth, injecting powerful impetus into global economy and also brings valuable opportunities to the world.
China has already established basic endowment insurance system and medical insurance system covering over 900 million and 1.3 billion people separately.
Through the reform and opening-up, Chinese people feel prouder and more confident for a greater country enjoying prosperity and a better society with harmony and tranquility.
“China and Vanuatu share a common future and we see each other as true friends and cooperative partners,” said Ambassador Zhou.
“China attaches great importance to its relationship with Vanuatu and stands ready to work with Vanuatu to take our bilateral relations to a new height.
“Since I take my office, I am deeply impressed by our close high-level exchanges, strong economic and trade cooperation and vibrant people-to-people exchanges.
“I also feel the keen expectation and genuine desire among people from all walks of life of Vanuatu for further development of our bilateral relationship. We are ready to work with the people of Vanuatu to seize opportunities to open a new era of our strategic partnership.”
In response, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said the Sino-Vanuatu relationship has fared well on the basis of the ‘One China Policy’ and remains robust.
Prime minister Salwai extended heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for a future of prosperity and success to the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping and the people of China, through Chinese Ambassador Zhou.
PM Salwai paid tribute to the Government and leaders of the PRC for what he described as excellent political and socio-economic relations, since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in March 1982.
He thanked Ambassador Zhou for the kind and promising words expressed to the effect that Sino-Vanuatu relations will continue to grow from strength to strength.
“We are also pleased to note that you are settling-in well here in Vanuatu (Port Vila) and in your new role,” PM Salwai told Ambassador Zhou.
“Vanuatu continues to value relations with China, and looks forward to continue learning from its experience, placing equal emphasis on being able to proactively respond to challenges that continue to plague its development path.”
He suggested that perhaps the occasion of the 69th anniversary celebrations should also provide an opportunity to reflect on how far the two relationship between the two countries has fared and how it is advancing into the future.
“Suffice it to say that the Sino-Vanuatu relationship has fared well on the basis of the ‘One China Policy’ and remains robust,” said PM Salwai.
“It is my trust that this will be further strengthened during your term as Ambassador.”
The PM said it is very encouraging to learn of the new development path and trail that is being blazed by China, as it takes bold steps to be a global leader in sustainable development and in tackling the existential threat of Climate Change.
“These are issues which, as you are well aware, remain core to Vanuatu’s developmental path and challenges,” he said.
“To that end, Vanuatu continues to value the goodwill and assistance of the Government and people of China, especially during times of natural disasters.
“The resilience, fortitude and the hardworking nature of the Chinese people and culture is also something which ni-Vanuatu continue to aspire to learn from and emulate.
“We also join the PRC in celebrating the 40th anniversary of China’s ‘reform and opening up’, a process which not only transformed China into what it is today, the second largest economy and largest trader of goods, but profoundly impacted the global economy and commerce patterns.
“By the same token, Vanuatu also looks forward to continued collaboration with China, and in benefitting from spillovers, through common priorities such as in education, skills and technology transfer, tourism, trade and investment and in agriculture.”