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Opinions & Interviews

1 Oct 2019

Ambassador: Belarus, China advancing to new level of cooperation

Ambassador: Belarus, China advancing to new level of cooperation

On 1 October China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over this period of time the country has experienced explosive economic growth and considerably improved the living standards of its people. In the face of mounting international challenges China is successfully promoting a peaceful development model. China has won many friends over this time, Belarus is one of them. At present the two countries are advancing to a new stage of cooperation, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Belarus Cui Qiming told BelTA.

Over a relatively short period of time China has managed to make a real breakthrough and to take the top spot in many areas.

Indeed, under the leadership of the Communist Party, China has managed to achieve outstanding results. The policy of reforms and openness allowed implementing the idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Over the past 70 years the Chinese economy has been steadily growing, while the state has been getting stronger. I would like to cite some figures to illustrate my point: China’s GDP skyrocketed from $174.9 billion in 1977 to $1.36 trillion in 2018. In 2010 China became the world’s second biggest economy and an emerging trade leader. In 2018 the aggregate amount of import and export of goods reached $4.6 trillion, up 223 times over 1978. The import and export of services reached $791.9 billion, up 168 times over 1982 (second in the world).

It is important to note that a surge in foreign investment over this period helped boost currency reserves and increase the sustainability of the domestic financial system.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that over the past 70 years, science education has experienced a dramatic evolution. In 2018 China ranked second in the world in terms of R&D spending. For the past years China claimed more patents than any other country. China achieved extraordinary results in many areas of research, including human spaceflight, exploration of the Moon, quantum science, deep water research, supercomputers and satellite navigation. When the People’s Republic of China was established, only 20% of children went to school; over 80% of people were illiterate. In 2018 the gross enrollment rate for higher education reached 48%, higher than in high-income and upper middle-income countries on average.

The year 2018 marked a new milestone in the country’s research and technology sector, as China launched the latest Beidou satellite for global navigation system and its first seismo-electromagnetic satellite. In early 2019 Chang'e-4 lunar probe was launched. China ranked 14th in 2019 Global Innovation Index strengthening its position as a leading innovative nation.
I would also like to mention China’s advances in the social security system. In 2018 there were 997,000 healthcare institutions in China, up 271 times over 1949. Over the past 70 years, China’s life expectancy has increased from 35 in 1949 to 77 in 2018.

The 19th CPC National Congress held in October 2017 declared a policy of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Xi Jinping put forward an important strategic goal - the Chinese dream of prosperity and rejuvenation for the country.

The international community is closely watching China’s foreign policy. What are China’s priorities in this field?

For the past 70 years China has been committed to an independent and peaceful foreign policy. China is actively building friendly contacts with various countries of the world. Cooperation with Belarus is of great importance for China.

In 1971 China recovered its legitimate seat in the United Nations. In 2001 China joined the World Trade Organization and signed 17 free trade agreements with 25 countries and regions of the world.

Since 2012 China has been promoting the Belt and Road initiative, which has been supported by more than 160 countries and regions. Belarus takes an active part in this initiative. China has put forward a concept of the community of shared future for mankind. China is actively involved in the reforms of the WTO and development of international economic and trade regulations.

Xi Jinping’s vision is based on peaceful development of the country in cooperation with all nations of the world.

The world is now facing dramatic transformations as well as formidable challenges and threats. How is China responding to them?

We are witnessing increasing multipolarity, economic globalization and social informatization. The reform of the international order is gaining pace. Emerging markets and developing countries are experiencing a rapid growth. The international balance of forces is shifting towards an equilibrium, and the destinies of various nations have never been so interconnected before.

At the same time the world is facing instability and uncertainty, the global economy is weak and the policy of protectionism and populism is gaining ground. China believes that in order to benefit from economic globalization it is necessary to pursue a policy of opennesses, resist protectionism, promote liberalization and facilitation of trade.

I would like to emphasize that amidst a challenging international situation, China’s economy maintained momentum in the first half of the year. For many years the country’s economic situation has been manageable and predictable. Jobs and prices are stable, while the structure of the economy is being constantly improved. Domestic consumption remains an important contributor to economic growth. Innovations are another driving force. China boasts stability, reserves and room for maneuver. It can stand up to all kinds of challenges and threats.

How would you describe the current stage of Belarus-China cooperation?

Belarus is a good friend and partner of China. China needs support and assistance of Belarus. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have been building political trust and scaling up economic cooperation. They also support each other on the international arena.

It is absolutely obvious that China-Belarus relations based on trust, partnership and common interests have benefited both nations. China consistently supports Belarus’ independence, sovereignty and integrity, respects its development path, domestic and foreign policy. The two countries have always upheld each other in important matters.

In recent years, under the leadership of Aleksandr Lukashenko and Xi Jinping, bilateral cooperation across many areas has been on the upward trend no matter what has happened. There is no doubt that our relations are experiencing their heyday now.

A testimony to that are regular talks at the highest level. Indeed, the two heads of state met in April and June and reached important arrangements to expand cooperation and promote the Belt and Road initiative.

The China-Belarus Industrial Park Great Stone is another important joint project. The interest in the project on the part of famous companies attests to great prospects of the park. In July it hosted the Belt and Road Forum for Regional Cooperation and Development.

Cooperation in other areas is also on the up. The Guard of Honor of the Chinese People's Liberation Army took part in the Belarus Independence Day military parade in Minsk in 2019. The events as part of the Year of Chinese Culture in Belarus were a success.

China remains committed to the agreements reached by the two heads of state.

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