Speech by H.E. Ambassador Li Chao at the On-line Celebration of the 71st Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

October 1st, 2020 marks the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to friends from all walks of life who have always cared for China's development and supported the friendship between China and Estonia.

The year 2020 is for China to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and win the decisive battle against poverty. As the world's largest developing country, China takes poverty eradication as a priority. From 2012 till 2019, impoverished population in China had reduced from 98.99 million to 5.51 million. For 7 years in a row, 10 million plus people were helped out of poverty annually. In total, China has successfully lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty during the 4-decade-and-more Reform and Opening Up, accounting for over 70 percent of poverty reduction worldwide. The devastating COVID-19 has a serious negative impact on China's economy and greatly challenges China's efforts of poverty reduction. Making people’s life and health its top priority, the Chinese government adopted extensive, stringent, and thorough containment measures, and has succeeded in cutting all channels for the transmission of the virus. 1.4 billion Chinese people have exhibited enormous tenacity and solidarity in erecting a defensive rampart that demonstrates their power facing such natural disasters.

Despite the negative impact of COVID-19, the Chinese economy has stayed strong and demonstrated a robust momentum of recovery, great resilience and enormous potential. China’s GDP increased 3.2% in the second quarter, making China the first economy to register positive growth. IMF forecasts put China as one of the few countries that will maintain positive growth in 2020. According to the World Bank's Doing Business report, China ranks 31st in 2020. The latest survey shows that 99.1% of foreign companies in China will continue to invest and operate in China, and 89% of the surveyed EU businesses expressed they were not considering moving their industrial chains out of China. China remains one of the top three investment destinations for most European companies.

This year, China is determined to overcome the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, win the battle against poverty, and achieve, 10 years ahead of schedule, the Sustainable Development Goal of ending extreme poverty, thus making historic contribution to the global fight against poverty and efforts for peace and development. Our dream is ambitious and simple--- to deliver a decent and happy life to all the 1.4 billion Chinese people.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). Seventy-five years ago, with the determination to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind", we the peoples founded the UN as the most universal, representative and authoritative international organization, thus beginning a new era in mankind's pursuit of peace and development. Over the past 75 years, under the efforts and promotion of UN, many regional conflicts have been mitigated, new world wars have been prevented and the overall peace and stability in the world has been maintained. Billions of people are marching toward life modernization. A large number of developing countries moved into the fast lane of development. The 193 Member States set international rules, run global affairs and share development fruits together.

At present, protectionism, unilateralism and bullying practices are on the rise and putting the world in serious jeopardy. On September 21, President Xi Jinping attended the High-level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN and put forward four proposals regarding to the UN’s role in the post-COVID-19 era, which are to stand firm for justice, uphold the rule of law, promote cooperation and focus on real action. Before the Meeting, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China issued the Position Paper of the People's Republic of China On the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. As a responsible country and permanent member of the UN Security Council, China unswervingly supports multilateralism and the important role of the United Nations, upholds the UN's authority and core status in the international system. No matter how the world changes, China will always stand firmly committed to building peace, promoting development, maintaining international order, and providing global public goods. Our resolve to safeguard multilateralism, fairness and justice will never waver. Our resolve to push for just and reasonable solution to hot-spot issues, and to bring about a more fair, just, and reasonable international order will never waver. Our resolve to build a community of shared future for mankind will never waver. And our resolve to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals will never waver.

The year 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and EU. There is no fundamental conflict of interests between China and the EU. Our cooperation far outweighs competition. There are far more common understandings than disagreements. China and the EU are entirely able to enhance trust through dialogues on an equal footing, achieve win-win outcomes through mutually beneficial cooperation, properly address differences through constructive communications, and jointly tackle global challenges through stronger coordination. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Europe are two major forces, two big markets and two great civilizations. What we stand for, what we oppose and what we work on together can make a difference for the world.

At this crucial moment of fighting COVID-19 and pursuing post-COVID-19 recovery, China and Europe should strengthen solidarity and cooperation to inject strong impetus to international solidarity and cooperation. Despite the ongoing COVID-19, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders have maintained close contacts with their European counterparts through phone calls, letters and videos. In June, the 22nd China-EU Summit was held. In September, President Xi Jinping co-hosted a China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting via video link with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Leaders of China, Germany and the EU exchanged in-depth views on China-EU relations and issues of common interest. A series of important outcomes were achieved at this meeting: the two sides officially signed the China-EU agreement on geographical indications, confirmed major progress made in the bilateral investment treaty talks, agreed to establish a China-EU High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue and a China-EU High Level Digital Cooperation Dialogue, and support and practice multilateralism.

As one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Estonia, China attaches great importance to China-Estonia relations. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Estonia have maintained close communication and provided each other with valuable supports. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a letter to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu to extend his compassion and support. In May, State Councilor Wang Yi exchanged views with Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu on bilateral as well as multilateral relations and practical cooperation between China and Estonia through telephone call. In order to facilitate Estonia’s procurement of medical supplies, Chinese government positively coordinated different working channels to prioritize and meet the needs of Estonia while its production capacity had not fully recovered and sufficient.

The medical experts from China and Estonia shared experiences and measures in fighting against COVID-19 via video links, which have yielded good results. Regarding to the practical cooperation, in recent years, China and Estonia have signed multiple protocols related to the export of herring, whey powder, poultry and salmon from Estonia to China, increasing the trade and investment between our two countries. Even during the COVID-19, in the first half of this year, the export volume from Estonia to China has increased by 14.43% year-on-year. People-to-people exchanges between China and Estonia have been well promoted. In the past five years, the number of Chinese tourists to Estonia has tripled.

Both China and Estonia are global leaders in digital construction, thus we can form a strong alliance in this field. According to the latest statistics, the number of mobile Internet users has reached 3.5 billion around the world. The digital economy now takes up more than 15% of the global GDP. Digital economy in China has been thriving in the last years. There are over 900 million netizens, including a fast growing group of 5G subscribers of 88 million. Digital economy makes up more than one-third of China's GDP. In the meantime, the mounting risks of data security have put national security, public interests and personal rights at stake, and posed new challenges to global digital governance. In order to address the new risks and challenges and to build a cyberspace featuring peace, security, openness, cooperation and order together, China has issued Global Initiative on Data Security and welcome the active participation and helpful advice from all parties.

China owes its development achievements, first and foremost, to the hard work, wisdom and courage of the Chinese people. It has also benefited from a peaceful and amicable international environment and win-win cooperation with the rest of the world. At the same time, China’s development success has not only benefited its own people but also the whole world. The purpose of China's proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind is to work hand in hand with all countries in the world to achieve common peace and prosperity. Covid-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good, which will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

Given the evolving global environment, China has set out the goal of fostering a new, dual-cycle development architecture with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international combination reinforcing each other. Such a development structure draws from the strengths of China's mega-sized market and the huge potential of domestic demand. China will not shut its door to the world, but only open it wider. We will further lower tariffs, shorten the negative list for foreign investment, ease market access and make market rules more transparent and the business environment more attractive so as to create more opportunities for the world.

On the occasion of the 71st National Day of the People’s Republic of China, I sincerely wish that China and Estonia will be more prosperous, our people will be healthy and happy and China-EU relations and China-Estonia relations will advance to a new height.

Thank you.

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