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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the Virtual Event in Celebration of the 71st Anniversary Of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

It is a great pleasure to join friends old and new for this virtual celebration of the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On behalf of the Chinese Mission to the EU, I wish to express sincere thanks to those who dedicate themselves to the development of China-EU friendship and who follow the growth of China-EU relations with great interest.

To China, this year is of historic significance for meeting the first centenary goal, namely ushering in a moderately prosperous society in all respects. It is also an extremely unusual year, as the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has put the resilience and solidarity of the international community to the test. Faced with challenges and difficulties, China joins hands with other partners including the EU in the global response to the outbreak, contributing to the stability and prosperity of the world.

This life-and-death battle against COVID-19 epitomizes the great spirit of China. We put people and life above everything else. The whole nation has been united as one in fighting the virus against all odds. We have mobilized all resources across the country to help the hardest-hit regions. We strive to protect everyone’s life. Our medical workers and scientists are braving danger with tenacity and fortitude. Our efforts are driven by humanitarianism, compassion and respect for science. We stand in solidarity with peoples across the world, contributing wisdom and strength to the global cooperation against COVID-19.

China supports the WHO in leading the global response, and takes an active part in international cooperation on diagnostics, treatment and vaccine development. President Xi Jinping announced that vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. Last week, President Xi announced that China will provide another US$50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan. China is part of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, and helps strengthen the capabilities of countries with weak health systems in fighting the pandemic.

The difficult path toward recovery bears out the resilience and vitality of the Chinese economy. The Chinese government made a timely and major decision to strike a proper balance between epidemic control and economic and social development. We took region-specific, tiered and differentiated measures to contain the virus and took targeted steps to resume work and production. We increased macro policy leverages and introduced measures to promote employment on a priority basis, help enterprises out of difficulties, boost investment and consumption, keep industrial and supply chains stable, and spur the growth of new forms of business models. We are removing barriers to economic recovery, one by one. In the second quarter, China’s economy rose by 3.2% year on year, making China the first major economy to register positive growth since the outbreak of COVID-19.

We live up to the commitment made to our people. Amid the impact of COVID-19, we are making more resolute and intensive efforts to end extreme poverty. We facilitate the reopening of industries aimed at poverty alleviation, prioritize the impoverished population for job placements, and prevent pandemic-induced poverty or resurgence of poverty. At the UNGA General Debate, President Xi Jinping said that we have every confidence to achieve our goals within the set time frame, that is, to finish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, lift out of poverty all rural residents living below the current poverty line, and meet ten years ahead of schedule the poverty eradication target set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The complex international landscape sheds light on the resilience and potential of China-EU relations. In response to the pandemic, our two sides have offered each other support and assistance. This should always be remembered. China and the EU work closely together in the area of global public health. This illustrates our shared commitment to upholding multilateralism and addressing global challenges, speaks to the relevance and global impact of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, and offers stability and positive energy to the world.

This year, President Xi Jinping met with EU leaders twice via video link. The 22nd China-EU Summit was successful. All this has lent a strong political impetus to China-EU relations. The two sides decided to launch a high-level environment and climate dialogue and a high-level dialogue on digital cooperation, and foster partnerships for green and digital cooperation, adding more dimensions to China-EU cooperation. Significant progress has been made in the BIT talks. The Geographical Indications Agreement was formally signed. All this offers great opportunities for our economic ties to move to the next level.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Changes never seen in a century are evolving quickly. China and the EU, as two major forces, two big markets, and two great civilizations, have a responsibility to strengthen and sustain global solidarity and cooperation, and contribute their share to the global efforts to fight the pandemic, promote economic recovery and safeguard justice.

China and the EU need to perceive each other correctly. There are no identical political models in the world. It is quite normal for a diversity of cultures to coexist. Differences in system and development path are not obstacles to dialogue and cooperation, still less do they support the argument that either side should be viewed by the other as a systemic rival. China regards Europe as a major partner. China never has the intention to turn the pandemic into an arena of competing systems or into a leverage to divide the EU. The more committed China and the EU are to seeking common ground while reserving differences and deepening cooperation, the stronger guarantee we would have for global peace and common prosperity.

China and the EU need to commit to openness and cooperation. China aims to further expand domestic demand, and over time, foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This will help bring the Chinese and EU markets closer and give play to their respective strengths. The two sides could hopefully work together to conclude the BIT talks by the end of this year, formulate the China-EU 2025 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation as early as possible, and seize new opportunities for digital and green cooperation. China and the EU need to jointly build an open world economy, safeguard the multilateral trading system with the WTO as its cornerstone, categorically reject unilateralism and protectionism, and keep global industrial and supply chains stable and uninterrupted.

China and the EU need to uphold multilateralism. China stands ready to work with the EU, in a spirit of extensive consultation, joint cooperation and shared benefits, to ensure that all countries enjoy equal rights and opportunities and follow the same rules. We need to preserve the UN-centered international system, advance WHO-centered global cooperation against COVID-19, and embrace the underlying global trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation. Climate change is a common challenge for humankind. Last week, President Xi Jinping announced that China will scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, and strives to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China hopes to join hands with the EU in further implementing the Paris Agreement, achieve a green recovery of the world economy and thus build a powerful synergy driving sustainable development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

COVID-19 reminds us that we are in a community with a shared future. The dark clouds of crisis could only be dispelled by the sunshine of cooperation. Let us work together for the prosperity and development of China and the EU and for a better future of mankind.

Thank you.

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