Ambassador Sun Weidong of China gave an interview to the Turkmen media on the 70th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China.
Here is the unofficial, slightly paraphrased translation of the text:
Q: October 1, the people of China celebrate National Day – the founding of the People’s Republic of China. What does this date mean for the Chinese people?
A: China is one of four countries with ancient civilization and has made a huge contribution to the progress of civilization of the international community over five thousand years of human development. After the opium war in 1840, China gradually sank to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), formed in 1921, the Chinese people waged a 28-year-old difficult struggle to save their homeland from enslavement, achieved state independence and national liberation, and built the People’s Republic of China.
On October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the formation of the People’s Republic of China, which marked the new historical era of China. The formation of a new China completely completed the difficult history of the oppression of the Chinese people by the imperialist powers for more than a hundred years, laid the foundation for a new great path in creating a prosperous and powerful state, implementing a national rebirth and achieving prosperity, and also opened a new chapter for the great rebirth of the Chinese nation. China adheres to an independent, and peaceful foreign policy, completely changes the global political and economic structure and has a profound impact on the history of mankind.
Question: What achievements of these 70 years are the people of China particularly proud of?
A: For 70 years, under the leadership of the CCP, the Chinese people have been struggling and persistently moving ahead, making a great leap forward – getting to their feet, getting rich and becoming powerful, and also creating magnificent miracles of mankind one after another.
The aggregate power of China is steadily increasing. In China, a modern industrial system has been created covering all spectra. China has become the foremost industrial and trading power in the world. The volume of its economy has increased 175 times compared with the first years after the establishment of the PRC and in 2018 exceeded 13.6 trillion US dollars, accounting for approximately 16% of the total global economy, China is steadily occupying the second largest economy in the world. Over the past few years, China’s contribution to global economic growth has exceeded 30% and, according to this indicator, China ranks first in the world. For several years in a row, China is the first in the world in the number of patent applications for inventions and their authorization, and the second in the world in the number of scientific and technical articles published in international journals and references to them. Important achievements were also won in the fields of aviation and astronautics, quantum technology, deep-sea probe, satellite navigation, and many other fields. The number of users of mobile broadband services has exceeded 1.3 billion. Such modern information technologies as cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, etc. are booming.
The standard of living of the Chinese people is constantly rising. China’s GDP per capita in 2018 amounted to approximately 10 thousand US dollars and increased by almost 71 times compared with the first years after the formation of the PRC. After pursuing a reform and opening up policy in 1978, the number of poor people in China was reduced by more than 7,000 million, which is more than 70% of the total number of people removed from poverty in the world at that time, to which UN Secretary General Anthony Gutters praised: “ China’s experience can be useful for other developing countries. ” China already has nine years of free compulsory education. Basic pension and health insurance systems cover more than 0.9 and 1.3 billion people, respectively. The average life expectancy of China has been increased from about 40 to 77 years and the feeling of gaining among the people has significantly strengthened.
The diplomacy of a great power with Chinese characteristics is comprehensively advancing. China always adheres to an independent and independent path of peaceful development and implements an openness strategy focused on mutual benefits and joint winnings. The number of countries that have established diplomatic relations with China has grown from 18 to 179, and China has established partnerships with 110 states and a “circle of friends” has formed that spans the entire planet. Chairman Xi Jinping put forward the initiative to jointly build “One Belt, One Road”, which received a positive reaction from more than 130 states and 30 international organizations. Chairman Xi Jinping put forward the concept of building a community of one destiny of mankind, aimed at creating a clean and beautiful world, where long-term peace, universal security, shared prosperity, openness and inclusiveness reign, which is Chinese wisdom and the Chinese option for resolving the crises of human development, it was also inscribed in several UN resolutions, and indicates the direction and makes a plan for the development of the whole world. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China ranks second in terms of contributions to the UN budget and the amount of funds allocated to UN peacekeeping operations.
Q: 27 years ago, independent neutral Turkmenistan and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations. What is the peculiarity of these relations and in what areas can cooperation be promising in the future?
A: In January 1992, China and Turkmenistan, which had just gained independence, signed a joint communiqué and became among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with it. In September 2013, President Xi Jinping chose Turkmenistan as the first point of his visit to Central Asia after taking office as President of the PRC and signed a joint declaration with President Berdimuhamedov, making China the first strategic partner of Turkmenistan, the status of which was determined by a political document. Under the strategic leadership of Chairman Xi Jinping and President Berdimuhamedov, bilateral relations have robustly developed.
In the political sphere, China and Turkmenistan are good brothers supporting each other. Both sides give each other firm support in matters relating to mutual fundamental interests. The Chinese side firmly supports the development path of the Turkmen side, corresponding to its own realities. The Turkmen side firmly supports the Chinese side in protecting the sovereignty of the state and territorial integrity. Both countries have similar or close positions on important international issues and develop fruitful cooperation at the UN and other international organizations. The Chinese side appreciates the active neutral policy that Turkmenistan implements in international affairs and several times supported various international initiatives of Turkmenistan as a co-author.
In the trade and economic sphere, China and Turkmenistan are good friends who go forward hand in hand. In 1992, bilateral trade amounted to only $ 4.5 million and in 2018 reached $ 8.4 billion, an increase of more than 1800 times, reflecting the swiftness of the Akhal-Teke horse. Since 2011, China has become Turkmenistan’s largest trading partner for 8 years in a row, and Turkmenistan is China’s third trading partner among the CIS countries. As the Sino-Turkmen trade and economic cooperation continues to deepen, communications and electronics products from the Chinese brands Huawei and Lenovo enjoy widespread popularity in Turkmenistan.
In the energy sector, China and Turkmenistan are good partners linked by mutual benefits and joint winnings. China is the largest consumer of energy resources in the world, and Turkmenistan is an important natural gas producer in the world. Sino-Turkmen gas cooperation can be described as strategic, long-term, complementary and mutually beneficial, meeting the common interests of our two countries and their peoples. With the commissioning of the China-Turkmenistan gas pipeline at the end of 2009, China imported more than 250 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas in total. For more than 10 years, the structure of Sino-Turkmen gas cooperation has already developed, covering an entire industrial chain, including production and development, transportation, trade, construction work and financial services.
In the cultural and humanitarian sphere, China and Turkmenistan are good neighbors united by the convergence of the aspirations of peoples. Both sides successively held Sino-Turkmen scientific and innovation forums, Cultural Days at each other, jointly in China held a visiting meeting of the International Association of Akhal-Teke horse breeding. Since June of this year, the Akhal-Teke horse festival has been held in Jilin Province of China, which has been going on for three months and wins a warm greeting from local residents. Currently, over 2,400 Turkmen students are studying in China. For several years in a row, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Turkmenistan has been organizing trips to China for youth, Paralympic athletes, teachers, students and schoolchildren from Turkmenistan, which strengthens mutual understanding and friendship. Twin cities were established between the five provinces and cities of both countries, and regional cooperation is steadily advancing.
Having passed the 27-year history of development, Sino-Turkmen relations are at a new historical point and expect new development prospects. There is enormous potential for bilateral cooperation in numerous areas, such as the construction of a free economic zone, 5G mobile communications, the digital economy, urban planning and infrastructure construction, satellite technologies, scientific and technological innovations, electronic and processing industries, traditional medicine, agriculture, finance, tourism and etc. The Chinese side is ready with the Turkmen side, according to the agreements reached between the leaders of our countries, to promote the deepening and expansion of bilateral cooperation.
Question: How does the initiative of the PRC President “One Belt, One Road”, which is in harmony with the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan on the “Revival of the Great Silk Road”, contribute to the realization of the common goals of our countries?
A: In September 2013, during a visit to Central Asia, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the initiative to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt, and in October, during a visit to Southeast Asia, he launched the joint construction of the 21st Century Sea Silk Road , and they got the abbreviated name “One Belt, One Road.” Over the course of 6 years, more than 130 countries and 30 international organizations have signed documents with China on the joint construction of the “One Belt, One Road”. The total volume of trade between China and the countries along the Silk Road route exceeded 6 trillion US dollars, the total investment of China in these countries exceeded 90 billion US dollars. The One Belt, One Road Initiative, based on the principles of “joint planning, joint construction and sharing”, has become a platform for collaboration in the joint pursuit of development, joint response to challenges and sharing the fruits of prosperity.
President Berdimuhamedov put forward the initiative of the “Revival of the Great Silk Road”, which was an important contribution of the Turkmen side in promoting regional interconnectedness and promoting the development of countries in the region. At the First Caspian Economic Forum, President Berdimuhamedov noted that the One Belt, One Road and Revival of the Great Silk Road initiatives are based on a common historical basis and are designed to serve the well-being and prosperity of the peoples of all our countries. The initiatives of the leaders of the two countries coincide to the highest degree, which constitutes a strategic plan and indicates the direction for the long-term development of Sino-Turkmen relations.
The “One Belt, One Road” and “Revival of the Great Silk Road” initiatives direct Sino-Turkmen bilateral and regional cooperation towards practical results. The China-Turkmenistan gas pipeline with a length of more than 1800 km passes through the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and can be called the “energy Silk Road of the new century.” As President Berdimuhamedov said: “This allows us to achieve the main goal – ensuring mutually beneficial cooperation and balancing the interests of each of the participants in the energy triad – producers, transit countries and consumers.” This project plays an important role in promoting economic development in the countries and the region whose territory the pipeline crosses. At present, container transportation by rail on China-Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran route has already begun. The time of freight transportation from China to the Persian Gulf was reduced from 28 days to 14 days, and the distance – by more than 600 km, which brought significant convenience for trade between cross-border countries.
The Chinese side is ready, together with the Turkmen side, to make efforts to actively promote the combination of strategies and actions of the One Belt, One Road and Revival of the Great Silk Road initiatives, to provide mutual support and participation, to search for large common ground for cooperation, to discuss the implementation of joint projects that meet the principles of both initiatives, including proposals by President Berdymukhamedov on the establishment of a regional logistics center, the Caspian innovation city, etc., as well as a joint venture the advancement of the great cause of the construction of “One Belt, One Road” and the “Revival of the Great Silk Road”, the construction of a community of a unified fate for China and Turkmenistan for the benefit of both countries and their peoples. /// nCa, 1 October 2019