Celebrating the Year of the Ox and Seeking Joint Development
Chinese Ambassador Zhou Haicheng
2021-02-10 14:44

On February 10, Ambassador Zhou Haicheng's article entitled "Celebrating the Year of the Ox and Seeking Joint Development" was published on Vanuatu Daily Post. The full text is as follows:

In two days, we will celebrate the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, the grandest traditional festival for Chinese across the world. The Spring Festival stands for the beginning of a new year and symbolizes reunion, happiness and hope. 2021 is the year of the ox according to the Chinese Zodiac. The ox is a symbol of diligence, earnestness and success in Chinese culture. At this joyful moment of bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new, I wish every Chinese and Ni-Vanuatu good luck, happiness and prosperity in the year of the ox!

The past year has been like none other. The unimaginable difficulties, irreversible damages and lasting trauma caused by a global pandemic make us eager to turn the page. In China, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has rallied the nation behind a common purpose, and secured major strategic gains in the fight against COVID-19. China is the first major economy worldwide to register positive growth. We have scored decisive successes in the three critical battles against poverty, pollution and potential risks. The whole country is on course to fully build a moderately prosperous society and achieve the first centenary goal. The recent Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee set a great vision for China's development in the coming years and charted the course for national rejuvenation.

After a year of hardship, we understand more than ever the significance of a community with a shared future for mankind. In the face of the outstanding challenges to humanity brought by the devastating virus, economic recession and governance difficulties, China has shouldered its due responsibility as a major country. China adheres to the belief of unity and cooperation, provides assistance to help the international community against COVID-19, and actively supports and takes part in international cooperation on vaccines with a view to jointly building a global community of health for all.

China has committed to following through on its fundamental policy of opening-up, unswervingly advocated multilateralism and free trade and advanced high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China has continued to promote sustainable development and fully implement the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. China has actively participated in the reform of the global governance system, providing strong support for the stability of the international situation. As an active practitioner of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, China has announced to scale up its nationally determined contributions and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. China has put forward a series of new measures on climate change and will honor its commitment and see the implementation through.

Since 2020, the China-Vanuatu relationship has remained at its best in history with new headways. Both countries have pulled together to fight COVID-19, TC Harold and other challenges and promote economic recovery and cooperation in various fields. In the face of adversity, our commitment to each other has grown even stronger.

——Strengthened political trust. On the momentous occasions of Vanuatu’s 40th Independence Anniversary and China’s National Day, our top leaders exchanged congratulatory messages, speaking highly of the bilateral relations and vowing to further cement the China-Vanuatu Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. China's National People's Congress and the Vanuatu Parliament held a historic leadership virtual meeting and signed an MOU to deepen exchange and cooperation. CPC and Vanuatu's major political parties held three virtual seminars to deepen cooperation and seek common development. China invited Vanuatu to participate in two Vice Ministers' Special Meetings and the Health Experts Video Conference on COVID-19 between China and Pacific island countries to share prevention, containment, diagnosis and treatment experience, build consensus and discuss how to strengthen cooperation in a range of areas. The two countries have conducted close coordination and supported each other in the multilateral arena to jointly safeguard and expand the common interests of developing countries.

——Solidarity against COVID-19 and TC Harold. Based on respective national conditions, China and Vanuatu have taken effective measures to confront COVID-19. Both countries have given excellent answers in this test that satisfied the two peoples and drawn the whole world's attention. Meanwhile, China and Vanuatu have worked hand in hand and set a model for joint epidemic response. At the height of China’s fight against COVID-19, the Vanuatu government and people extended valuable support to China, for which we are deeply grateful. China has proudly contributed to Vanuatu’s COVID-19 response and post-TC Harold disaster relief and reconstruction endeavors. China has provided Vanuatu with seven batches of anti-epidemic assistance, including cash donations and material supplies, and built and renovated multiple health facilities. Many local communities and Ni-Vanuatu people are now using solar lights, boats, iron roof sheets and other building materials donated by China.

——Fruitful practical cooperation. Tanna-Malekula Road Project Phase II is progressing smoothly. We witnessed the groundbreaking of the Pentecost Road Project. The Sino-Van Fishing Plant is operating well. The China-provided fireworks, vehicles, media equipment, customs inspection equipment, etc., have helped Vanuatu successfully hold Yumi40 celebrations and improved its border control capability. Vanuatu’s competitive products were showcased at the Third China International Import Expo during which companies of the two countires signed two cooperation documents. A few weeks ago, the two governments signed an Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, which reaffirmed China’s dedication to providing assistance to Vanuatu’s economic and social development to the utmost of its ability.

——Strong people-to-people bond. We hailed for Vanuatu's graduation from the list of the Least Developed Countries. The Chinese community and Chinese enterprises in Vanuatu have organized charity programs to help local people affected by COVID-19 and other disasters. Two Chinese medical teams are working side by side with their Vanuatu colleagues on the front line against COVID-19. The Chinese authorities and universities take good care of Ni-Vanuatu students in China like our own children. Young Vanuatu citizens are more and more enthusiastic about learning Chinese and studying in China. The Chinese government scholarship is highly recognized in the Vanuatu society. My colleagues and I received warm hospitality during our visits to grassroots communities of Santo, Pentecost, Malekula, Ambae and Efate, which demonstrated Ni-Vanuatu’s profound sentiments of friendship to the Chinese people.

In 2021, China will celebrate the CPC's 100th birthday and embark on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country and achieve its second centenary goal, whereas Vanuatu, in a new development stage, will work to ensure a smooth transition and build a wealthier state. Looking ahead, there are broad and bright prospects for China-Vanuatu cooperation.

In the new year, let’s promote the spirit of the ox, carry forward the style of the ox, and use the strength of the ox to advance the China-Vanuatu relations.

——Serve the people, head bowed like a willing ox. The two countries will focus on practical cooperation in productive sectors, infrastructure, public health, education and training to bring benefits to the two peoples across the board.

——Think out of the box, blazing new trails like a pioneer ox. We will accelerate the implementation of major cooperation projects in the pipeline, discuss and initiate new resilient projects that can benefit more people, and promote a green economic recovery.

——Fight our way, marching ahead like a sturdy ox. We will carry on the shared Chinese and Ni-Vanuatu tradition of perseverence, overcome difficulties and meet challenges head on, forge converging power to defeat COVID-19 and other disasters and attain sustainable development.

May the China-Vanuatu relationship grow from strength to strength in the year of the ox!