Sunday December 11, 2022
By Ambassador Fei Shengchao
China's Ambassador to Somalia, Fei Shengchao. CREDIT: So.China Embassy
The world is becoming increasingly complex and turbulent, with the once-in-a-century pandemic and the Ukraine crisis continuously simmering and non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, climate change, energy crisis and food insecurity looming large. Peace and development have become a shared aspiration and pursuit for nations around the world.
Against this background, from October 16 to 22, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China(CPC) was successfully held in Beijing. Delegates elected a new Party Central Committee at the Congress. President Xi Jinping was re-elected the General Secretary of the Central Committee for the great changes and achievements China has made in the past ten years under his leadership. Over the past ten years, China's GDP has grown from US$7 trillion to US$16 trillion, remaining the second largest economy in the world. The GDP per capita has doubled to more than US$11,000, and nearly 100 million rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty. China has eliminated absolute poverty, a milestone achievement resolving a millennia old pain for the Chinese nation. A moderately prosperous Chinese society has come into being in an all-round way.
China, as the largest trading nation in the world, has become a major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions. The country produces more than 13 million urban jobs a year and boasts the world's largest education system, social security system and medical and health system. The average life expectancy of the Chinese people has increased to 78.2 years. The Chinese people have seen their senses of fulfilment, happiness and security greatly enhanced and therefore are very much delighted and encouraged to see the re-election of General Secretary Xi Jinping and his continued leadership in the Communist Party of China.
Over the past ten years, China, a country that has gone through the historical ups and downs and gone from strength to strength, has been adding much-needed stability and certainty to a unstable and uncertain world with its steady and sound economic development and more-than-one-third contribution to global growth, so has it this time with the grand blueprint for China's future development drawn at the 20th National Congress of the CPC.
The central task of the Communist Party of China in the next stage is to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
It is the modernization of a huge population. China is working to achieve modernization for more than 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries. It is the modernization of common prosperity for all, with a goal of meeting people’s aspirations for a better life. It is the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement, promoting all-around material abundance as well as people’s well-rounded development to enrich people’s material, cultural and spiritual life. It is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature through green development, which aims to ensure the sustainable development of China and make Chinese contribution to effectively meeting the challenge of climate change. It is the modernization of peaceful development. China will not tread the old path of war, colonization, and plunder taken by some countries. The brutal and blood-stained path toward a better life at the expense of others has caused great suffering for the people of developing countries, including China. Therefore, China will strive to safeguard world peace and development as we pursue our own development, and make greater contributions to world peace and development through our own development. A Chinese path to modernization has unlocked new possibilities and opened up new horizons for nations to achieve modernization. There is more than one road to modernization. In light of one’s own characteristics and trends of the times, every country could find a path of modernization fitting itself and through win-win cooperation with other countries.
China is committed to its national policy of opening to the outside world. It strives to promote the construction of an open global economy, advance the high-quality development of the "Belt and Road" initiative and stabilize the global industrial chains and supply chains, so as to bring more benefits to the world economy and better serve the interests of people of all countries. China will continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, advance bilateral, regional, and multilateral cooperation, and boost international macroeconomic policy coordination. It is committed to working with other countries to foster an international environment conducive to development and create new drivers for global growth. China opposes protectionism, “fences and barriers,” decoupling, disruption of industrial and supply chains, unilateral sanctions and maximum-pressure tactics. China is prepared to invest more resources in global development cooperation and help narrow the North-South gap by supporting other developing countries in accelerating development.
China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace. It always decides its position and policies based on the merits of the matter, and it endeavors to uphold the basic norms governing international relations and safeguard international justice. China respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. It stays true to the principle of equality of all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, and respects the development paths and social systems independently chosen by the people of individual nations themselves. China stands out firmly against all forms of hegemonism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and double standards. This is also a silver bullet for many African countries to safeguard their sovereignty, independence and livelihood.
China will promote world peace and development and facilitate the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. The Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative both lend fresh impetus to promoting common development and safeguarding world peace. China advocates and practices true multilateralism, works actively to foster a new type of international relations, deepens and expands global partnerships, actively participates in the reform and construction of the global governance system, and promotes humanity’s common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom.
China and Africa are a community with a shared future. China is the largest developing country, and Africa is a continent with most developing countries. The Chinese path to modernization will open up enormous opportunities for Africa’s development. The China-Africa trade volume hit a new high in 2021, exceeding 250 billion US dollars, with a year-on-year growth of 35%. Guided by the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity, and good faith and with a commitment to the greater good and shared interests, China firmly supports African countries in following their own paths of development.
As an old Chinese saying goes, to give fish is not as good as teach others to fish. Through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC) and other platforms, China is giving “fish” and helping African nations learn to “fish” at the same time. China helps African countries constantly strengthen energy, transportation and other infrastructure construction and industrial and agricultural development. China-Africa cooperation is not an empty slogan, nor a game of numbers. It is demonstrated by tangible achievements on the African continent and the benefits delivered to the African people. In the past two decades alone, China has helped Africa build and upgrade more than 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1000 bridges and 100 ports. It has laid more than 200,000 kilometers of optical fiber in Africa, and helped 6 million African households access broadband Internet. China has also helped Africa build a large number of hospitals and schools. The Chinese path to modernization also provides new ideas for African countries to strengthen governance and explore development paths suited to their own national conditions. China-Africa cooperation has yielded remarkable fruits and has even greater potentials and prospects. In a world of chaos and changes, to deepen China-Africa cooperation is in line with the general trend of the times and aspiration of the people.
Somalia was the first East African country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and China-Somalia friendship is an epitome of China-Africa friendship. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, our two countries have deepened mutual trust and our cooperation has yielded rich fruits. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the first country to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Somalia and has been one of the largest providers of vaccines to Somalia bilaterally. China also provided a large amount of humanitarian aid to Somalia, including support for the maintenance, repair and renovation of the Banadir Hospital and De Martino Hospital, providing personnel training for the Somali government and in areas such as health, agriculture and transportation. China has also provided government scholarships for hundreds of young people from Somalia to study in China. To help Somalia in the combat against the drought, China has delivered more than 500 tons of wheat and rice to the country, and will soon provide a larger amount of emergency food aid.
China and Somalia share a profound friendship. We breathe the same air and share the same future, with our hearts beating together. As a good friend and brother of Somalia, China has always firmly supported Somalia in making fresh headway on its independent road to peace and reconstruction. Today, Somalia is still facing many challenges in security, development and drought response. As President Xi Jinping said, we are in an era full of challenges and also full of hope. China is willing to continue to support Somalia in better meeting the challenges and achieving peace, stability and development at an early date. We hope and do believe that the people of China and Somalia can overcome difficulties, resolve differences, turn challenges into opportunities, consolidate and deepen the traditional friendly and cooperative relations between our two nations in an unstable and uncertain world, and use the stability and certainty of China-Somalia relations to continuously benefit the two countries and peoples.
Fei Shengchao is the Chinese Ambassador to Somalia. Fei is a career diplomat with postings in Australia, Europe and Africa.