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Overcoming difficulties to move forward
interview of the Consul General of the People's Republic of China Mr. Cui Guojie to the EastRussia agency
Guojie CuiConsul General of the People's Republic of China in Khabarovsk
- Mr. Cui Guojie, what are the most significant changes in the work of the PRC Consulate General in Khabarovsk in connection with the coronavirus pandemic?
2020 is an extraordinary year. The sudden outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on all aspects of life, work and study of people, and in this regard, the Consulate General of the PRC in Khabarovsk is no exception. If we are talking about the areas of work of the Consulate General, the emphasis has largely shifted to the development of cooperation between the regions of the PRC and the Russian Federation on the prevention and control of the spread of coronavirus infection. For example, the Consulate General provided support in cooperation in the fight against the epidemic between the Khabarovsk Territory, the Amur Region, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) of the Russian Federation and the Heilongjiang Province, the cities of Harbin, Heihe and Fuyuan of the PRC. Both Sides stretched out helping hands at the right time and presented each other with a large amount of anti-epidemic material. The Consulate General also provided all possible assistance to regional governments, public organizations, educational institutions located in our consular district in the form of protective masks and other materials. Also, the key direction of the Consulate General's work is to accompany Chinese citizens in the consular district, to help them in the fight against the epidemic, to provide all kinds of support and by practical actions to demonstrate the principle of "People and people's lives above all else." Taking this opportunity, I would like to express special gratitude to the competent authorities of regional governments for ensuring the safety and health of Chinese citizens in Russia, as well as for providing them with the necessary conditions for a normal study and life.
If we talk about the working regime, then in 2020 most of the external communication of the Consulate General went online, one might say in the regime of “cloud diplomacy”. Using the Internet and other modern scientific technologies, we organized a number of receptions, seminars, dialogues in an online format, and also took an active part in these events ourselves; as a result, obvious results were achieved. Of course, such a regime has its advantages - it is fast, convenient and original, but still it is a forced choice in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. As diplomats, we, no doubt, prefer to communicate more fully, namely, face to face. I really hope that the pandemic will end soon and the Consulate General will fully resume communication on external relations.
- How do you assess Russian-Chinese relations against the backdrop of the pandemic? What are the main directions of development of bilateral relations?
Over the past year, Sino-Russian relations have withstood the severe tests caused by the coronavirus infection, experienced profound changes in the international situation unprecedented in the last century and achieved new fruitful results. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin have repeatedly held telephone conversations and sent each other letters. Under the strategic leadership of the Heads of the two states, an ambitious plan for the development of bilateral relations has been developed. The leadership of the leaders ensures that the China-Russia relationship of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction, which has entered a new era, will continue to develop at a high level and deepen steadily. Over the past year, China and Russia have firmly supported each other, confronted common challenges hand in hand, and worked closely to combat the epidemic. Business cooperation between the two countries in trade, economic, scientific, innovation and other areas is moving forward. Despite the unfavorable external conditions, a new glorious page was written in the history of traditional friendship and practical cooperation between China and Russia. The parties bravely stood shoulder to shoulder, resisting the "political virus", defended the results of the Victory in World War II and international justice, firmly supported each other in matters concerning the fundamental interests of the two countries, actively interacted to ensure peace and stability throughout the world, and contributed their contribution to the creation of international relations of a new type and a community of the common destiny of mankind. The importance of Sino-Russian relations at the international level is becoming more and more important and weighty. The Consulate General, as a supporter, participant and witness of friendly cooperation between China and Russia in the Far East, "feels" sincere joy and pride in these achievements.
2021 will be a special year for Sino-Russian relations, as China and Russia will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty on good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation. The parties agree that they will use all opportunities for the comprehensive implementation of the agreements of the leaders of the two countries and together remember the original goal of concluding an agreement - to strengthen long-term friendship and cooperate for mutual benefit, from a new starting point to promote bilateral cooperation in depth across a wider spectrum, thereby injecting momentum the strength of China and Russia in the recovery of the global economy and to lay a solid foundation for global strategic stability and international justice. Friendly relations and cooperation between the regions of China and Russia are an important component and support of bilateral relations. Under the current conditions, the prospects for strengthening friendship and expanding cooperation between the Russian Far East and the provinces of China appear broad, bright and promising.
- What steps are being taken in China to combat the spread of coronavirus infection?
The new coronavirus infection, COVID-19, is the most common global pandemic to date that humanity has encountered over the past century. In order to contain the spread of this unknown, unexpected and devastating disease around the world, China has selflessly launched an anti-epidemic struggle. General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping, prioritizing the life and health of the people, took responsibility for leading the anti-epidemic work, closely followed the development of the epidemic situation and made timely decisions in accordance with it. The Chinese people, showing great perseverance and courage, united and rallied together, helped each other to overcome temporary difficulties together, thereby demonstrating the great Chinese spirit in this "war without fire." China has taken the most comprehensive, strictest and most decisive measures, and has mobilized medical resources across the country to prevent and control the epidemic. Adhering to the principles of “do not miss one infected person, do not leave one sick person without help,” we ensured that everyone in need was tested, quarantined, hospitalized or treated. China actively develops international cooperation to combat the pandemic, timely brings to the international community authoritative and detailed information on the anti-epidemic work done, including the complete sequencing of the virus genome, unconditionally shares its experience in the prevention and control of the epidemic and methods of treating the disease. China supports the key leadership role of the World Health Organization and endorses and participates in international cooperation on vaccination. Thanks to careful measures and huge sacrifices at a high price, China was able to prevent the wider spread and further development of the virus, and significant strategic results were achieved in the fight against the epidemic. In this harsh struggle and great practice, it was fully proved that the leadership of the CPC, as well as the socialist system and the system of government in China, have a powerful vitality and advantages that can overcome any ordeal and make an important contribution to the development of human civilization.
- How did the pandemic affect the economy of the PRC and the daily life of its citizens?
Recently, the State Statistical Office of the PRC published information on the national economy of China in 2020, according to which China's GDP exceeded 100 trillion yuan for the first time. This is important news that has attracted attention not only within China but also abroad. In today's world, the pandemic is spreading at an accelerated pace, and the global economy is in its worst recession since World War II. Against this backdrop, the Chinese economy quickly recovered, made a dynamic leap forward with a "V-shaped rebound" and became the only major economy in the world to have positive growth in the past year. The country's economic growth has also exceeded the expectations of many professional institutions. China currently accounts for about 17% of the global economy, up from 16.3% the previous year. In 2020, China collected a record grain harvest, industrial production developed steadily, the volume of trade, despite the global trend, increased, a new environment was created in the modern service industry, the optimization of the consumption structure advanced at an accelerated pace, the scale of domestic investment rose again, the employment situation was better than expected, commodity prices remained stable, and the level of income of residents rose, which coincided with the desire of the people.
I want to especially note that without other countries there can be no talk of China's development, and China's development, in turn, will benefit other countries. The positive dynamics of the Chinese economy benefits not only China but the whole world. As we know, over the past year, China not only pulled the global economy out in terms of performance, but also provided other countries with the necessary material assistance to combat the pandemic in a timely manner, and played an active role in ensuring the stability of the global production and supply chain. According to the forecast of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2021 China will provide a third of global economic growth. China is currently striving to create a new development architectonics. I am confident that China's steadily developing economy will create more demand for the whole world, and will bring more opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and other countries.
- How do you assess the impact of the pandemic on cooperation between the PRC and the Russian Federation in the Russian Far East?
Indeed, the outbreak of the new coronavirus infection has to some extent had a negative impact on cooperation between the two countries in the Far East. But the overall situation has remained stable and great prospects for development are expected. In the first 9 months of 2020, the volume of imports and exports between China and the Far East of the Russian Federation reached $ 7,94 billion, compared to the same period, increased by 2,6% and amounted to 33,8% of the total foreign trade of the Far East. China remains the Far East's largest trade partner. There are conditions for the commissioning of the Heihe - Blagoveshchensk road bridge. Work on the construction of the Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge and a component for the checkpoint bridge is under way. The construction of a cross-border cable car across the Amur was launched. This year, we will make efforts to quickly resume work, production and trade in cooperation between the regions of China and the Russian Far East, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in areas such as investment, energy, agriculture, forestry, infrastructure and connectivity and others. China is ready, together with Russia, to focus due attention on the post-epidemic time, jointly overcome difficulties and share opportunities for development, so that the Belt and Road Initiative is linked with the Eurasian Economic Union and trade and economic cooperation between the PRC and the Russian Federation in the Far East gave even greater results and went for the good of the peoples of China and Russia.
- In October of last year, you became an honored guest of the international video bridge Khabarovsk - Dalian - Harbin, during which an agreement on long-term cooperation between PNU and Dalian College of Arts was signed. What other initiatives of this kind in the field of education and culture are planned for this year?
In recent years, humanitarian cooperation between our countries in the Far East has been developing rapidly and is becoming a kind of "visiting card". More and more young people are showing interest in the language and culture of the opposite country. And the cooperation between PNU and the Dalian College of Arts, as well as other universities, is a miniature picture of such cooperation. Last year, a merciless virus swept the whole world, but the virus cannot weaken the desire for communication between the peoples of China and Russia, cannot stop the steps of peoples towards strengthening and developing our traditional friendship. Relations between states depend precisely on good ties between peoples. The Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Khabarovsk will, as before, support cooperation between the Far East and China in the humanitarian field, provide assistance to cultural and educational institutions in finding partners and establishing ties with them. We will also help so that more Chinese and Russian schoolchildren and students have the opportunity to study in Russia or China, literary and art groups more often travel abroad to the opposite country on a visit or on tour. In the future, if the situation with the pandemic allows, the Consulate General itself will actively organize cultural events, such as music concerts, festivals, exhibitions, contests in the Chinese language and others. We will be very glad to see our Russian friends from all spheres of public life at our events.
In just a few days we will be celebrating the Chinese New Year according to the lunar calendar. Taking this opportunity, on behalf of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Khabarovsk, I congratulate you, my friends, on the Spring Day, I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity in the New Year of the Golden Bull!
Thank you for attention!