|Join hands in New Journeys and Draw a New Blueprint Together|
Ambassador Chen Chuandong made a speech on China-Jordan relations at the "Jordanian Society in Hundred Years" Forum on October 21.
Dear Vice President of the University of Jordan,
Dear members of the faculty and students,
Dear colleagues of the diplomatic corps,
I am very delighted to join you at this conference. I would like to thank the University of Jordan for its meticulous arrangements. I also take this opportunity to congratulate the University of Jordan for retaining the 10th place in the ranking of Arab universities.
This year marks the centennial of Jordan. The theme of this forum, Jordanian Society in Hundred Years, is very befitting as we reflect upon the changes in Jordan over the past century and look towards the journey in the next one.
In the past century, led by the Hashemite monarchy, generations of Jordanian people have worked tirelessly, overcoming various difficulties including regional turbulence and lack of energy and resources, rising to numerous challenges in the course of development. Jordan has gained national independence, established a modern system, and achieved economic and social progress that Jordanians can take great pride in. In recent years, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II, Jordan has made strenuous efforts to develop its economy, put in place reforms, and has maintained social stability, becoming an oasis of security in the region. Jordan is committed to good relations with neighbouring countries, takes an active part in international and regional affairs, promotes the Middle East peace process, and advocates dialogue among civilizations, and has thus gained worldwide acclaim.
President Xi Jinping already sent a congratulatory message to King Abdullah II on the centennial of Jordan in April. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our warm congratulations again to the people of Jordan through you. As the Chinese ambassador to Jordan, I take great joy for Jordan's historical achievements over the past century.
This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The CPC was born at a time of great survival crisis of the Chinese nation. It has led the Chinese people through formidable struggles, achieved national independence, established the People's Republic, and blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It has created a miracle of rapid development coupled with sustained stability, which has drawn worldwide attention. China has become the second largest economy in the world and the primary engine of global economic growth. The people of China are marching towards the second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country. China actively works for of a community with a shared future for mankind. It promotes world peace, contributes to global development, safeguards the international order, and provides international public goods.
Today, both China and Jordan stand on the new starting point of our respective journey into the second centenary. This offers new opportunities for China-Jordan relations on an already solid foundation.
Thousands of miles apart from each other, China and Jordan have been connected since ancient times. The ancient city of Petra was a prosperous hub along the Silk Road. In the last century, China and Jordan suffered from colonization and foreign aggression, and both have gone through the arduous journey of striving for liberation and national independence. Similar hardships and experiences have brought the hearts of the two peoples closer. In 1977, China and Jordan formally established diplomatic relations and opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations. The exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in political, economic, military, cultural, and other fields have developed steadily and yielded many fruits.
Over the past 44 years, the political mutual trust between China and Jordan has been continuously consolidated. High-level exchanges are frequent. His Majesty King Abdullah has visited China 8 times since he took the throne, and he has established profound friendship with Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping. Under the care and guidance of leaders of our two countries, bilateral relations have continued to move forward, culminating in a strategic partnership in 2005. We support each other on issues of our core national interests. China has always firmly supported Jordan in maintaining national security, stability, and dignity. China has always supported Jordan's legitimate concerns on the Palestinian issue. China appreciates Jordan's support of China's principled position and legitimate rights and interests on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and other issues of China's internal affairs. The exchanges and cooperation between China and Jordan in the fields of military, security, and law enforcement have also been growing which contributes to the maintenance of national security and social stability of our two countries.
Over the past 44 years, our economic and trade cooperation has achieved remarkable results. China has become Jordan's third largest trading partner and second largest source of imports. The trade volume between our two countries in 2020 is more than 80 times of that in 1980. Despite the continuing raging pandemic and soaring logistics cost, China-Jordan trade has clearly rebounded this year, with a year-on-year growth of 18.51% from January to August. Mutual investment has become a new area of growth for economic and trade cooperation in recent years. A Chinese company invested in the Arab Potash Corporation and became the largest shareholder. The company achieved record growth in potash fertilizer production and sales in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic. Jerash Garments, invested by a Hong Kong company of China, was the first Arab company listed at NASDAQ. Jordan's Talal Abu Ghzala Group (TAG) invested in production of electronic products in China, and its products are widely available in the Middle East. Chinese companies have participated in the construction of major projects in Jordan and have won trust with good quality and reputation.
For a long time, the Chinese Government has provided assistance to the Jordan under the framework of South-South cooperation. The roads, hospitals, water supply systems, low-income housing, stadiums and other projects provided by China are well received by the Jordanian people. China has also assisted Jordan in meeting the challenges of generously hosting refugees from Syria and other countries, providing batches of humanitarian assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels. China's assistance to Jordan adheres to the principles of equality and mutual benefit, keeping promises, and being results-oriented. It aims to help Jordan strengthen its capacity for self-sustained development and improve people's lives. China's aid is without any political conditions attached.
China has also actively promoted assistance to Jordan provided by multilateral development agencies. A few weeks ago, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) decided to provide Jordan with its first loan of US$250 million to support Jordan's economic recovery, employment, and green growth.
Over the past 44 years, cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Jordan have flourished. The two governments signed a cultural cooperation agreement and exchanged groups to participate in art festivals and film festivals. In recent years, Chinese art groups have performed at almost every Jerash Art Festival. Educational exchanges have become more frequent. Many young Chinese come to Jordan to learn Arabic and Jordan's amazing culture. China has provided Jordanian students with a large number of scholarships and is Jordan's largest provider of human resources training. More and more Jordanians want to learn Chinese. Our two countries have established two Confucius Institutes in collaboration. Quite a number of schools in Jordan now offer Chinese language courses. The University of Jordan is home to many high-achieving Chinese language majors. The Chinese Cultural Centre in Amman is now up and running. It provides another important platform for cultural exchanges between the two countries. In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists who come to Jordan is increasing. People-to-people exchanges have enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples and played an important role in promoting our bilateral relations. In April, a video commemorating the 44th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Jordan, shot by Chinese and Jordanian colleagues of the Chinese Embassy, became the most popular video on the Embassy's Facebook page.
Over the past 44 years, China and Jordan have closely coordinated in the international affairs arena. We have always had broad consensus on many international and regional issues. Both countries are committed to achieving and maintaining peace and security in the Middle East. Both speak for and uphold justice on the Palestine issue. And both advocate dialogue and tolerance among civilizations and religions. China supports countries in the Middle East in their freedom from geopolitical rivalry among powers and exploring development paths suited to their own characteristics. China supports countries in the region in ridding external pressure and interference, and building a security framework that takes into account the legitimate concerns of all parties. China firmly supports the "two-state solution" and strives for an early, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue. China actively promotes dialogue for peace, and works for political solution of the Syrian, Yemeni, and Libyan issues. China is committed to a continued constructive role in this regard.
Through the years, China and Jordan have actively promoted the development of China-Arab relations. China and Arab countries have ancient and brilliant civilizations and a long history of exchanges. In recent years, China-Arab relations have developed rapidly and established a strategic partnership, which is characterized by mutual economic benefits, mutual understanding of civilizations, and mutual closeness of the peoples. According to a survey conducted by the China-Arab Reform and Development Research Centre on young people from 17 Arab countries, 86.5% of the respondents have a good overall impression of China. This reflects peoples' bond between China and Arab countries. Jordan is an important participant and promoter of China-Arab relations. In July 2020, foreign ministers of China and Jordan co-chaired the Ninth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. The meeting unanimously agreed to convene a China-Arab summit and reached important consensuses on building a China-Arab community with a shared future, supporting each other on issues involving each other's core interests, furthering Belt and Road Initiative cooperation, strengthening cooperation in fighting the pandemic and restoring work and production. The meeting also adopted the Amman Declaration of the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.
For the past year, China and Jordan have made important headway in fighting the pandemic together. After the outbreak of Covid-19, the Chinese and Jordanian governments and peoples have helped each other. When the people of Jordan were in urgent need of vaccines, China provided and donated Sinopharm vaccines promptly, despite its own huge domestic demand for vaccination, to help the people of Jordan fight the pandemic and return production and life to normal. The Sinopharm vaccine has been widely recognized by the Jordanian people. By working side by side, China became the first countries to have contained the pandemic; Jordan has make important progress in controlling the spread of the virus. China will continue to provide assistance within its capacity to Jordan to fight the pandemic in full consideration of Jordan's needs and in full consultation with Jordan.
China and Jordan differ in many ways in terms of history and cultural traditions, political and social systems, size, resources, and population, but our bilateral relations have maintained a stable momentum of development. This is because our two countries have always adhered to the principles of mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefits, and win-win cooperation. It is because our leaders have always viewed and promoted bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. It is because our two peoples have always treated each other honestly and friendly. These characteristics constitute the solid foundation and infinite driving force for the relationship between the two countries. I have been in Jordan for less than 10 months, but I have strongly felt the friendly sentiments of the Jordanian people towards the Chinese people and the strong desire of all sectors of Jordan to develop bilateral relations. I have witnessed the continuous deepening and expansion of exchanges and cooperation between our two countries.
As the world is witnessing major changes unseen in a century, China-Jordan relations stand at a new starting point. Next year, we will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. China is ready to work with Jordan in seizing the opportunities and ushering in a new prospect of China-Jordan friendly and cooperation. I would like to share with you a few thoughts on the further development of China-Jordan relations.
First and foremost, we should strengthen strategic communication and mutual trust. China has always regarded Jordan as a good friend and a good partner of unique position and important influence in the Middle East. We are willing to work with the Jordanian parties to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries, follow their directions and further enrich our strategic partnership. The two sides should intensify exchanges at all levels, strengthen exchanges between political parties, parliaments, and the peoples, sharing experience in governance, enhancing mutual understanding and recognition. We should continue to firmly support each other on issues involving core interests, consolidating the political foundation of bilateral relations. We should strengthen defence, security, and law enforcement cooperation, jointly combat international terrorism. We should intensify exchanges and cooperation in the fields of education, culture, youth, and other people-to-peoples exchanges, laying a solid social and public opinion foundation for our relations. We will assist Jordan in translating and publishing books and literary works commemorating Jordan's centennial in China. The 24th Winter Olympics and Paralympics will be held in Beijing in February next year, we warmly welcome friends from Jordan to enjoy the games.
Secondly, we should align our development strategies and tap potential for cooperation. Jordan has a superior geographical location and has been an important route for merchants in the Middle East since ancient times. The economies of China and Jordan are highly complementary and hold great potential for cooperation. China has entered a new stage of development and the establishment of a new development pattern, which will bring more opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Jordan. China welcomes and actively supports Jordan's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, and is willing to strengthen the alignment of development strategies with the Jordan, taking advantage of our complementarities, deepen cooperation in energy, transportation, infrastructure development, industrial capacity, agriculture, tourism, and other fields, in a bid to expand bilateral economic, trade and investment. China encourages competent Chinese companies to invest in Jordan and hopes that Jordan will continue to provide a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to invest and operate in Jordan. China welcomes Jordanian companies to participate in various exhibitions such as the China International Import Expo to expand export of Jordanian produces and products to China.
Thirdly, we should promote peace and dialogue among civilizations. There is no distinction between high and low, good or bad in civilizations. Diversity in civilization should not become the source of conflicts, but driving force for the improvement of humanity. China and Jordan should jointly advocate and promote dialogue on an equal footing, tolerance, and mutual learning among civilizations and religions, prevent discrimination and prejudice against specific ethnic groups or religions, and fight the civilization superiority, civilization conflict fallacies and Islamophobia. The Palestinian issue bears on regional and global peace and stability, international justice, human conscience and credibility. Solving this issue is a prerequisite for achieving lasting peace and security in the Middle East. China is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with Jordan on regional issues including the Palestinian issue, unite efforts to promote peace, using wisdom and strength to solve the predicament of the century.
Fourthly, we should work together to build a China-Arab community with a shared future. China and Arab countries are good partners of mutual benefit, sharing weal and woe. Jordan has significant influence in Arab countries. China is ready to strengthen coordination with Jordan, taking the first China-Arab summit as an opportunity to promote alignment of China-Arab development strategies and actions, and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, so that we can be defenders of peace and stability in the Middle East, defenders of fairness and justice, promoters of common development, and good friends who learn from each other.
Youth is the hope and future of nations. The youth of China and Jordan bears important responsibilities in our second centenary journey of the two countries. I hope that the youth of our two countries will strengthen exchanges, become envoys for friendship, and a new force for cooperation between the two countries, marching side by side in the journeys of the second centenary of our great nations.