|Ambassador Chen Chuandong's Interview with Jordan Times|
Recently, H.E. Chen Chuandong, Chinese Ambassador to Jordan accepted an exclusive interview with Jordan Times and answered questions from reporters on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Jordan, the joint construction of the "Belt and Road", economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The full text of the interview is as follows:
Q.1: This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Jordan. How do you comment on the development of China-Jordan relations in the past 45 years, and what are your expectations for future China-Jordan relations?
A: On April 7th, 1977, China and Jordan formally established diplomatic relations. This year we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Jordan.
Over the past 45 years, the political mutual trust between China and Jordan has continued to deepen. High-level exchanges between the two countries have continued. Since King Abdullah II took the throne, he has visited China eight times and has forged a profound friendship with Chinese leaders. In 2015, the two countries established a strategic partnership, opening a new chapter in China-Jordan relations. In 2021, President Xi Jinping and King Abdullah II exchanged congratulatory messages on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the 100th anniversary of the founding of Jordan, pointing out the direction for the future development of China-Jordan relations at a new historical starting point.
China and Jordan firmly support each other on core interests. China supports Jordan's efforts to maintain national security and stability and promote economic and social development, and supports Jordan in playing more constructive role in regional and international affairs. Jordan provides valuable support to China on issues concerning China's core interests, and firmly adheres to the one-China policy on the Taiwan issue.
China and Jordan have set an example by joining hands to fight the epidemic. At the beginning of the epidemic, Jordanian friends from all walks of life took active actions to donate anti-epidemic materials to the severely affected areas in China; when the Jordanian people needed vaccines urgently, the Chinese government donated vaccines twice and facilitated the purchase of vaccines for Jordan. The Chinese vaccine has played an important role in building an immune barrier for Jordan. The current epidemic is still lingering around the world, and China is willing to deepen cooperation with Jordan until the epidemic is completely defeated.
China and Jordan have jointly defended justice and promoted the right path on international and regional issues. China and Jordan have similar positions on regional hotspot issues. The firm stance of supporting the just cause of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation has never wavered. The adherence to the "two-state solution" has never changed, and the efforts to persuade peace and talks have never stopped.. The two sides also made unremitting efforts to promote the political settlement of regional hotspot issues such as Syria and Iraq, and contributed to the promotion of regional peace and stability. Jordan is one of the largest recipient countries of refugees in the region, demonstrating its lofty humanitarian spirit. For a long time, China has provided Jordan with various types of assistance including free grants, concessional loans, infrastructure and human resources training, and has also provided assistance to Jordanian refugees through multilateral agencies such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the World Food Program. We will continue to provide assistance to Jordanian and Jordanian refugees within our capacity.
Over the past 45 years, China-Jordan pragmatic cooperation has steadily advanced. In 2021, China-Jordan bilateral trade rebounded strongly under the epidemic, reaching US $4.416 billion, a year-on-year increase of 22%, which has exceeded the level before the epidemic. The joint construction of the "Belt and Road" by China and Jordan has achieved fruitful results, demonstrating that the two sides are economically complementary, got mutual benefits and mutual winning .
Over the past 45 years, the people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Jordan have become closer. Chinese cultural activities such as "Chinese New Year" and "Intangible Cultural Heritage Exhibition" and the participation of Chinese art troupes in the Jerash Art Festival were warmly welcomed by the Jordanian people. The frequent exchange of visits by delegations in the fields of youth, culture, sports, education, journalism and religion has laid a solid public opinion foundation for the friendship between the two countries. After the epidemic is over, China will continue to create more opportunities for people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two sides. Jordanian friends from all walks of life are welcome to visit China and have a look. More Chinese tourists will surely come to appreciate the beauty of Jordan.
Looking ahead, the development of China-Jordan relations will face new opportunities. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized that “the world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century”. In an open letter to the Jordanian people, King Abdullah II pointed out that “All countries stand today at a crossroads—they either keep up with the transformations and obtain the necessary tools, or fall behind and live on the sidelines of the future”.
The world is in a period of great development, great change and great adjustment, and the pandemic of the century has further increased instability and uncertainty. In the face of changing circumstances and even stormy waves, China-Jordan relations are as stable as Mount Tai, and China-Jordan cooperation has moved forward with determination. We firmly believe that under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state and taking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as an opportunity, China-Jordan relations will continue to break new ground, better benefit the two peoples, and make new contributions to the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future and a community with a shared future for mankind.
Q.2: You mentioned the "Belt and Road" and the people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Jordan. How does the "Belt and Road" benefit Jordan and promote the development of bilateral relations? What specific cooperation in humanities does China and Jordan have?
A: Since President Xi Jinping proposed the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" initiative in 2013, with the joint participation and efforts of all parties, the "Belt and Road" has changed from a concept to a practice, and achieved many major results. The principle of the “Belt and Road” is extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and the core concept is to strengthen connectivity in various fields, including policy communication, facility connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds, bringing huge opportunities for the development of countries around the world.
Jordan is located at a strategic point, and has been an important node and trade route of the "Ancient Silk Road" since ancient times. Today, as an "oasis of stability" in the region, Jordan can play an important role in the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" between China and Middle East countries. China welcomes Jordan's active participation in the joint construction of the "Belt and Road", and is willing to work with Jordan to further align development strategies, promote economic, trade and investment cooperation, improve connectivity, and promote the implementation of more practical projects, so as to help Jordan recover its economy and improve people's well-being.
The Attarat oil shale power plant project undertaken by Guangdong Power Engineering Corporation in China will provide about 3.7 billion kilowatts of electricity per year, meeting more than 10% of the Jordanian electricity demand. China SDIC Mining investment has become the largest shareholder of Jordan Arab Potash Company. The export volume of Jordanian potash fertilizer to China has greatly increased, and the company's efficiency has risen against the trend during the epidemic. A Chinese enterprise controls Aqaba International Industrial Estate and jointly develops a new industrial park with the local government, which will attract more foreign investment and create more employment opportunities. In addition, Jordan is a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB). In 2021, the AIIB approved the first investment project in Jordan to support Jordan's economic recovery and green transition.
People-to-people bond is the main content of the joint construction of the "Belt and Road". In order to promote exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, human resources training, youth and other fields between the two countries, China and Jordan have exchanged government project scholarships, and China has set up the China Scholarship Council and China Foreign Aid Training Scholarships. In the past three years, about 160 Jordanian students have studied in China through the above-mentioned scholarship programs, and more than 900 Jordanian students have participated in short-term Chinese foreign aid training courses. Chinese students regard Jordan as one of the first places to learn Arabic language and culture, and Chinese is more and more popular in Jordan. Jordan currently has the TAG Confucius Institute in Amman and the Confucius Institute at Philadelphia University in Jordan. The University of Jordan(UJ), Islamic Educational College (IEC), Defense Language Institute(DLI) have Chinese teaching points. The Amman Chinese Cultural Center has started trial operation.
Every year, we hold the Chinese Bridge—Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students in Jordan. We have also held several events such as the “Arab State Radio and Television High-level Seminar”“Insight of China: Workshop for Well-know Arab Artists in China”. In the future, we will continue to support people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries.