On October 5th, China and Romania will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. As the twentieth Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Romania, I look forward to this great historical moment with friends from all walks of life in our two countries.
In the long history of Sino-Romanian relations, October 5th, 1949 is a milestone of great significance. From that day on, the two countries opened their doors to each other in an all-round manner, ushering in a new journey that has led to great leaps in their bilateral relations.
Over the past 70 years, China-Romania relationship has made great strides. Despite the vicissitudes of the international situation, we have always treated each other as equals with mutual respect, and friendly cooperation has always been the dominant theme of our bilateral relations, which have been upgraded twice, resulting in a comprehensive partnership of friendship and cooperation. We have maintained high-level exchanges, expanded cooperation and deepened common interests, forming an all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging pattern of mutually beneficial cooperation.
Over the past 70 years, our economic cooperation has deepened. Bilateral trade has been growing steadily, and entered the “fast lane” in recent years. Our trade volume has jumped from less than $300 million in 2000 to $6.68 billion in 2018, increasing almost 22 times, with an average annual growth rate of 18%. China has become Romania’s largest trading partner in Asia. This achievement is particularly remarkable against the background of rising world trade protectionism. In recent years, Romania’s wine, dairy products, honey and other high-quality agricultural products have found their way into China’s markets across the oceans, enriching the “food basket” of the Chinese people. Chinese enterprises take an active part in the investment and construction of Romania’s transportation infrastructure, new energy, high-tech and other fields. Chinese brands such as Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Xiaomi are increasingly popular among Romanian consumers. The vigorous development of bilateral pragmatic cooperation has brought tangible benefits to our two peoples.
Over the past 70 years, friendship has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the two peoples. Both China and Romania have a long history and a splendid civilization, and the two peoples are keen to know more about each other. Numerous people in China have been enchanted by the beautiful melody of “Ciocârlia” and the wonderful melody of pan flutes, and the Romanian audience are also fascinated by Chinese folk music ”Liang Zhu”, traditional Wushu and Sichuan opera “Li Yaxian”. The two sides have promoted visa facilitation, bringing in nearly 10,000 Chinese tourists to Romania each year. The Romanian Culture Center in Beijing runs well. There are now over 100 sites in Romania where the Chinese language is taught, including four Confucius Institutes, and the Chinese Cultural Center will soon be officially inaugurated in Bucharest. We have established 35 pairs of friendly provinces and cities, which ranks top in Central and Eastern European countries. Our two peoples always support and help each other, and the foundation of our friendship is increasingly solidified.
The famous Romanian poet N. Stănescu wrote in his poem: “Spune Nu doar acela care-l ştie pe Da” (Only he who knows yes can say no), which means only he who has lived a life can tell right from wrong. The fact that China-Romanian relationship has been continuously growing over the past 70 years gives us profound inspirations:
First, we should be forward-looking. 70 years ago, it was the vision of our leaders of the older generation that brought about the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Romania. Our bilateral relationship is based on the long-term common interests, not on expediency. The traditional friendship between China and Romania is a treasure of both countries and should be cherished and nurtured by all of us. Only by placing China-Romania relations in a strategic and long-term perspective and always putting the fundamental interests of the two peoples first, can we guide the bilateral relations in the right direction. Secondly, we should be committed to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results. The industrial structures and natural resources of China and Romania are highly mutually complementary, hence there are natural advantages in mutually beneficial cooperation. On this basis, our two countries should continue to expand converging interests and explore new areas of cooperation, thus providing an inexhaustible stimulus for bilateral relations. Thirdly, we should keep on seizing opportunities. Humanity shares a common destiny. The friendship between China and Romania is in line with the common aspiration of our two peoples for peace, development and cooperation, and rooted in their hearts. By promoting mutual understanding and the harmony of civilizations, we have put China-Romania relations on a solid social foundation.
At a crucial time when the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and standing at a new starting point of the past 70 years, it is imperative to draw a new blueprint for the development of China-Romania relations. Practical cooperation in various fields between our two countries is ready to go, and the prospects are promising. Both sides should work for the same goal so as to take our bilateral relations to a higher level.
First, we need to be more determined. The two sides should reaffirm the basic principles for developing bilateral relations and stick to the right course. We should deepen mutual political trust and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, properly handle differences and disputes, avoid outside interference so as to ensure a steady and sound development of our bilateral relations.
Secondly, we should expand mutual benefits. China is ready to enhance practical cooperation in various fields with Romania in new ways and models, deepening cooperation in traditional areas such as trade, agriculture, transportation and infrastructure, and tapping the potential of cooperation in new areas such as finance, medical care and environmental protection. We hope that Romania will create an open, transparent, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises and for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Thirdly, we need to enhance continuity. People-to-people friendship is the root of Sino-Romania relations and the source of continuous development of bilateral relations. We are ready to join hands with Romania to carry forward the traditional friendship, organize rich and diversified cultural exchange activities, and strengthen civil and local exchanges so as to tighten the people-to-people bonds and raise the awareness of a community of common destiny.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of New China. In just 70 years, especially in the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has become the world’s second largest economy from a poor, weak and isolated country, creating a miracle of high-speed GDP growth, and completing a journey that has taken western developed countries several hundred years to complete. Being a beneficiary of reform and opening-up, China naturally is also a strong supporter for an open world economy. China is ready to share huge opportunities of its rapid development with other countries including Romania, and welcome all countries to board the express train of China’s development and share the prosperity.
Over the 70 years, despite the far distance between China and Romania, our friendship grows day by day. I am confident that with the joint efforts of the friendly Chinese and Romanian peoples, our bilateral relations are bound to move forward to an even brighter future.