Pulling Together Through Adversity Toward a Brighter Future
By Huang Xilian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of the Philippines
2021-10-09 16:57

October 1st marks the 72nd founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China while the year 2021 witnessed the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the past hundred years, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people in achieving the tremendous transformation of the Chinese nation and creating world renowned miracles, now marching in confident strides toward the goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.

When taking a retrospective glance, the past year for China could be characterized with three key phrases:

The first is "Fighting against COVID-19". Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese government has always put people and their lives as the top priority. China has set a nationwide mechanism to mobilize resources and adopted  science-based and effective measures to fight against the pandemic. Through painstaking efforts, China has successfully controlled the virus and set an effective example for the global battle against COVID-19. The pandemic situation in China gets further improved as the nationwide vaccination progressing in an orderly manner. More than 2.2 billion doses of vaccines have been administered in China by the end of September. With the resumption of the economic activities and social life steadily going on, the Chinese people's satisfaction and trust in CPC and the Chinese government have been on the rise.

The second is "New Development". Having fulfilled the historical mission of eradicating absolute poverty and realizing the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and with a comprehensive understanding of the new development stage, China has set to apply the new development philosophy, and foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Enjoying the demographic dividend of a population of 1.4 billion, with the 900 million labor force, 400 million middle-income group and 120 million market entities, China's broad domestic demand would turn into great opportunities for foreign trade and investment. In the first half of year 2021, China's GDP has exceeded 53 trillion RMB, with a 12.7% year-on-year increase, marking a good start for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). The latest World Bank report predicts that China's economic growth rate would reach 8.5% this year, shedding light of hope on global recovery in the post-pandemic era.

The third is "Community with a Shared Future". As the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc around the globe, the road to global recovery remains tortuous and the international order is going through profound and complex changes. Upholding that the world is a global community of shared future, China has been acting as a responsible member to firmly safeguard the international justice and multilateralism, making active contribution to world peace and development. China calls on global solidarity against COVID-19, devoted to ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines as a global public good. We uphold a science-based approach to origins tracing, and stand firmly opposed to political maneuvering and stigmatization. To date, China has provided more than one billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations, and will strive to provide a total of two billion doses by the end of this year. During the 13th BRICS Summit, President Xi Jinping announced that in addition to donating 100 million US dollars to COVAX, China will donate 100 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries in the course of this year. 

The above-mentioned phrases are also vivid demonstration of the robust China-Philippines relations in the past year. On  27 August, 2021, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with President Duterte, when the two leaders reached important consensus and charted the course for future cooperation between the two countries. President Xi pointed out that China attaches great importance to relations with the Philippines and supports the Philippines in firmly upholding an independent foreign policy of peace. China is ready to deepen friendship and mutual trust with the Philippines, stay committed to good-neighborliness and friendship, and ensure the long-term and stable development of bilateral relations along the right track.

We must continue to join hands to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of China's battle with COVID-19, the Philippine government and people from all walks of life provided valued support to China. In light of the pandemic situation in the Philippines, China has also extended every help and support to the Philippines to the best of its ability. As of this month, the Chinese government has donated more than two million doses of vaccine to the Philippine government, and more than 40 million doses of Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have been delivered to the Philippines, making up the major source of its national vaccination plan. While ensuring stable vaccine supply, both countries would discuss further cooperation on vaccine development and production, and oppose the politicization of COVID-19 vaccine and origins tracing issues. China will continue to provide assistance for the Philippines' fight against the virus and build a community of health for our two countries.

We must continue to deepen cooperation for common development. In 2020, our bilateral practical cooperation has pressed ahead against all odds, with annual bilateral trade in goods reaching US$61.2 billion and China's direct non-financial investment in the Philippines hitting US$140 million. China became the Philippines' second largest export market, while remaining its largest trading partner and largest source of imports. The synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative and the "Build, Build, Build" program have been enhanced. The Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge has been launched and completed.  Main works of both Binondo-Intramuros Bridge and Chico River Pump Irrigation Project are expected to be completed within this year. Commercial contracts of major infrastructure projects including the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project have been signed. China stands ready to work with the Philippines to implement more projects, and further expand cooperation on trade, investment, digital economy and climate change, so as to promote the post-pandemic recovery and social-economic development of the Philippines in the long run.

We must continue to maintain regional and global peace and stability. Being close neighbors with deeply interwoven interests, our friendship transcends the past and extends to a shared future. History has proven and will continue to prove that a healthy, stable and friendly China-Philippines relationship is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and meet the common aspirations of the two peoples. The past year has witnessed the concerted efforts by both sides to enhance mutual respect and trust, manage differences, promote cooperation and maintain a peaceful, stable and prosperous regional environment. We initiated and issued the first Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding and launched the Manila Forum for China-Philippines Relations as new platforms of understanding and friendship between the two peoples in the new era. China is also ready to work with the Philippines to keep abreast of the historical trend, advance the common values of humanity to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

COVID-19 is still raging in the world and profound changes are taking place. Under the leadership of CPC, the Chinese people will unswervingly follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the pursuit of development for both our own good and the benefit of the world. Standing at the historical crossroads, China and the Philippines should seize the opportunity to jointly overcome difficulties and pursue common development for a bright future.

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