Build a Better Future for China-Fiji Relations
——Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zhou Jian at the Reception to
Celebrate the 74th National Day of the People's Republic of China
2023-09-26 14:00

His Excellency President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere,

Honorable Acting Prime Minister Gavoka,

Honorable Acting Chief Justice, Deputy Prime Ministers, and Members of the Parliament,

Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and international organizations,

Chinese Compatriots in Fiji,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Bula Vinaka, good evening!

It is a great pleasure to be with you all to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. In a few days, we will also celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, which signifies family reunion and happiness in Chinese culture. Two festivals coincide; happiness doubles. First and foremost, I’d like to extend the warmest welcome to all of you for attending today’s reception, and my best wishes to all Chinese compatriots, enterprises personnel, agricultural experts, teachers and overseas students in Fiji!

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

When I was a middle school student, I knew Fiji is a beautiful country, with charming scenery, friendly people and splendid culture. Then time flies. I have been serving as the Chinese Ambassador to Fiji for 8 months. Today, I wish to share my reflections with you all.

In the past 8 months, most of my time has been devoted to promoting mutual understanding between the people of China and Fiji.

Since my arrival, I have visited cities and villages, and made friends from all walks of life. I am impressed by the magic power of Kava, for I fell into a deep sleep after tasting it for the first time. I came to understand why Fiji is called "South Pacific Pearl", when I went to the outer island and saw the shadows of coconut trees on the white sand. I was blown away by the hospitality of Fijian people, when I received the traditional welcoming ceremony. As more and more Chinese tourists are coming to Fiji, I believe they will share my experiences.

At the same time, the Fijian people are getting more interested in learning China. So far this year, Fijian Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Parliament, government officials, entrepreneurs, youth and students have traveled to China for visit, training, business or study. They came back and told me that their trip to China had changed their previous perception of China. I think this precisely proves the old saying——Seeing is believing.

--In China, you will witness its remarkable development achievements. More than 30 years ago, when I was studying in Beijing, I had to queue up all night to buy a train ticket home. Nowadays, China has built the world's largest high-speed railway network of over 40,000 kilometers, and I can easily buy a railway ticket through my mobile app. The journey home has been shortened from 12 hours to only 4 hours. In the past 74 years, China has grown from poverty to the world's second largest economy, built the world's most complete and largest industrial system. China has become the principal trade partner of over 140 countries and regions, and its annual contribution to the world economy exceeded 30%.

--In China, you will experience ubiquitous technology innovation. Mobile payment, like chopsticks, has become a new label of Chinese lifestyle. With a mobile phone, you can address almost all of your daily needs, due to China's continuous promotion of technological innovation. China has the world's largest 5G network, a complete space station, self-developed large passenger jet C919, and electric vehicle technology leading the world. These scientific and technological achievements are also benefiting the whole world.

--In China, you will see the smiling faces of the people. When I was a child, having enough food was a dream for people in poor areas, getting kids access to education was a dream for families with many siblings, receiving treatment in hospital was a dream for people suffering serious disease. But now, China has historically eradicated absolute poverty and built a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Regardless of the location, villages have been lifted out of poverty one after another. China has built the world's largest education system, social security system and healthcare system, which has supported the happy lives of 1.4 billion Chinese people.

--In China, you will tell the reason that China's success attributes to the development path that we chose. We called it the path to Chinese modernization, which is the modernization of a huge population, of peaceful development, and of harmony between humanity and nature.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

In the past 8 months, what impressed me most is that China and Fiji share many similar pursuits.

--We are both committed to a world of common prosperity.

The pursuit of a happy life is the common aspiration of people all over the world. The Fijian Government is leading to boost the economy and improve people’s livelihood, towards the goal of "building a better, more prosperous and happier nation". China is striving to achieve high-quality development on the basis of the achievements of poverty alleviation.

Nowadays, the development gap between the North and the South keeps widening, and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is encountering difficulties. In this context, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative, advocating that we need to build international consensus on promoting development, and jointly foster new drivers for achieving stronger, greener and healthier global development. We firmly believe that no country or individual should be left behind, only when people all over the world live better can prosperity be sustained.

--We are both committed to a world of universal security.

A few months ago, I visited Fiji's Momi battery, which reminded me of that tragic era of war. History taught us that without peace and stability, there would be no way for development. 

At present, the world is facing significant instability and uncertainty. There has been a resurgence of unilateralism, hegemony and power politics. Non-traditional security threats such as climate change, food security, and terrorism continue to spread. Faced with these security challenges, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative, promoting the establishment of a balanced, effective, and durable global and regional security architecture, which provides a solution for eliminating the world's security deficit and solving security challenges.

China and Fiji are both important forces in maintaining world peace. We are both important contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. Both are committed to addressing the challenges posed by climate change. China has provided supplies, financial and talent support for the Pacific Island countries, making contributions to enhancing the Pacific Island countries' capacity and resilience to address climate change. We both believe that the Pacific region should be a promising land for peace and development, instead of a boxing ring for major power rivalry.

--We are both committed to an open and inclusive world.

There are more than 200 countries and regions, over 2,500 ethnic groups in the world. Different histories and national conditions, as well as various ethnic groups and customs breed diverse civilizations, making the world much more colorful. 

In recent years, there are claims that certain civilizations are superior to others and the clash of civilizations is inevitable. President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Civilization Initiative, advocating that we should respect the diversity of civilizations, refrain from imposing own values or models on others, stop stoking ideological confrontation. We live in the same global village and all countries should respect each other. We firmly believe that one will not be seen in a more favourable light after blowing out others’ lamp; nor will they go farther by blocking others’ paths.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

In the past 8 months, my strongest confidence lies in the bright future of China-Fiji relations.

--My confidence stems from the long-standing friendship between China and Fiji. More than 160 years ago, our ancestors traveled across the ocean and came to Fiji for a living, and became an important part of Fiji's multi-ethnic family over time. 48 years ago, China and Fiji formed diplomatic ties on the basis of the one-China principle, making Fiji the first Pacific Island country to develop diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

--My confidence stems from the leaders’ dedication of both sides. As early as the 1990s, Prime Minister Rabuka proposed the foreign policy of "Looking North", and paid an official visit to China, which has brought China-Fiji relations into the fast lane. Correspondingly, President Xi Jinping has visited Fiji twice. Now, China and Fiji has established a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development. 

--My confidence also stems from the fact that both countries and peoples sincerely help each other. Facing the challenges of cyclones, earthquakes and pandemic, Chinese and Fijian people always share weal and woe, and support each other. Over the years, roads and bridges built with China’s assistance have connected cities and villages in Fiji. Rice and Juncao cultivation technologies introduced from China have lifted many Fijian families out of poverty. The Chinese Government Scholarship has fulfilled the university dreams of many Fijian youths. And the solar lightening facilities donated by China have lit up many remote villages in Fiji.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

From the end of last year, Fiji and China successively elected new governments. The China-Fiji relations stand at a new starting point.

--Looking ahead, China and Fiji will continue to be good friends with mutual respect. We appreciate that Hon. Prime Minister Rabuka has reiterated that the Fijian government adheres to the one-China principle. We are confident that China must and will be reunified.  

--Looking ahead, China and Fiji will continue to be good partners for common development. China will align the Belt and Road Initiative with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, and promote fruitful cooperation under the Global Development Initiative. We will encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Fiji, carry out cooperation in areas like green infrastructure, digital economy, clean energy and low-carbon technology, and expand imports of high-quality products from Fiji, so as to support Fiji’s endeavors to achieve sustainable development.

--Looking ahead, China and Fiji will continue to be good brothers with shared stances. As both developing and Asia-Pacific countries, China will work with Fiji to practice true multilateralism, firmly uphold the international system with the UN at its core, and resolutely resist all attempts to stoke a "new cold war". We will join hands to combat climate change, protect the blue ocean and safeguard our common homeland.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Many Fijian friends told me that if you want to understand Fiji, you must watch a rugby game. Then I took the advice and watched a rugby game. I was deeply impressed by the Team Fiji’s unity, courage and wisdom. I believe these virtues also apply to China-Fiji relations. Let us be each other’s back, promote cooperation with unity, overcome difficulties with courage, and create miracles with wisdom, so as to build a better future for China-Fiji relations.

Now, please join me in a toast:

To the prosperity of my country People's Republic of China !

To the friendship between China and Fiji!

To the happiness and good health of all guests!

Most importantly, to a triple crown for Fiji rugby team at next year's Olympics!