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Keynote Speech by Ambassador Gui Congyou at "China Day"--ISDP Forum: China-Europe Relations
2018/11/09

(Stockholm, 8 November, 2018)

Distinguished ISDP senior fellow Lars Vargö,

Distinguished experts and scholars,

Good afternoon!

I know everyone here wants to know where China-Sweden relations are heading. To answer that question, we need to know where China and Sweden are heading. And to know the direction China is taking, one must understand the direction of its reform and opening-up.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up in China. Reform and opening-up, a journey that was started 40 years ago, transformed China from a country shackled by rigid planned economy to a vibrant socialist market economy, and from a closed economy and society to one increasingly interconnected with the world. All Chinese people benefit from reform and opening-up, as no one will live under the poverty line and all will lead a good life. Global economy benefits from China's reform and opening-up as China's economic growth contributes over 30% to global growth. Countries around the world benefit from China's reform and opening-up because China generates tremendous development opportunities and dividends as it is set to become the world's largest consumption market.

China's reform and opening-up also contributes to world peace and security. The fact that China maintains social and political stability and is delivering a better life to nearly 1.4 billion people undoubtedly generates strong impetus to keep the momentum of global and regional security and stability. Some people speculate that China's development threatens other countries, to which I would like to stress that it is not in the DNA of the Chinese nation to threaten and invade other countries. In the 5000 years of Chinese history, China has never waged a war of conquest against other countries. As a nation that endured over a hundred years of colonial invasion and enslavement by Western powers, we know too well the pain of being occupied and enslaved. As Chinese people often say, "do not do to others what you would not have them do to you." In the vocabulary of China's foreign policies, words like "invading other countries" and "seeking hegemony" have no place.

There are also people saying that China is more assertive, which is a serious misunderstanding and misinterpretation of China's foreign policies. Over a hundred years of colonial invasion and occupation of China led to the fact that China is still yet to realize complete national reunification. Anti-China separatist forces, such as "Taiwan independence", "Tibet independence", "East Turkestan" as well as "Hong Kong independence", are doing everything to sabotage and hinder the reunification of China. What we must do in response is to firmly uphold national unity and advance the process of national reunification. In other words, we will not let any country, any force, any organization or any individual take away any inch of China's rightful territory. What we are doing is opposing others to break into our house and rob our things rather than barge into others' house and rob their things.

Sweden is the first Western country to establish diplomatic ties with China. As a major Nordic country and an important member of the EU, Sweden leads the world in innovative, green and sustainable development. Just like China, Sweden is committed to upholding world peace and security, and resolving disputes through political and diplomatic means. These factors set up the foundation and favorable conditions for long-term and steady growth of China-Sweden relations. With high importance attached to its relations with Sweden, China is willing to strengthen dialogue, communication and cooperation in all areas, and work with Sweden to make contributions to world peace, development and security .

Admittedly, our two countries are different in our political systems and ideologies. But it is exactly these differences that make dialogue, exchanges and cooperation more necessary. Because we are different, we need to improve together by learning from each other. However, we oppose exaggerating or politicizing these differences and turning them into obstacles of our relations, rather we hope to work together to turn these differences into highlights and propellers of our relations. To make this happen, we need to treat each other as equals, respect each other, refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs and work together for shared benefits.

Dear Friends,

The 19th CPC National Congress that was successfully convened last October established the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and set the goal to build China into a great modern socialist country by the middle of this century. To achieve the goal, China will deepen reform across the board, open up wider to all countries and regions of the world, and carry forward with reform and opening-up with utmost resolve and confidence. The first China International Import Expo that is being held represents a major initiative and effort reaffirming China's determination to open up wider. Like I said at the beginning, China's reform and opening-up benefits the whole world, and deepened reform and opening-up will only benefit the world even more. We are committed to improving socialist democracy and rule of law, upholding and improving human rights and delivering a better life to all Chinese people. These efforts will bring about greater social and political stability and economic prosperity. But no matter how much progress China makes in its development, even when China's GDP per capita reaches the level of Sweden at USD 50,000, China will still stick to a peaceful development path and its peaceful foreign policy, remain committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind rather than interfere in other countries' domestic affairs, invade other countries or seek world dominance. If thousands of years of human history tell us one thing, that is any empire that invades, enslaves or occupies other countries will eventually fail and crumble. That is what all of us need to learn and more importantly heed from history.

The Chinese side attaches high importance to developing China-EU relations. In terms of how to further develop China-EU relations, I prefer to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Thank you.

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