Mogadishu(SONNA) Recently, Chinese Ambassador Qin Jian to Somalia interviewed by the Somali National Television, answered the questions on fruitful results achieved by the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Somalia. The interview is as follows:
1, On December 14th, 1960, Somalia was the first country in East Africa to establish diplomatic relations with China. Historically, the relationship between the two countries can be traced back to more than 600 years ago. H.E. Ambassador, please tell us about that history.
As a Chinese poem says, “Good friends feel close to each other even when they are separated by vast distance”. China and Somalia enjoy a long friendship.Although China and Somalia are far apart geographically, friendly exchanges between the two peoples can be traced back 600 years ago to when Zheng He, a famous Chinese navigator, visited Somalia many times. Since then, the two peoples have been closely linked by the Maritime Silk Road.
Mogadishu was already a famous commercial city at that time. China named it “ Zheng He with his Chinese commercial fleet brought tea, as well as the friendship of the Chinese people to Somalia, brought back spices from Somalia, and more importantly, the friendship of the Somali people towards the Chinese people.
Since then, through the Maritime Silk Road, the two peoples began to have friendly exchanges. With close commercial exchanges and continuous cultural exchanges, a bridge of friendship has been built between the people of China and Somalia, which has closely linked the two peoples. The friendship between the two countries has spanned the Maritime Silk Road, times and century, and has been passed down from generation to generation.
2, This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Somalia and China, how do you evaluate the development of bilateral relations?
On July 1st, 1960, Somalia declared its independence. Five months later, the Chinese government recognized the political independence of Somalia. China and Somalia established the diplomatic relations, which opens a new chapter in the history of bilateral relations.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the friendly cooperation between the two countries in various fields has been achieved fruitful results. China attaches great importance to developing relations with Somalia and regards Somalia as a sincere, friendly and cooperative partner, a trustworthy good friend and good brother.
Politically, the two countries have very close exchanged. In 1964, the beloved Premier Zhou Enlai visited Somalia, and Somali leaders visited China. In 1971, brotherly Somalia firmly supported China's restoration of its legitimate seat in the UN. Since 1991, China has actively supported the peace, reconstruction and development in Somalia through the bilateral and multilateral fields, has spoken up for Somalia in the UN Security Council, safeguarded its interests and promoted an early solving of the Somali issue.
In recent years, high-level exchanges between the two countries have developed further. H.E. Mahmoud and H.E. Mohamed of Presidents of Somalia attended the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation(FOCAC). H.E. Xi Jinping, President of China met with the two leaders of Somalia respectively to jointly plan the blueprint for the development of bilateral relations.
China firmly supports the political independence of Somalia, respects Somalia national sovereignty and territorial integrity, does not interfere in the internal affairs of Somalia, adheres to the principle of “Somali ownership, Somali leadership”, and promotes an early solving of the Somali issue. Somalia has long adhered to the one China principle.
Economically, in the last century, China helped Somalia build more than 80 projects, covering infrastructure, livelihood projects, health care, education, sports, agriculture, such as road, reservoir, stadium, theatre, Benadir hospital, Hargeisa water supply project, and the building of the National University of Somalia. These promote the economic and social development in Somalia and fully demonstrate the brotherhood of the two countries.
In the field of medical and health care, from 1960 to 1991, the Chinese government sent 13 batches of medical teams to Somalia, with a total of 397 medical personnel. They treated thousands of Somali people, leaving the good stories that are still celebrating by the Somali people. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 this year, China has taken active actions from the government to the people to support Somalia in its fight against the epidemic. The Chinese people have won the major strategic achievements in fight COVID-19 under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core. President Mohamed wrote to President Xi Jinping at the critical moment of the Chinese people's fighting epidemic, to express the Somalia's solidarity with the China, Somalia supports China.
In the field of education, the Chinese government has always provided the full government scholarships to Somalia to help train talents for the Somali national construction. In recent years, the Chinese government has provided scholarships to Somalia every year. The Chinese government has provided the best universities in China to the Somali young students. There are more than 1300 Somali students studied in China. They have become a bridge and link for spreading friendship, enhancing understanding among the people and deepening friendship. The Chinese government also provides long-term and short-term training to help Somalia develop its human resources.
In the area of peace and security, since 2008, China has sent 36 convoys to the waters of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, escorting more than 7000 ships, effectively maintaining regional peace. In October 2014, the Chinese Embassy in Somalia was officially restored, reflecting China's firm support for the peaceful reconstruction of Somalia. In July 2015, the hotel where the Chinese Embassy in Somalia was attacked, causing casualties to the embassy. However, China overcame the difficulties and resolutely continued to stay in Somalia, demonstrating the brotherhood of China and Somalia at a trying moment.
In recent years, remarkable achievements have been made in the peaceful development of Somalia. China sincerely wishes the government and people of Somalia more achievements in the pursuit of lasting peace and development.
3, Could you tell us, during 1960 to 1991, China implemented more than 80 historical cooperation projects in Somalia. What are the more familiar ones than those in Mogadishu?
The friendship between China and Somalia is deeply rooted in people hearts.
In addition to the well-known Somali National Stadium, which was the largest stadium in East Africa at that time, and landmark buildings such as the National Grand Theatre and Benadir Hospital, there are also the water supply project, airport road, canal, bridge, reservoir, factories and so on in Hargeisa, Bosaso, Galkayo, Beledweyne, WanlaWeyne, Baidoa, Jowhar, Jilib and Mogadishu, throughout the states and regions in Somalia. The Chinese government has provided food aid, humanitarian aid, developing aid, cash aid, and so on.
These projects and aid is involved people eating, drinking, living, health, food, education, people's livelihood projects, . This is very important to Somalia development, fully embodies the Chinese government has always centered the people first, put the people security and health first.
4, In the past decade, there have been clear signs of recovery and progress in Somalia, as we have seen the peace coming. What is China's contribution to this latest development?
Over the past decade, Somalia has made great progress in its peace and development, the result of the joint efforts of the Somali people under the leadership of the Somali Government.
China upholds the principle of “Somali Ownership, Somali Leadership”, actively supports peace and development in the bilateral and multilateral fields. China sincerely wishes Somalia more achievements in pursuit of lasting peace, reconstruction and development.
5、Historically, Somalia was the entry point of the Maritime Silk Road into Africa and was once an important trade center between Africa and Asia. In 2018, Somalia signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the Belt and Road cooperation. Do you think Somalia will become a new center of China-Africa trade cooperation and how to promote it?
Somalia is an important partner in building the Belt and Road. Somalia has great development potential. Somalia has its longest coastline of more than 3,000 kilometers on the African continent. Somalia has rich in natural resources, with great potential for the development of blue economy, solar energy and wind energy, and unlimited business opportunities. Somalia has a number of natural ports. Somalia is a natural tourist destination with world-class beaches. Somalia is known as the “camel kingdom”, Mogadishu is known as the “White Pearl on the Indian Ocean”.
Especially, Somali people are wisdom, hardworking and brave, and have created their own language, culture in the long history. These advantages of Somalia are fully becoming a new center of China-Africa trade cooperation, a new gateway for regional economic development and a new highlight of world economic development.
The Belt and Road Initiative first put forward by President Xi Jinping in the autumn of 2013. It aims to promote common development through international cooperation and bring the benefits of development to people of all countries. The Belt and Road initiative is a major international public goods benefiting all countries.
The Belt and Road initiative rooted in the Silk Road spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, follows the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
In the current situation of rising protectionism, unilateralism and inverse globalization, pandemic of COVID-19, the Belt and Road Initiative will vigorously promote world economic recovery and national economic development, the benefit of the people all over the world.
After 70 years of arduous efforts, China has developed the world's second largest economy. However, China is still the largest developing country in the world, faces arduous tasks of development.
The recently concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted recommendations for formulating China's 14th five-year plan. The plenum underscored that China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embark on a new journey next year toward fully building a modern socialist country. We will stay committed to the new development philosophy, and actively foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other.
The Government of Somalia has formulated its Ninth National Development Plan with many specific targets. It is hoped that both sides will strengthen cooperation. China is ready to share its development experience with Somalia and help Somalia develop independent industries, increase jobs and improve people's livelihood. China actively encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Somalia. With the joint efforts of both sides, China-Somalia cooperation will share vast prospects and will surely benefit the two peoples.
6, Over the past 20 years, under the framework of the FOCAC, China has implemented infrastructure and development projects in Africa. Somalia has always been one of the founding members of the FOCAC. How to carry out friendly cooperation between the two countries under the framework of the forum?
Somalia is an important member of the FOCAC, and a member of the family of China and Africa. In recent years, remarkable achievements have been made in peaceful development in Somalia. China will strengthen cooperation with Somalia within the framework of the FOCAC, jointly explore areas of bilateral cooperation, and actively promote practical cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the FOCAC. Not long ago, at the Reception Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the FOCAC, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi summed up the brilliant achievements of the FOCAC in the past 20 years.
Over the past 20 years, China and Africa friendly cooperation has achieved fruitful results. Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has contributed to cooperation with Africa, a champion of multilateralism, and mutually beneficial cooperation.
We have stood together in upholding the banner of multilateralism, fairness and justice, we have elevated the international standing and influence of developing countries and safeguarded the overall interests of the developing world.
Looking forward to the future, we need to strengthen solidarity and build a stronger community with a shared future, we need to tide over the current challenge together and build a China-Africa community of health for all, we need to pursue win-win cooperation to build a China-Africa community of development for all.
We need to embrace our responsibilities and work toward a community with a shared future for mankind, firmly safeguard the UN's central role in international and multilateral affairs, defend basic norms governing international relations, and uphold multilateralism, fairness and justice.
We must work in concert in addressing global challenges and participating in global governance.
we will bring about a more equitable and reasonable international order and an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
7, Despite its abundant natural and human resources, Somalia currently needs the assistance of the international community. How can China help realize the development potential of Somalia?
China and Somalia have always been good friends, good partners and good brothers. We have been help each other and support each other. Somalia indeed has rich natural and human resources, and great development potential. How to translate the potential into economic development achievements, I think we should set the breakthrough points of economic development and cultivate the ability of independent development.
Somalia is famous for its long coastline and abundant fishery resources. Somalia can actively develop fisheries, create foreign exchange, improve fiscal revenue, invest in infrastructure construction and improve people's livelihood.
China is willing to strengthen cooperation with Somalia in fishery field, help Somalia carry out capacity training, transfer skills, transfer technology, improve fishery production capacity and expand international market. China provided training in fishing technology in 2018, after COVID-19, China will continue to carry out its work in this area, and train more experts and technicians in the field of fisheries.
8, Somalia is considered one of the most attractive destinations for FDI in the world. Are Chinese investors interested in the Somali market? What are their current activities? What do Chinese investors care about most in the future?
Somalia is a country with potential, and it still needs to be further developed. The Chinese government actively encourages Chinese enterprises to invest and carry out commercial activities in Somalia. Chinese investors have always been interested in the Somali market. Some Chinese companies and businessmen have visited Somalia, and invested and built factories in relevant states of Somalia. They have carried out some project cooperation and achieved good results.
There is still a vast space for economic and trade cooperation between China and Somalia, the two sides should further expand trade exchanges. We also believe that with the progress of peace and reconstruction in Somalia, more and more Chinese enterprises will go to Somalia to do business.
9、Ambassador, you have been China’s envoy to Somalia for more than three years now, looking back at these past three years, what do you consider your greatest achievement and where would you like to see relations between the people of Somalia and China in the near future?
Somalia is my second home country. I am deeply honored to be Ambassador to Somalia, and have followed the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests proposed by President Xi Jinping, with the support and help of all friends in Somalia, I have made my best to enhance China-Somalia friendly relations and cooperation and spread friendship, enhance feelings among the people and deepen friendship between the two countries.
During my days and nights in Somalia, my greatest feeling is that the people of China and Somalia have pure and friendly feelings towards each other, the greatest gratification is that Somalia is progressing and developing every day, greatest achievement is to get together with the Somali people, witness the peace and development in Somalia during the critical period.
Since 60 years ago, the two countries have always supported each other, cherished sincere feelings, and helped each other. The relations between the two countries have withstood the test of time and the changing international situation, and have become stronger, stronger and stronger for a long time.
Our world is undergoing momentous changes unseen in a century, and the international situation is undergoing major changes. That major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics aims to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China opposes protectionism and unilateralism.
At present, COVID-19 is still spreading in the world. With President Xi Jinping has personally instructed and directed, China has secured major strategic achievements in coordinating COVID-19 response and economic and social development.
The epidemic fully shows that viruses know no borders and do not distinguish between races, humanity is a community with a shared future with living on the same planet. Solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapons for the international community to defeat COVID-19. China opposes politicizing the epidemic, labeling the virus and stigmatizing the country. China has made great efforts to fight the epidemic. While fighting the epidemic, China has overcome difficulties and actively provided strong support and assistance to the international community, highlighting China's image and responsibility as a responsible major country.
Looking back on history, the friendship between China and Somalia has a long history. Looking forward to the future, the friendship between the two countries will last forever. Somalia will become better and better. Somalia will shine in the horn of Africa. Taking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as an opportunity to write a new chapter of friendship and cooperation!
May the friendship between China and Somalia last forever!
Wish the two peoples friendship for generations!