Ambassador Sun Weidong Attends the Opening Ceremony of the 7th CPIFA-ICWA Dialogue
2021-04-16 20:53

  On April 15, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong attended the opening ceremony of the 7th CPIFA-ICWA Dialogue co-hosted by Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) and Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on invitation and delivered remarks. H.E. Mr. Wang Chao, President of CPIFA, H.E. Mrs. Ou Boqian, Vice President of CPIFA, H.E. Mr. T. C. A. Raghavan, Director-General of ICWA and H.E. Mr. Vikram Misri, Indian Ambassador to China were present. The following is the full transcript of Ambassador Sun's remarks.


Your Excellency President Wang Chao, CPIFA,

Your Excellency Director-General T. C. A. Raghavan, ICWA,

Your Excellency Ambassador Vikram Misri,

Your Excellency Vice President Ou Boqian, CPIFA,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,

  I am very honored to attend the online opening ceremony of the 7th CPIFA-ICWA Dialogue and I'm so pleased to see lot of familiar faces. Many of you are my colleagues and friends. I would like to thank CPIFA and ICWA for all the hard work you have done to organize this event. At the crucial stage of China-India relations, we gathered here online to discuss ways to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between China and India, advance developmental agenda of common interests and jointly address challenges of the changing international landscape in post-COVID era. I think it's relevant in terms of timing and content. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my observations:

  First, China and India should correctly view each other and accurately grasp the characterization of our bilateral relationship. Earlier this year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out at a press conference during China's "two sessions" that the China-India relationship is essentially about how the world's two largest developing countries get along and pursue development and rejuvenation together. Personally, I believe his statement well inspired us on two important questions: Who are we? What should we do?

  Who are we? China and India are the only two major developing countries in the world with a population of more than one billion. We are major emerging economies with broad prospects for development and ancient civilizations in Asia living side by side for thousands of years. These similarities have defined that China and India are partners rather than rivals, and development opportunities rather than threats to each other. Our two leaders have reached strategic consensus on this, and given guidance for the development of bilateral relations.

  What should we do? China and India should unswervingly stick to the consensus reached by the two leaders, complement each other instead of undercutting each other, and intensify cooperation instead of harboring suspicion at each other. We need to correctly understand and view each other to avoid any strategic miscalculation. We should enhance mutual trust through dialogue, and implement consensus through actions to bring China-India relations back on the right track of sound and steady development.

  Second, China and India need to promote cooperation and exchanges to lay a solid foundation for friendship. Major countries like China and India must rely on itself for development and find a path suited to its own national conditions. However, it does not mean pursuing a "closed-door" development. We should embrace openness and inclusiveness. The economies of China and India are highly complementary and the essence of bilateral cooperation is mutually beneficial. We hope that India could provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies, instead of "erecting walls" or pursuing "decoupling".

  We should uphold the spirit of mutual respect and equal treatment and conduct more exchanges and communication. China looks forward to increasing exchanges and dialogues between political parties, think tanks and local governments, and doing so in areas of culture, education and youth. We should build bridges for exchanges between the two peoples and inject more impetus into the bilateral relations. I hope that scholars of our two countries will put forward positive and constructive suggestions for the development of China-India relations, bearing in mind the bigger picture and long-term perspectives, help guide the media and public opinion from both sides to adopt a rational and objective view at each other, as well as the bilateral relations, and enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples.

  Third, China and India should properly handle differences and safeguard peace in the border areas. The boundary question between China and India is left over from history. The two sides agreed to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through dialogue and consultation. Pending the final settlement, the two sides should jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.

  The border incident happened last year between China and India was something that neither side would like to see. As the Chinese side has repeatedly emphasized, the rights and wrongs of the incident are very clear. China has been committed to resolving the issue and easing the situation through dialogue and consultation. The two sides have maintained communication through diplomatic and military channels. The frontline troops of the two countries have disengaged in the Bangong Lake area. Going forward, the two sides should implement the consensus reached by the two leaders, strictly abide by a series of agreements reached between the two sides, strengthen dialogue and communication, improve the management and control mechanism, sustain the current momentum of de-escalation, and avoid relapse of the situation on the ground.

  What happened over the past few decades has proven once and again that highlighting differences will not help resolve problems. Rather, it will erode the foundation of mutual trust. The boundary dispute is a reality and should be given sufficient attention and taken seriously. However, the boundary question is not the whole story of China-India relations and should be put at a proper place in the overall bilateral relations. The two sides should engage in dialogue on an equal footing, manage differences and find solutions through consultation. We should not allow differences to become disputes.

  Fourth, China and India should strengthen international cooperation and uphold multilateralism. The unprecedented pandemic has accelerated the profound changes unseen in a century. Humanity is a community with a shared future. We must work together to address global challenges. China and India need to practice true multilateralism, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and an international order based on international law. We should adhere to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respect each other's social system and development path, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and respect each other's legitimate rights to development. We should never interfere in each other's internal affairs. It is imperative to uphold independence, oppose hegemonism and power politics in any form, and reject zero-sum game and the Cold War mentality. We need to work together to build a big community of "universal peace", and reject "small circles" of closeness and exclusion targeting other countries.

  As two major developing countries, China and India share common interests and similar positions in multilateral affairs. The two sides should strengthen policy coordination in the United Nations, G20, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China-India-Russia cooperation and other multilateral institutions, and play an active role in pandemic prevention and control, development and poverty reduction, energy security, climate change, environmental protection, food security and other major issues. We should jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and work to build a more fair, democratic and reasonable multi-polar international order.

  Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

  This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and also the first year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan. We are embarking on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist China. President Xi Jinping pointed out that, "all we do is to pursue happiness for the people, rejuvenation for the nation, and for the common good of the world". Peace and development remain the themes of our times. China will unswervingly pursue the path of peaceful development. Together, China and India account for one third of the world's population. Our relations go beyond the bilateral scope and have global and strategic significance. At the current stage, China and India need to strengthen cooperation in fighting the pandemic, reviving the economy and improving people's livelihood. To live in peace, pursue common development, concentrate on running our own affairs well and deliver a better life to our two peoples will be our due contribution to the "universal peace". China and India should follow the trend of the times, live up to the expectations of our two peoples and work together towards a path of mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

  This year is the Year of the Ox in the Chinese lunar calendar. The ox symbolizes diligence and hard work. The spirit of the ox is widely revered in both Chinese and Indian cultures. We are having this dialogue in the middle of spring, the season that means hope and vitality. I hope a free exchange at this dialogue will help reduce misunderstanding, enhance understanding and arrive at more understandings. I look forward to your suggestions on exploring the future of China-India cooperation and your wisdom on revitalizing our two ancient civilizations in the new century.

  May I wish this dialogue a full success!

  Thank you.

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