Editors Note: The following article was written by His Excellency Zhang Lizhong, the Chinese Ambassador to the Maldives. The article is recorded here as originally written. No changes have been made in phraseology, structure or punctuation.
The once-in-a-century epidemic ravaging through the past year has greatly impacted the world and profoundly changed the lives of all of us. My colleagues and I, like the people of Malé, have experienced an unusual year. We have not only witnessed the difficulties the Maldivian government and people have gone through and the great courage and efforts they have made to get out of the woods, but also have made our contribution to the unity of our two countries in fighting the epidemic and resuming our cooperation projects.
Nowadays the world is full of uncertainty and rapid changes. The epidemic is still raging rapidly in many countries, the world economy has fallen into deep recession, and unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. Problems such as climate change, food security, environmental protection and sustainable development are intertwined. We are now standing at the crossroad of choice.
Just a few days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward China's proposals and solutions to the world at the World Economic Forum Virtual Event of the Davos Agenda. In his speech, President Xi Jinping pointed out the four major tasks facing people of our times: to boost global economic growth, to abandon ideological prejudice, to close the north-south development gap, and to work together against global challenges. The way out is to promote global action, global response and global cooperation as well as uphold multilateralism and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Xi Jinping has given a systematic account of what kind of multilateralism the world needs today--staying committed to openness and inclusiveness instead of closeness and exclusion, to international law and international rules instead of seeking one’s own supremacy, to consultation and cooperation instead of conflict and confrontation, and to keeping up with the times instead of rejecting change.
On how China will practice multilateralism, President Xi Jinping has put forward five major measures: China will continue to take an active part in international cooperation on COVID-19, to implement a win-win strategy of opening-up, to promote sustainable development, to advance science, technology and innovation and to promote a new type of international relations.
President Xi's speech has shed light on the direction and path of development for the world at crossroad and has exhibited China's wisdom and responsibility. It will help rebuild global trust, build global consensus, unite global forces and move the world toward a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Xi's speech has been quite relevant to China-Maldives cooperation in responding to challenges. Fighting the epidemic, restoring the stable and smooth industrial and supply chains, normalizing people’s movement and addressing issues like climate change, food security, environmental protection and sustainable development are challenges to both China and Maldives, to which multilateralism is the key.
Both China and Maldives are developing countries and firm supporters of multilateralism. The traditional friendship and mutual support between China and Maldives set a good example for countries, big or small, to treat each other as equals and cooperate with mutual benefits. The two countries can do more and better to address common challenges and enhance bilateral cooperation.
We shall commit ourselves to deepening anti-pandemic cooperation through vaccine cooperation as well as enhancing non-traditional security cooperation such as poverty alleviation, food security and public health.
We shall commit ourselves to the alignment of the cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative with the diversified development strategy by the Maldivian government. We should facilitate the completion of projects under construction as scheduled so as to help boost the economic recovery of Maldives. We also need to maintain cooperation on the further implementation of the "G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative".
We shall commit ourselves to expanding cooperation into new fields such as culture, youth, education, health care, agriculture and the ocean.
We shall commit ourselves to carrying forward the tradition of mutual support on multilateral occasions by strengthening our coordination in multilateral areas.