Qatar and China have been "forging ahead with dedication and hard work", said Chinese ambassador Zhou Jian during a virtual reception held to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
It was attended by a number of dignitaries, including HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry and Acting Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari and ambassador Ibrahim Yousif Abdullah Fakhro, the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Protocol Department.
Welcoming the dignitaries, the Chinese ambassador said: "The year 2021 is destined to be a year of special significance in the history of China and Qatar.”
“The Communist Party of China (CPC) has celebrated its 100th anniversary, while Qatar has seen fruits and harvests since its independence 50 years ago,” he said. “From the past to the present, and looking to the future, there are two phrases that could best summarise the development of China and Qatar – 'inherit spirits' and 'pursue dreams'.”
“On the journey towards the dreams of rejuvenation, China and Qatar, with our national spirits, have been forging ahead with dedication and hard work,” the envoy added.
"This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the past 100 years of unremitting efforts for strength, China, a once poverty-stricken country, now emerges as the second largest economy in the world,” he said
“Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, China has always been striving to maintain world peace, promote global growth, uphold international order, and provide the world with global public goods,” the diplomat continued. “We have become the second largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and with the largest peacekeeping troops among P5, and have contributed 30% to the world economy in the past decade.”
P5 refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Britain, France, China and Russia.
“This year, China is leading the world's largest coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine co-operation, providing more than 1bn doses of vaccines to more than 100 countries and international organisations,” the ambassador said. “We have played an active role in resolving hotspot issues, including Afghanistan, Palestine and the Iranian nuclear issue, contributing Chinese wisdom and solutions to building a world of lasting peace and universal security.”
“We have been promoting high-quality Belt and Road development, bringing new opportunities for the world,” he added.
The envoy noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Qatar's independence.
"Over the past 50 years, under the leadership of past and present Amirs, Qatar has upheld the faiths of hard-working, openness and diversification, defended national sovereignty and stability, developed a diversified economy, expanded opening to the global market, and actively carried out a strong foreign policy despite a small state in respect of land,” the ambassador said.
“Through these efforts, Qatar has turned from a small fishing village into a leading power and an oasis of safety and development,” he continued. “This year, Qatar continues to make great strides towards National Vision 2030.”
“We can see the steady progress in the Shura Council election, the success in pandemic control and vaccination, as well as robust economic recovery and smooth preparations for the 2022 World Cup,” the ambassador added. “Qatar’s diplomacy, especially its efforts in hotspot issues such as Afghanistan, has also been widely recognised.”
“What impressed me most is Qatar's success in the Tokyo Olympic Games, where we have seen the first-ever gold medal in Qatar’s history, with overall medals topping the Arab world,” the envoy remarked. “In particular, Qatar’s high jumper Barshim shared the gold medal with his Italian competitor, which perfectly illustrated the Olympic spirit of 'Faster, Higher, Stronger and Together'."
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and Qatar, he said.
"Over the past 33 years, China and Qatar have followed the original aspiration of equal friendship and win-win co-operation,” the Chinese ambassador said. “We have supported each other on issues of core interests, helped each other in exploring respective development paths, gained mutual understanding through exchange and mutual learning among civilisations, and stood together through weal and woe in the fight against the pandemic.”
"This year, China-Qatar relations have maintained a sound momentum of greater development,” he added. “Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau and director of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, paid a successful visit to Qatar, raising our political mutual trust between to a new level.
Trade volume between China and Qatar has seen rapid growth: China remains Qatar's largest trading partner.
“Our two sides have signed a LNG long-term agreement of 2mn tonnes per year for 10 years,” the envoy pointed out. “Chinese electric buses will roll into the 2022 World Cup, and our pragmatic co-operation has made new achievements.
“China and Qatar have joined hands to support international co-operation against the pandemic, and worked for the political settlement of hotspot issues such as Afghanistan, Palestine and the Iranian nuclear issue, making new progress in multilateral co-ordination."
"Standing at a new historical starting point, the peoples of China and Qatar are closer than ever to the great dreams of national rejuvenation,” the envoy said. “I believe that as long as we have the spirit, the confidence and the strength to pursue our dreams, we will make our dreams come true and achieve greater success."
The year 2022 is a crucial year for China and Qatar, the ambassador observed.
China will host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, and Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup.
These two major events will give strong support to China’s Vision 2035 and Qatar’s National Vision 2030, bringing strong driving force to new progress in China-Qatar relations.
"We should take this opportunity to jointly realise our common dreams of national rejuvenation and move toward a bright future of common development,” the ambassador said. “In the pursuit of dreams, China and Qatar should uphold the flame of unity.”
“Next February, the winter-time Beijing will once again light up the Olympic flame, becoming the first city in history to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics,” he said. “With the precondition of safety from pandemic, China will follow the principles of 'green, inclusive, open and clean' and host a simple, safe and wonderful Winter Olympics.”
“China welcomes Qatar's participation in Beijing," he added. "Next November, the 2022 World Cup will make its debut in the Arab world. We are ready to work with Qatar to turn the two sports events into grand gatherings of peace, friendship and solidarity."
China and Qatar could build a strong defence against Covid-19, he stressed.
"As the pandemic continues to rage around the world, co-operation is the right way forward ... China welcomes Qatar's participation in the Belt and Road Vaccine Partnership initiative and stands ready to work with Qatar to promote fair and reasonable distribution of vaccines around the world."
China and Qatar will also embark on the road of green development.
"Clear waters and green mountains are invaluable treasures. This is the common aspiration of the peoples of China and Qatar... we are ready to work with Qatar to strengthen co-operation in green infrastructure, green energy and green finance, build more eco-friendly projects and enhance our partnership in green development,” Zhou said. “We need to actively respond to climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, improve global environmental governance, and jointly build a community of life together for man and nature."
He also said that China and Qatar should uphold the value of peace.
"China highly appreciates Qatar’s unique role in the ceasefire and violence reduction between Palestine and Israel, in promoting the de-escalation of the Gulf region and in the mediation efforts on Afghanistan issues,” the envoy said. “We are ready to work with Qatar to find the key to peace and explore the path of development, so as to make greater contribution to regional and world peace and development."
At the intersection of 100 and 50 years of history, the "Chinese dragon and Qatari antelope are marching ahead", he said.
"I am confident that China and Qatar will continue to inherit the spirit of unity, strength and friendship from generation to generation,” Zhou said. “We will join hands to pursue dreams for ourselves and for each other, and serve the dreams for all mankind towards a brighter future."