Zhou Jian/Ambassador of China
Recalling President Xi Jinping’s speech at the recent World Economic Forum, Chinese ambassador to Qatar Zhou Jian has said only a united front against the coronavirus pandemic can enable to the world to overcome the crisis.
In an interview with Gulf Times, the ambassador quoted President Xi as saying that “countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship on which our shared destiny hinges.”
The detailed interview follows:
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the World Economic Forum 2022 Virtual Session and delivered a speech. How do you view the context of this meeting and the president’s speech?
With changing times combined with a once-in-a-century pandemic, the world today, finds itself in a new period of turbulence and transformation with weak economic recovery, widening development gap and arising cold war mentality. How to defeat the pandemic and build the post-Covid world? These are major questions of common concern to people around the world.
In this context, President Xi Jinping once again stood on the podium of the World Economic Forum in Davos, which is known as the “indicator of world economy”. In response to the challenges of our times, President Xi’s speech “Forge Ahead with Confidence and Fortitude to Create a Better Post-Covid World” has offered distinctive Chinese solutions with confidence and strength, pointing to the way for global development in the post-Covid era. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, spoke highly of President Xi’s speech at the forum, saying that it is an important milestone in promoting global co-operation and outlines the way to a better future for China and the world.
At present, the number of Covid infections has exceeded 300mn worldwide. Confronted by a once-in-a-century pandemic, how do you think the world community could overcome this crisis?
As the pandemic drags on into its third year, people’s health, social lives and world economy are still facing serious threats. Solidarity in the fight against the pandemic has become an urgent and important task for the international community. President Xi Jinping pointed out that amidst the raging torrents of a global crisis, countries are not riding separately in some 190 small boats, but are rather all in a giant ship on which our shared destiny hinges. Small boats may not survive a storm, but a giant ship is strong enough to brave a storm. Strong confidence and co-operation represent the only right way to defeat the pandemic. Countries need to strengthen international co-operation against Covid-19, carry out active co-operation on research and development of medicines, and jointly build multiple lines of defence against the pandemic. Of particular importance is to fully leverage vaccines as a powerful weapon, ensure an equitable distribution, quicken vaccination and close the global immunisation gap to speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all.
In the face of the complex situation, China and Qatar should be pioneers in the fight against pandemic. Qatar is now caught in a third wave by the Omicron variant. Under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir, the Qatari government put people first, swiftly adjusted response measures and accelerated vaccination process, which has yielded positive results. Meanwhile, Qatar has also provided vaccines and medical supplies to more than 80 countries and international organisations. China highly appreciates Qatar’s international responsibility, and we are ready to work with Qatar together to provide more supplies and vaccines to developing countries and regions in need while implementing our own prevention work, respectively. China’s will always be a leading role in international co-operation against Covid-19 and we will make more contribution to equitable vaccine distribution and the building of a community of health for mankind.
While the global community is making all-out efforts in response to the pandemic, unilateralism and protectionism are also on the rise in some countries, adding uncertainties to the fragile recovery of the world economy. What is your view about this?
The pandemic has severely impacted the world economy and global governance, with inflation, debt, energy and supply chain crises intertwined. A more fair, just and rational global governance system is a strong guarantee for the steady recovery of the world economy. President Xi Jinping stressed that countries around the world should uphold true multilateralism, and remove barriers instead of erecting walls, open up instead of closing off, seek integration instead of decoupling, in order to build an open world economy. We should guide the reform of the global governance system in the spirit of fairness and justice, and make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.
In the face of unilateralism, China and Qatar should play leading roles in upholding multilateralism. In recent years, Qatar has continued to open wider to the outside world and is actively committed to promoting common development of all. China stands ready to work together with Qatar to implement true multilateralism, uphold the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its centre, strengthen the synergy of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Qatar’s National Vision 2030, enhance co-ordination in macroeconomic policies, and jointly foster an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment. This could fully release the vitality of our Belt and Road co-operation, bringing more benefit to our two peoples and injecting more stability into world economic recovery.
The global development is currently being severely impacted, and the development gap between the South and North is widening. Problems such as poverty and livelihood are becoming more prominent. What is the key to revitalise global development?
Many of the difficulties and challenges facing the world today are, in the final analysis, issues of development. Development holds the master key to solving all problems and is the key to people’s happiness. President Xi Jinping pointed out that no matter what difficulties may come our way, we must adhere to a people-centred philosophy of development, place development and livelihoods front and centre in global macro-policies and build greater synergy among existing mechanisms of development co-operation to promote balanced development worldwide. President Xi put forward the Global Development Initiative at the UN General Assembly last September, with the aim to form synergy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and boost common development across the world. This initiative has received positive responses from developing countries and UN organisations. China stands ready to work with all partners to jointly turn the initiative into concrete actions and make sure that no country is left behind in this process.
Facing the global development gap, China and Qatar should be joint promoters of common development. As strategic partners, we have always been taking the lead in promoting global development. China highly appreciates Qatar’s active support for the Global Development Initiative, and stands ready to work together for an early implementation of the initiative in Qatar so as to better meet local needs and contribute to National Vision 2030. China is also ready to work with Qatar and other members of the international community to actively implement the initiative, promote synergy between existing development co-operation mechanisms such as the Belt and Road Initiative, deepen global development partnership, jointly steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, co-ordinated and inclusive growth, thus building a global community of development with a shared future and making new and greater contributions to the 2030 agenda and the common development of the world.
We can see volatile conflicts and hotspot issues around the world. How can countries in the world achieve peaceful development?
At present, mankind is standing at the crossroads of the era. Peaceful development and win-win co-operation are the common aspirations of the international community. President Xi Jinping stressed that naturally, countries have divergences and disagreements between them. Yet a zero-sum approach that enlarges one’s own gain at the expense of others will not help. Acts of single-mindedly building “exclusive yards with high walls” or “parallel systems”, of enthusiastically putting together exclusive small circles or blocs that polarise the world, of overstretching the concept of national security to hold back economic and technological advances of other countries, and of fanning ideological antagonism and politicising or weaponising economic, scientific and technological issues, will gravely undercut international efforts to tackle common challenges. The right way forward for humanity is peaceful development and win-win co-operation. We should follow the trend of history, work for a stable international order, advocate common values of humanity, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Facing the resurgence of cold-war mentality, China and Qatar should be contributors of peaceful development. China highly appreciates Qatar’s contribution to regional peace and stability by calling for peaceful settlement of differences. China is ready to work with Qatar to encourage the international community to follow the path of dialogue, consultation and win-win co-operation over confrontation, coercion and zero-sum game, so as to play a constructive role in promoting regional and international peace and stability. We should stick to political settlement, work for a soft landing of the Afghan issue, encourage the international community for joint efforts to assist Afghanistan, and help the Afghan people embrace sunshine of peace at an early date. We need to uphold fairness and justice, continue to support the “two-state solution” and the just cause of the Palestinian people. We need to stand firm to maintain the international system with the UN at its core, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and stand against all forms of hegemony or power politics, so as to create a sound environment for developing countries to achieve prosperity, including China and Qatar.
In early February, China will host the Beijing Winter Olympics, which countries around the world, including Qatar, are all looking forward to. Can you brief us on the preparation works of the Beijing Winter Olympics?
Currently, the Olympics has entered “Beijing Time”, and Beijing is ready for a remarkable “Olympics Moment”. About ten days later, the Olympic flame will be once again lit in snow-clad Beijing. Hosting a successful Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games is a solemn commitment from China to the international society. Over the past six years, following a green, inclusive, open and clean approach, we have managed to overcome the impact of the pandemic and carried out all preparation works in an efficient and orderly manner. China is capable and confident to present a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games to the world.
It will be a safe Olympiad. Without the guarantee of pandemic control measures, there will be no success in the Olympic Games. Facing the threat of the pandemic, the Chinese government has put people first. Bearing in mind the lives and health of Chinese people and all athletes and participants worldwide, we give pandemic prevention and control the top priority, and have made every effort to formulate science-based and targeted policies. We will take necessary measures including remote prevention and control, closed-loop management and overall vaccination to ensure the safety of all. Recently, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has expressed his confidence that Beijing will host a safe Winter Olympics.
It will be a green Olympics. Green is the most vivid theme colour of Beijing Winter Olympics. Committed to a green approach, Beijing will set many records: It will be the first to comprehensively implement the IOC’s sustainability policy in social, economic and environmental aspects; it will be the first in Olympic history where all venues will be powered by green energy; it will be the first in history where CO2 refrigeration technology will be used in large scale, resulting in near-zero carbon emissions. With all these “firsts”, Beijing will be a highlight of China’s practice of a “Green Olympic Games”, making this “Gathering of Snow and Ice” evergreen like spring time.
It will be a united Olympic Games. Unity is the eternal composition of the Olympic spirit. As the first Winter Olympic Games to be held since the Olympic motto “Together” was added, the success of Beijing Winter Olympics, despite all obstacles, will certainly enhance the friendship between all countries, and boost people’s confidence in overcoming difficulties, further demonstrating the Olympic spirit of “together”. Not long ago at the 76th UNGA meetings, 173 countries including Qatar have co-sponsored the Truce resolution for Beijing Winter Olympics, which showed strong international support for China in holding the Winter Olympics, and demonstrated the joint commitment of international community to the Olympic spirit.
The year 2022 is set to be a historic year in world sports. After a successful Winter Olympics in Beijing, Qatar will hold the 2022 FIFA World Cup in November. Beijing is the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup. This historic “handshake” between our two sports events across the continent will give stronger impetus to the development and revitalisation of China and Qatar, and will bring more confidence and strength to the world beset by the pandemic. “Together for a Shared Future”. This is the motto of the Beijing Winter Games. China firmly supports Qatar in hosting a successful World Cup, and stands ready to work with Qatar to uphold the sports spirit, oppose politicisation of sport issues, and present two splendid sport events to the world, bringing confidence against challenges and jointly embrace a brighter future.
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