|Ambassador Ma Keqing published a signed editorial on China Daily: Nations fortify strong ties|
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the China-Czech relationship. Czechoslovakia, predecessor to the now separate Czech and Slovakian states, was among the first to acknowledge the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
China has undergone significant changes during the past decades. It has not only solved the problem of food and clothing, but also grown into the world's second-largest economy.
It also has ended wars and poverty in the country, and blazed and broadened the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
It has actively integrated into international systems and made outstanding contributions to the world's peace and prosperity.
Today's China makes progress every day by rewriting records and creating many "firsts". Last year, the country's total imports and exports reached $4.16 trillion, ranking first in the world. In addition, 100 Chinese companies made the list of the latest Global Fortune 500 companies, setting a new historical record. Chinese private company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd also set a world record last month by successfully raising $25 billion in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. China now leads the world in patent applications. Every year, it handles more than 1.6 million patent applications of all kinds.
It can also train more than 7 million college graduates annually. That number exceeds the population of many countries. The total mileage of China's high-speed railways reached over 12,000 kilometers, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the world's total.
Last year, Chinese tourists remained the biggest spenders on travel overseas and the largest outbound travel market, with the number of outbound Chinese tourists reaching almost 100 million people and their spending abroad totaling $102 billion.
The figures above are just an example of China's growth. We have set ambitious goals for future development, that is, to realize the Chinese dream and national rejuvenation. But we are also fully aware that China is a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, uneven development and unsustainable issues that remain serious and require deepening reforms, enhancing opening-up, changing growth patterns, adjusting economic structure while also protecting the environment and improving social regulation and people's livelihoods.
The Chinese people have special emotional links with the Czech Republic, because they will not forget that the former Czechoslovakia established diplomatic relations with China on the sixth day after it was founded. Czech people offered great and valuable aid for the construction of the new China, with batches of experts, scholars and engineers contributing sweat and toil in the vast land of China. Statues of Czech experts and Chinese tractor drivers still stand on a "China-Czech friendship farm" in Cangzhou, Hebei province, serving as a symbol of the memorable history. Since the 1970s, hundreds of Skoda-brand buses had shuttled in the streets of Beijing for more than 30 years, and the cartoon Mole's Story represents the pure and pleasant childhood memories of the Chinese people who were born in the 1980s.
Although discordant elements once existed, cooperation and friendship were always the main theme of the relationship between the two countries. With joint efforts, Czech China bilateral relations regained their vigor and vitality in April. Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli carried out in-depth conversations with Czech President Milos Zeman and its Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka when he attended the fifth China Investment Forum and the second China-Central and Eastern Europe leaders' meeting in August. That visit injected new impetus into the China-Czech relationship as well as "16+1" cooperation, an initiative China's then-premier Wen Jiabao proposed for cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries. Currently, both China and Czech have a strong willingness to cooperate and their relations are showing tremendous potential. They are actively preparing for the Czech president's visit to China, during which he hopes to promote practical cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, science, tourism and medical care.
Three years ago, leaders from China and 16 CEE countries met in Poland's capital, Warsaw. The resulting "16+1" cooperative framework has since helped make many achievements. With financial support from China, the 17 countries have made significant progress in several large projects, such as the construction of power plants and expressways. The economies of China and the CEE countries are highly complementary. The two sides can expand two-way trade and strengthen cooperation in railways, roads, ports and energy to build the CEE countries into a bridgehead for Chinese companies to invest in Europe. The "16+1" framework provided new opportunities for China-Czech bilateral cooperation. Given that this year celebrates the 65th anniversary of the China-Czech relationship, we sincerely hope that people of the two countries will show mutual respect and trust, and that bilateral relations will also show improved development.