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Times of Suriname published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Quan on China's Foreign Aid Policy
2018/12/07

From 3 to 5 December 2018, Times of Suriname, the largest news paper in Suriname successively published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Quan entitled “Building a Community of a Shared Future for Mankind and Creating a New Era of Chinese-Suriname Relations”. The full text is as follows:

        

On August 19th 2018, I arrived in Suriname as the thirteenth Chinese Ambassador to Suriname. In just over three months, the friendly people, the beautiful landscape and the harmonious multi-culture society have impressed me deeply.

China and Suriname is geographically far from each other, but our friendship is close and deep. China is one of the first countries that recognizes the independence of Suriname. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1976, China and Suriname have always respected each other, trusted each other and supported each other. Our relations has set up a good example in South-South cooperation.

In recent years, frequent high-level exchanges between China and Suriname have further enhanced trust between us. President Xi Jinping and President Bouterse have met three times, setting out a clear vision to our bilateral relations in the future. This September, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi paid an official visit to Suriname. This is the first visit by a Chinese Foreign Minister and set a new milestone in China-Suriname relations.

China and Suriname are good friends and good partners. I am very delighted to see that cooperation between our two countries has yielded fruitful results in various fields, such as office building of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, construction of roads, houses, community centers etc. At meantime, a number of projects such as the Wanica Hospital and the National Broadband Network are in good progress. All of these projects have made a positive contribution to the economic and social development of Suriname. Each year, China provides government scholarships and short-term training opportunities to help Suriname personnel training and human resources development. The Chinese government offered immediate relief assistance to the Zika epidemic and the inland flooding, helping people of Suriname to go through difficult times and to rebuild their homes.

In May, Suriname took the lead in the Caribbean region by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, injecting new dynamics in the China-Suriname relationship. This will boost for more cooperation between our two countries in infrastructure, finance, agriculture and tourism.

In about three months, I visited Paramaribo and its neighboring districts and met many friends from all walks of life. They all commend highly the help from China. The road of more than 1,000 kilometers built by Chinese company connects the different parts of Suriname and facilitates movement of people and goods. The Wanica Hospital will help improve the medical facilities of Suriname. Projects such as affordable housing will deliver tangible benefits to the people of Suriname. None of these would be possible without the efforts of Chinese companies and their staff, nor would it be possible without the participation and support of the government and the people of Suriname .

Some people may ask: why is China willing to help Suriname? The answer is that the Chinese people believes that China would prosper only when the whole world is prosperous. Both China and Suriname are developing countries. It is essential to our relations that we support each other and move forward together. Our goals are common, that is to maintain world peace, promote economic development and improve the well-being of our peoples.

As all are aware, the common bottlenecks of many underdeveloped countries are insufficient industrial production capacity, lack of independent development capacity, undeveloped infrastructure, and financing difficulties. China itself was once confronted with these same problems, therefore we understand the needs of these developing countries. Base on our friendship and shared interests, we would cooperate with developing countries and help to meet their needs.

In particular, I would like to emphasize that China fully respects the wishes of the receiving countries and its people. China does not attach any political strings to its aid. We share their strong desire to develop the economy and improve the people’s livelihood. Upon their request, China would provide financial support for infrastructure development of developing countries, so as to help them break the bottlenecks in their development and to improve their economic and social sustainability. Bearing in mind the debt paying ability and solvency of the receiving countries, all projects funded by Chinese concessional loans have undergone rigorous feasibility studies and market research to ensure that they deliver the expected economic and social benefits. It is irresponsible and futile that some biased people deliberately ignore these facts, and fabricate so called "debt trap" with Chinese concessional loans to developing countries.

In fact, among the national debt of those countries which has been repeatedly played up, debt generated from projects with China takes only a very small percentage. So far, we have never heard of a single country that has fallen victim of the so-called "debt trap" as a result of its cooperation with China. Take Sri Lanka as an example. Up to 2017, merely 10% of Sri Lanka's foreign debt comes from projects funded by Chinese concessional loans. The Sri Lankan Ambassador to China made it clear not long ago that it was completely wrong to claim that the Chinese government has dragged Sri Lanka into a "debt trap". Most recently, the Pakistani Minister of Finance also refuted the remarks that the Pakistani debt crisis was caused by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Nobody but the beneficiary countries of Chinese aid could speak for themselves. During the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in this September in Beijing, many African leaders volunteered to refute the claims that cooperation with China increased their national debt burden. They clearly pointed out that African countries need fund for development. They welcome China, thank China, and praise China as the most reliable partner in African development and revitalization.

We sincerely hope that those who make such false claims could take off their tinted glasses and take an objective view of the cooperation between China and developing countries. We also hope that other countries could make practical and tangible contributions to the economic growth of developing countries, and work together with China to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. After 40 years of hard work, China has become the second largest economy and has the largest scale of industries, the largest trade volume of commodities, and the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world.

Reform and opening-up is a great process that has seen China and the world achieve development and progress together. China has lived up to its responsibility as a major country. In recent years, China contributes more than 30% to the global economic growth, becoming a key anchor and driver for the world economy and a positive force in advancing the noble cause of global peace and development.

As President Xi Jinping pointed out at Boao Forum for Asia Annual Meeting early this year, China will never threaten anyone else. China has no intention whatsoever to overturn the existing international system, nor would China seek spheres of influence, no matter how much progress it has made in its development. China is determined as ever to build world peace, contribute to global prosperity, and uphold the international order.

With its rapid economic growth and continuous increase of national strength, China is sharing more fruits of its development with other nations, endeavoring to create more opportunities for the development of emerging markets and developing countries. A few weeks ago, the first China International Import Expo took place in Shanghai. More than 3,000 companies from more than 170 countries and regions, including Suriname, signed up for the exhibition. This unprecedented global event fully demonstrates China’s continuous determination in opening up further to the world and sharing its development bonus with the world.

The Chinese people will continue to join hands with other nations on the road ahead, follow the historical trends, and pursue the path of peaceful development unswervingly. China will continue to actively build global partnership, strongly support multilateralism. China will work with other countries to reform the global governance system, foster a new type of international relations, and to build a global community with a shared future.

"Boundless is the ocean where we sail with the wind." Speculations and false accusations cannot disrupt China’s relations with developing countries, including our friendly relations with Suriname. The eyes of the people of Suriname are sharp and bright. I firmly believe in the judgment and wisdom of the people of Suriname. Let's join hands and create a new era in China-Suriname relationship.

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