By H.E. Cao Xiaolin
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Kingdom of Tonga
Twenty-four years of close relationship
This month marks the 24th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tonga. Over the past 24 years, rapid progress has been made in the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Tonga based on mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual learning.
The relations between China and Tonga have set a role model for country-to-country relationship. China believes that countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community. China is a country with 1.4 billion population, Tonga is an island country, both are different in aspects of territory and population. But China and Tonga respect each other, help each other and work to safeguard world peace and stability. China and Tonga are friends, partners, brothers and sisters.
China is one of Tonga’s development partners. More than twenty economic and technical agreements have been signed between our two countries over the past 24 years, with which China provided substantial assistance to Tonga to support its social and economic development. China has offered aid to Tonga with hundreds of projects in various forms, such as complete projects, goods and materials, technical cooperation, public facilities and infrastructure, human resource development cooperation, medical teams, emergency humanitarian aid, etc.
Just this year, China has provided much assistance to Tonga, such as the heavy machinery, which is worth TOP $26 million, the customs inspection equipment, with a value of more than TOP $30 million. China was the first country to provide emergency supplies to Tonga in the aftermath of the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai volcanic eruption and the tsunami in January.
From a broader perspective, both China and Tonga are developing countries. But China has been providing aid to the best of its ability to Tonga and many other developing countries. The purpose of China’s aid is to help recipient countries to strengthen their self-development capacity, enrich and improve their people’s livelihood, and promote their economic growth and social progress. Through foreign aid, China has consolidated friendly relations as well as economic and trade cooperation with Tonga and other developing countries, contributed to the common development of the world with the goal to build a community of shared future for mankind.
Chinese modernization and its impact on China-Tonga cooperation
Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, China has succeeded in advancing and expanding Chinese modernization. Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context.
It is the modernization of a huge population. China is working to achieve modernization for more than 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries in the world today.
It is the modernization of common prosperity for all. Achieving common prosperity is a defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and involves a long historical process. The immutable goal of Chinese modernization drive is to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life.
It is the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement. Material abundance and cultural-ethical enrichment are fundamental goals of socialist modernization.
It is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature. China will continue to pursue a model of sound development featuring improved production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems to ensure the sustainable development of the Chinese nation.
It is the modernization of peaceful development. China is dedicated to peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and will make greater contributions to world peace and development through our own development.
Chinese modernization will turn its enormous market into enormous opportunities for the world, and as a result, it will bring important opportunities and tangible benefits to countries around the world. This means that Chinese modernization will enhance the strength of developing countries including Tonga, and make greater contributions to the development and progress of humanity.
Specifically to Tonga, Chinese Modernization means that China will continue to be a reliable development partner and a mutually-beneficial trading partner of Tonga, with more grant aid from China to Tonga and more exports from Tonga to China to help Tonga be more resilient in national development.
Cooperation in climate change
China believes that everyone living on Earth is part of a big family and humanity is one community; and that climate change is a common challenge to all, and we humanity must come together to rise to that challenge. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Eco-Civilization, which is an important component of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China has acted on the idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. China is committed to a green and low-carbon path to development that prioritizes ecological conservation. China has announced the targets of carbon peaking in 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060, under which China will make the biggest reduction in carbon emission intensity in the world and move from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality in the shortest time span in world history.
China has worked steadily to adjust the energy mix. Today, China has the world’s largest installed capacity and power generation from wind and solar power, and leads the world in the output and sales of new energy vehicles.
China has engaged extensively in South-South cooperation on climate change, implemented the Global Development Initiative, and worked with all parties for a green Silk Road. China will work with other countries around the world to support the United Nations in playing a central role and to practice true multilateralism. With each doing its level best and all working in solidarity and with real action, we will be able to protect our shared planet and leave a better world to future generations.
China is committed to harmonious development between man and nature, and to building a community of life for man and nature. In this process, China will try to help Tonga achieve the goal of clean energy with technical and economic cooperation, upgrading Tonga’s energy structure in solar power stations, biogas demonstration project and training officials and professional personnel specializing in climate response. A wind power farm is now under preparations for construction to generate more clean energy. Cooperation on solar power generation will also be engaged in the future. These efforts will help Tonga be more resilient to climate change.
Every country has the right to development. On the path of development and modernization, no country should be left behind. While committed to its own development on the Chinese path to modernization, China will continue to share development opportunities with all developing countries, including Tonga, to achieve common progress of mankind.