|"Vecer" publishes interview with Ambassador Wen Zhenshun|
On 12th January, Macedonian evening newspaper "Vecer" publishes interview with Mr. Wen Zhenshun, Ambassador of People's Repblic of China to the Republic of Macedonia.
The English translation of the interview is as follows:
1. Recently in Belgrade Summit between China and 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe was held. Macedonia is the first country that received 580 million dollars of the special loan package of 10 billion dollars that China insulated for this region. What are your plans for investments in this region?
The 3rd Meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries was held from 16th to 17th December 2014 in Belgrade, Serbia. China State Council Premier Li Keqiang attended the meeting with CEEC leaders. Macedonian Prime Minster Gruevski also participated. Parties at the meeting reached a broad consensus on further cooperation between China and CEEC. Meanwhile; the Belgrade Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Eurpean Countries was published.
In this meeting, fruitful achievements and new highlights have been made. China put forward five proposals, such as in infrastructure construction, building a new corridor of connectity, expanding new space for industrial cooperation, setting up a new framework of investment and financing cooperation, expanding new cooperation fields in tourism, culture, education, etc. Especially, China decided to set up a 3-billion USD investment fund and to launch the second phase of the China-CEEC Investment cooperation Fund of 1-billion USD after the 10-billion USD Special Purpose Loan set up in 1st Meeting of Heads of Government of China-CEEC.
CEEC have strong economic foundation, and possess rich natural resources. China has a huge market, plenty of capital, and mature manufacturing industry. The cooperation between China and CEEC will complement with each other's advantages. China encourages Chinese companies to go abroad and participates in the CEEC economic development, and give priority to the cooperation in the field of infrustructure.
Besides the multilateral meeting with CEEC leaders, Premier Li Keqiang also held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Gruevski and agreed with each other on the cooperation of infrastructure, agriculture, construction materials.etc. Macedonia is the first country that benefits from the preferential buyer credit loan of the 10-billion USD Special Purpose Loan. Since the groundbreaking ceremony of the two highways, Miladinovci-Shtip and Kicevo-Ohrid, being held in Feburary 2014, both Macedonian and Chinese relative parties cooperated very well, and the projects' construction work goes smoothly in general. According to the schedule, the projects will be completed and come into use after 3 years, which will be the first accomplished projects under the cooperation of China and CEEC, and will be demonstrative. China will persistently encourage the Chinese companies to participate in Macedonian infrastructure construction, and to cooperate in related fields basing on the requirement of Macedonia.
2. Precisely in Belgrade was agreed the construction of the Land-Sea Express Passage from the Piraeus Port of Greece in the south to Budapest of Hungary in the north via Skopje of Macedonia and Belgrade of Serbia. Can you give us details how this project will be effectuated?
In Belgarde Meeting, the four countries, China, Macedonia, Hungary and Serbia, unanimously agreed to jointly build a land-sea express passage linking China and Europe, which is the first multilateral cooperation program between China and CEEC. This land-sea express passage extends from the Piraeus Port of Greece in the south to Budapest of Hungary in the north via Skopje of Macedonia and Belgrade of Serbia, directly affecting a population of more than 32 million. After completion of construction, the average train speed will be improved magnificently, and the transportation time of goods from China to Europe will be saved for 10 days with a great improvement in logistics efficiency in CEEC. Besides, the four countries made a Framework Agreement on Cooperation in Facilitating Customs Clearance, which will advance the construction of the land-sea express passage and create a pre-condition in transportation and logistics facilitation.
It is pleased to see that Macedonian government supports and pays attention to the land-sea express passage. Chinese side has set up a special workteam for this program in order to advance the progress. This week a high level delegation appointed by Chinese government will visit Macedonia, and discuss the project with relavent Macedonian governmental institutions.
3. So far, China showed the greatest interest in the energy sector. Two new investments in Macedonia are already announced on the Belgrade summit (big slaughter and cement factory). To which branch aims now China?
The cooperation in energy field between China and Macedonia started very early. 10 yeas ago, Kozjak Hydropower station built by a Chinese company became the first large cooperation program between China and Macedonia, which was also one of the largest hydropower programs. The electricity production of the station provides 3 percent of the gross Macedonian electricity production every year, which makes a great contribution to local electricity supply and stability. In recent years, many Chinese companies have being searched for the chances to cooperate with Macedonia in energy field and have done plenty of study in several projects such as Cebren and Galiste Hydropower stations together with Macedonian related governmental institutions. Last year, Macedonian government initiated the national gasification project and expressed the interest in financing from China EXIM Bank. The bank responded positively and some Chinese companies also have great interest to participate in the construction of this project.
The leaders of China and Macedonia have reached consensus in cooperation on husbandary and construction materials industries. As the beef and mutton from Macedonia has good quality, Chinese side shows great interest to cooperate in livestock breeding with Macedonia. In the Bucharest Meeting held in 2013, both countries' premiers made an agreement on cooperation in this field. Last year, a delegation from the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China visited Macedonia, and exchanged ideas with Macedonian Food and Veterinary Agency about livestock breeding & slaughtering. With implementing of the stratergy of reconstucting and building infrastructure, Macedonia will have a large need on concrete material. In Belgrade Meeting, Macedonia side expressed the readiness to cooperate with China in concrete industry. Chinese concrete production is about 60 percent in the world, which is the No.1 producer with advanced production facilities and environmental protection technology. The cooperation on concrete production between China and Macedonia will be mutual complementary and benefit to both sides.
4. The Summit in Belgrade was followed with great attention. Many interpreted it as a strengthening of the Chinese domination in this part of Europe. How do you comment on this?
China has kept good traditional friendship with CEEC for a long time. Right at the founding of the People's Republic of China, CEEC established diplomatic relations with the newly-born country. China always attaches importance to the relations with CEEC and keeps in touch with each other frequently. In recent years, CEEC have being experienced a rapid growth in economy and eager wish to cooperate with the other countries in economy and trade. With the speeding up of Chinese strategy that encourages companies to go abroad for development, great cooperation potentiality between China and CEEC will be explored.
The relationship between China and CEEC is important composition to China-Europe relationship. The China-CEE cooperation is not only beneficial to the two sides but also to the development balance within Europe, and will play an important role for the process of European integration. China always adhere the principle of equality in international relationship regardless the country is big or small. China persistently keeps the relationship with CEEC on the principle basis of equality, mutual respect and trust. Both China and CEEC are on the road to transform economic structure, and facing the urgent task to develop and improve people's lives. The China-CEEC cooperation will be of mutual complementary to utilizing advantages and benefit to each country's development.
5. The Chinese economy is the fastest growing in the world, with annual double-digit growth for many years and is the second largest economy in the world, just after the United States. To which aspects will focus PR of China to maintain or increase this growth?
In the 36 years since reform and opening policy, China has kept rapid growth. The average rate of Gross Domestic Production per year is approximately 10 percent. In 2010, China grew up to be the second largest economy in the world, which created a miracle in world economy history. Now China contributes 30 percent to the global economic growth. In recent two years, Chinese economic growth slows down, but still keeps a comparatively middle-higher speed with 7.5 percent.
Now China is in the period of economy transformation, and will balance the economic growth and structure in order to improve the development quality, and exert itself to advance the development in new industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agriculture modernization together. China has a huge market and will keep a relatively high speed of development in future.
6. According to some projections, the Chinese economy tends to surpass the US economy in the next years. Do you think that it can really happen?
Basing on the nominal statistical method, Chinese GDP in 2013 is 9.45 trillion USD while U.S. GDP is 16.78 trillion USD. A large gap still exists between the two countries. To be noticed, China has a population of 1.3 billion and its GDP per capita is 6747 USD while U.S. GDP per capita is 53 thousand USD. The gap in this index is even bigger.
China has put forward two goals of one hundred years. Namely, one is to build a well-off society in an all-round way by the year 2021 when Chinese Communist Party will be 100 years old, and anther is to build a prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious modern socialism country by the year 2049 when P.R. China will be 100 years old. Thus, there is still a long way for Chinese dream to come true and all Chinese people will persistently work hard for the two goals as in the past.
7. People's Republic of China is among the first countries that recognized the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name. Last year we marked two decades since the two countries have established diplomatic relations. How do you evaluate now bilateral cooperation?
In the past 21 years, the bilateral relations between China and Macedonia develop well generally and now the relations are at its best period ever.
Last year, Prime Minister Gruevski visited Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangdong Province of the P.R. China right after a short time of formation of new Macedonian Government. And delegations of state and local governments, political parties and army of both countries visited each other frequently and cooperated widely. I'm glad to see the common consensus of the Macedonian political parties and people being supportive to build friendship with China which is precious.
The economic and trade cooperation between China and Macedonia keeps growing actively. China is Macedonia's seventh largest trade partner globally, and the first from Asia. The EXIM Bank granted a preferential loan worth 579 million Euros to Macedonia. With the help of that, the Chinese company SinoHydro has started the construction of the 110 km motorways program of Miladinovic-Shtip and Kicevo-Ohrid, which is the largest cooperation project since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. China South Locomotive and Macedonian National Railway Company signed purchase-and-sale contract of 6 motor train units, being worthy of about 25 million Euros. Weibo Group, a China-Turkey joint venture based in Guangzhou plans to invest 400 million dollors in Rankovce Industrial Development zone in North Eastern Macedonia. This project may create over 5000 jobs for the local community.
China and Macedonia have intensified cultural and educational exchanges. Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine has signed a cooperation memorandum to establish a joint center of Traditional Chinese Medicine with the University of Shtip. Over 100 musicians of Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra presented a successful performance at the closing ceremony of the Ohrid Summer Festival, which was a highlight. 1st of September last year, the newly constructed Rajko Zinzifov Primary School in Kisela Voda Municipality, financed by the donation of the Chinese government, is already in use, which becomes another symbol of China-Macedonia friendship.
8. After two years of negotiations, with the support of the governments of Macedonia and China, last year in Skopje was open the Institute "Konfucij". After one year of work, what is the interest in Macedonia to study the Chinese language and Chinese culture in general?
Confucius Institute aims to promote Chinese culture and to teach Chinese language. It is a bridge for Chinese people to exchange ideas with people all around the world. As the international status of China arises gradually, more and more foreigners are eager to know more about China and its culture. A lot of Macedonian people, especially the youth, have more interest in Chinese culture and language while the relationship between the two countries becomes much closer. Some enterprises also wish to enlarge the cooperation with China through their employees who study Chinese language.
On 3rd September 2013, the first Confucius Institute in Skopje was founded, which is cooperated between St. Syril and Methodius University of Skopje and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics of China. Last year, this institute held a variety of Chinese language classes, and there are 112 students learning Chinese language now. The institute organized various activities such as Chinese Cultural Day, Tea Cultural Festival, Spring Festival Gala, etc. Through these activities, more Macedonian persons know more about Chinese culture.
In 2014, 10 Macedonia students got the scholarship contributed by Chinese government to learn Chinese language and study traditional medicine, which gave them a good chance to feel the charm of Chinese culture closely. I believe that more Macedonian will be eager to learn Chinese language and know about Chinese culture with the influence of China-Macedonia friendship being greater. In the mean time, I also wish more Chinese people would travel to Macedonian to enjoy the beauty of this country, and learn about Macedonian history and culture, and make friends with Macedonian people.