Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Estonia
2021/09/10

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Estonia

H.E. Mr. Li Chao

Chinese Ambassador to Estonia

September 11, 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Estonia. China is among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Estonia after the restoration of independence of the latter. Over the past 30 years, China and Estonia have joined hands to promote the advancement of bilateral relations and witness the steady progress towards prosperity and strength of both.

Today, Estonia has become an important partner of China in the Baltic Sea region and Europe. China and Estonia enjoy long-standing friendship without historical burdens and conflicts of fundamental interests, and both have made great achievements in various aspects such as economic and social development. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China and Estonia have maintained close communication and provided each other with valuable support. China gives priority to assisting Estonia for its epidemic prevention materials procurement in China, helping Estonia to fight against the pandemic within its capacity. On the international stage, the two countries communicate closely and jointly oppose unilateralism and support multilateralism and free trade.

Looking back on the past, with ups and downs, China-Estonia relations have continued to develop and our practical cooperation has been enhanced.

The past three decades have witnessed major changes in the international landscape. During this period, the trend of the times featured with peace, development, and cooperation has become stronger. Multipolarization and economic globalization are developing in depth. Multilateralism and democratization of international relations have deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. Opening-up, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results constitute a broad consensus of the international community. Countries are more closely intertwined. The world today is facing major changes unseen in a century. The instability and uncertainty are increasing with the spread of protectionism, unilateralism and COVID-19. All the countries are closely linked as they share weal and woe. We are more deeply aware of the great significance of building a community with a shared future for mankind than ever before.

The past three decades have witnessed great leaps in the development of the two countries. Both China and Estonia have made remarkable achievements with the rapid economic and social development. China’s GDP has increased by 38 times and its share of world GDP has risen from 1.6% in 1991 to 17.4% in 2020. Over the years, China’s contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30%. During the same period, China's per capita GDP jumped from 333 to 10,000 US dollars, and more than 700 million people were lifted out of poverty, contributing more than 70% of the world’s poverty reduction. Today, China’s production of major agricultural products has leapt to the forefront of the world, and it has established the world’s most complete modern industrial system with remarkable achievements in infrastructure construction. China has become the second largest economy, the largest manufacturer and trader in goods as well as the second largest consumer of goods. Estonia, hailed as the "tiger of the Baltic Sea", has experienced rapid economic and social development with a leading average annual economic growth rate in the EU since the restoration of its independence. Estonia leads the world in digital construction and greatly improves people's living standards and the sense of happiness.

The past three decades have witnessed the great development of China-Estonia relations. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the exchanges and cooperation between China and Estonia have started from scratch and made fruitful achievements in various fields. The high-level visits of our two countries are frequent. Our political, economy and trade, science and technology, education, and people-to-people exchanges are becoming closer and practical cooperation is deepening. In particular, our economic and trade relations have been continuously strengthened. China and Estonia have signed intergovernmental economic and trade agreement, investment protection agreement, and agreement on avoidance of double taxation. In recent years, we have signed multiple protocols involving the export of Estonia’s herring, whey powder, poultry and salmon to China. Bilateral trade and investment have continued to increase, especially during the pandemic, the bilateral trade continued to grow against the odds. In the first half of 2021, the bilateral trade volume has reached up to 630 million US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 27.3%.

An old Chinese saying goes "a man should be independent at the age of thirty". Thirty years after the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Estonia are now standing at a new historical starting point. We should shoulder the sacred responsibility and mission entrusted by history to draw a blueprint and contribute to the development of our bilateral relations for the period of time to come.

Looking to the future, the international landscape would continue to undergo major shifts and great changes in the next three decades. The new technological revolution featured with information technology and the rapid changes in the global economic governance system would profoundly change the international economic landscape. China and Estonia stand at the forefront of the times. The trend of world development requires us to open our minds, work together, walk with the times, promote opening-up and cooperation, seek mutual benefit and win-win results, bring more benefits to the people of both sides, and make greater contributions to promoting world peace, stability and development. China stands ready to work with Estonia to take the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as a new starting point, work side by side by supporting each other for mutual benefit, and continue to deepen practical cooperation in various fields to better benefit our two peoples and create a better future for the bilateral relations.

First, deepening mutual political trust on the basis of respecting each other and seeking common ground while reserving differences. At present, the economic globalization is developing rapidly. All economies are interdependent with the unprecedented integration of interests. Treating each other with sincerity and sharing benefits would be the fundamental solution. Although China and Estonia are different in terms of political systems, we should respect each other’s social systems, development models, and core interests by discarding ideological differences and prejudices, promoting the sound development of bilateral relations and setting an example of mutual benefit and win-win development of the countries with different sizes and political systems. Viewing the bilateral relations from a broader, longer-term and strategic perspective, we should strengthen political mutual trust, value and properly handle each other’s core interests and major concerns to lay a political foundation for the stable and sound development of bilateral relations.

Second, being open and inclusive and seeking mutually beneficial and win-win results to make the pie of shared interests bigger. The world is still facing severe challenges from COVID-19. The world economy is full of uncertainties. The urgency of cooperation among countries to fight the pandemic and promote economic development has been evidently highlighted. China and Estonia should actively seek the greatest common divisor of development interests under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism and continue to make the pie of common interests bigger.

Third, promoting the reform and improvement of the international governance system by seeking common development through multilateral cooperation. As a responsible major country and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always firmly supported multilateralism and the United Nations in playing an important role by upholding the authority and central role of the United Nations in the international system. Being a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2020 to 2021, Estonia plays a more active role in international affairs. Our two countries have conducted a lot of fruitful cooperation in the Security Council. In the future, both countries could further strengthen cooperation and coordination in multilateral mechanisms and international governance platforms such as the UN.

Fourth, expanding new areas of cooperation between the two countries by tapping potentials and drawing on each other's strengths. Estonia takes the lead in digital technology and has obvious geographical advantages. It is in a leading position in the world in the fields of digitalization and green development. China boasts the world's largest, most diversified and best equipped manufacturing system. At the same time, China has the advantages of "ultra-large-scale market" and "ultra-large-scale industrial chain". The two countries have their own advantages in digital construction, which could lead to “alliance among the fittest”. Our two countries should tap potentials and draw on each other's strengths to innovate cooperation methods and expand cooperation areas. China is opening its door wider to the world. More and more Estonian companies are choosing to be the beneficiaries of China’s new round of reform and opening up. We also encourage more Chinese companies to invest and start businesses in Estonia to expand new areas for development with local partners.

Fifth, laying a solid foundation for the friendship between the two countries by intensifying personnel exchanges and strengthening people-to-people bonds. Amity between peoples holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. As a Chinese saying goes, good friends feel close even when they are thousands of miles apart. Although our two countries are tens of thousands of miles apart, the distance can not cut off people-to-people connectivity. The profound friendship between the peoples is the source of strength for the development of national relations. At present, the depth and breadth of the people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between our two countries are expanding. For the future, we should strengthen our cultural exchanges in multiple fields and in multiple forms focusing on the next generation .

Rainbow comes after a storm. After 30 years of ups and downs, China and Estonia have grown up and known each other better. Although the two countries are located in different regions with different historical cultures, social systems and development paths, the common interests between China and Estonia far outweigh the differences. No matter how the international situation changes, we shall have the wisdom and ability to properly manage differences and jointly cope with challenges to expand mutually beneficial cooperation and benefit our two peoples. We are full of confidence in China-Estonia practical cooperation and the future of bilateral relations. As long as the two countries and the two peoples move forward hand in hand, China-Estonia relations in the post-pandemic era will surely be more mature and move towards a better future.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Estonia, I sincerely wish the two countries prosperity and the two peoples happiness. May the bilateral relations continue to develop and the friendship between the two peoples last forever!

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