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The Cyprus Mail Publishes Ambassador HUANG Xingyuan's Article Entitled "The Belt and Road Initiative Brings New Opportunities for Cooperation between China and Cyprus"

2018-03-29

On 28 March 2018, The Cyprus Mail, Cyprus's largest-circulation English newspaper, published Ambassador Huang Xingyuan's Article Entitled "The Belt and Road Initiative Brings New Opportunities for Cooperation between China and Cyprus". The full text is as follows:

 

These days I felt touched by Cypriot friends in the political and business communities for their great enthusiasm for participating in the Belt and Road Initiative during my amicable contacts with them. They also made good suggestions to me: one is that they expect me to introduce more about the details and significance of the Belt and Road Initiative; and the other, they hope Cyprus can be involved in some specific projects.

While the story of the time-tested friendship between China and Cyprus is widely known on this island and the slogans of "One China" and "One Cyprus" become rooted into the heart of local people due to the similar fate facing the two countries, a catchphrase from the East just goes viral among people from political, commercial, and academic circles-the Belt and Road Initiative. A few days ago when I had a meeting with President Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, he spoke highly of and showed clear support to this Initiative put forward by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and described this Initiative as a great effort to enhance connectivity and a practical attempt to boost cooperation between Europe and Asia. He also emphasized that Cyprus should actively participate in it. 

 

I. The Belt and Road Initiative is a Premier Public Good Provided by China to the World in the New Times

More than two millennia ago, the ancient Silk Road stretched tens of thousands of miles from Asia to Europe and Africa, establishing a bridge of cooperation and peace between the East and the West. In this era of economic globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative, which carries on the ancient spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, is making contribution to the economic integration and unleashing the economic potential while benefiting the China-Cyprus pragmatic cooperation in building a new platform, creating new opportunities, and shaping the new prospect.

"Connectivity" is the key word for the Belt and Road Initiative, yet it is also a basic factor that determines the depth and breadth of cooperation between two countries. Out of Cyprus's total foreign trade, more than a half is dealt with other EU countries; for all the foreign direct investment stock in Cyprus, more than 80% comes from Europe; and among 3.65 million people who traveled to Cyprus last year, 87.5% were Europeans. The reason lies in the high level of connectivity between Cyprus and other European countries, featured with a relatively easy flow of goods, services, capital, personnel and information. It is also true that some time ago the breakthroughs in economic and trade cooperation between China and Cyprus were difficult to achieve largely due to the long distance, inconvenient traffic and few contacts between the two countries. When President Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, he focused on strengthening the infrastructure connectivity as a way to facilitate freer and more orderly flow of economic factors, more efficient allocation of resources and deeper integration of the markets, which also offers a recipe to the existing problem and provides opportunities to pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.

 

II. The Golden Rule for Co-building the Belt and Road is Extensive Consultation, Joint Contribution and Shared Benefits

Pursuing mutual benefits and win-win results is a distinctive feature of the Belt and Road Initiative. The "friend group" of this Initiative is available to all interested countries regardless of their size and wealth, and all involved parties will be able to negotiate on an equal footing from blueprint planning to specific project implementation. By contrast, it is not a rare phenomenon that the voice of small and medium-sized countries is muted in the international economic governance, and small countries like Cyprus are subject to the play of power politics. A case in point is the green line crossing the island, a scar not yet healed in people's heart. The Belt and Road Initiative is by no means another "Marshall Plan" or "Monroe Doctrine" in that it is neither attached with any political conditions nor targeted or excluded to any country. The economic cooperation between China and Cyprus on this new platform is aimed to seek complementary advantages, forge strong alliances, and make joint efforts for common prosperity and common development.

Since its debut nearly five years ago, the Initiative has been well received by active participation of more than 100 countries and international organizations with a considerable number of new cooperative projects coming into place. Talking of the pragmatic cooperation between China and Cyprus, we tended to name old-fashioned examples such as Vasiliko cement works, a part of highway from Limassol to Paphos and the wind farm in Lanarca. But in recent years the new brands of cooperation emerge one after another as large numbers of capable and reputed Chinese companies sail overseas with the wind of the Belt and Road Initiative, bringing new impetus to the economic development of Cyprus. For instance, not long after the state-owned Cyprus Airways went bankruptcy in early 2015, Chinese companies began to engage with Cypriot partners for a plan to jointly invest and operate a new airline in Cyprus. Today, Cobalt Airline has made a successful start, turned itself into the second largest airline in the Cyprus market within just over a year, and employed more than 250 people directly which brings tangible benefits to the economic development and employment of the country.

 

III. The Belt and Road Initiative Injects New Vigor into China-Cyprus Economic Cooperation and Bilateral Relations

Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Cyprus have also scored new success and progress in the areas of telecommunications, ports, satellites, renewable energy and others. Currently China Communications Construction Group is actively participating in bidding of the Larnaca port and marina expansion project, which may contribute to the prosperity of the maritime Silk Road; Huawei Cyprus Corporation, which has participated in upgrading wireless network on this island, also helps build a digital bridge between the two countries; Guangdong Tatwah Smartech acquired Limassol-based Asean Kypros Satellites Corporation with USD 73 million, opening up a new world for high-tech satellite cooperation; moreover, China's private enterprises are cooperating with Cypriot counterparts for a five-star hotel and a landmark high-rise, giving a further boost to the tourism industry of Cyprus.

Now the socio-economic development of Cyprus is about to open a new chapter as its economy enters an opportunity period of rapid development and its new government has readily started functioning. Against this new backdrop, China looks forward to continuously deepening the relations with Cyprus in various fields, jointly promoting the construction of the Belt and Road, and making contributions to the country's economic development, the international economic cooperation as well as the world economic growth. It is imperative that two countries strengthen the physical connectivity of infrastructure as well as soft-synergy of policies, rules, and standards with focus on facilitation of flow of trade, investment and persons. By doing so, we are able to fully tap the cooperation potential in energy, tourism, shipping, telecommunications, electricity and other fields. It is convinced that with the active support and enthusiastic participation of people from both countries, our pragmatic cooperation is to embrace more opportunities and better prospects on a higher platform.

 

 

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