China's Ambassador to Moldova says Chinese-Moldovan relations to surely develop better and better
15:58 | 12.07.2022 Category: Interview, Event
Interview given exclusively with the MOLDPRES State News Agency by Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Moldova Yan Wenbin.
MOLDPRES: Your Excellency, you came to Moldova last year, in late December and so, in just several months, you have carried out an ample activity, having numerous meetings with officials, business people, culture people. What impression they made you about our country?
Yan Wenbin: In those six months after the taking over of the mandate, I had extended contacts with people from diverse sectors from Moldova and I made a lot of friends, with whom I had an intense exchange of opinions on the promotion of cooperation between China and Moldova, which is of an extraordinary benefit for the carrying out of my work.
Although Moldova is a small state, it has a rich and fascinating history, as well as wonderful natural landscapes. At the same time, ‘’the nicest landscape represent the people.’’ The Moldovans are warm and sincere, tenacious, kind and hospitable, which makes me feel as at home.
It is worth mentioning that, in late last February and till early March this year, the Embassy of China successfully assisted over 3,200 Chinese citizens to leave Ukraine and return to China, by crossing Moldova. On this period, I received a valuable assistance on behalf the authorities of Moldova and Chisinau, as well as more of more ordinary people, with the generosity and humanitarianism of the Moldovan people moving me deeply. The Chinese media widely informed about Moldova’s assistance in the evacuation of the Chinese citizens from Ukraine, which effectively enhanced the popularity and visibility of Moldova in China.
MOLDPRES: The 30th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Moldova is marked this year. How do you assess the relations between the two states, in general?
Yan Wenbin: The diplomatic relations between the two countries have maintained a sound and stable development in those three decades since their establishment. The most important one is the fact that the two states have consolidated their political confidence and permanently follow principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefits and non-interference with the internal affairs of the other. China has the problem of Taiwan and Moldova – the one of ‘’Transnistria.’’ Both countries face the task of carrying out the national reunification; the two countries have always been respecting each other and mutually backing the efforts in the protection of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity. At the same time, when one of the sides faces also other major concerns, the other one hardly tries to provide support and assistance, without ever causing damage to each other. Having this premise and basis, the Chinese-Moldovan relations will surely develop better and better.
The diplomacy is just as politics, the goal being the one to make as many friends as possible. A Chinese proverb says that ‘’One more friend means one more way.’’ China does not have geopolitical or other kind of interest in Moldova and just wants to develop the friendship and cooperation, which is the only goal of my work in Moldova.
MOLDPRES: Besides the political relations, which is the situation of the cooperation between China and Moldova in other sectors?
Yan Wenbin: First of all, in the economic and commercial sector, according to the Moldovan statistics, the volume of trade between China and Moldova increased from only 70,000 dollars in the beginning of the establishment of the diplomatic relations to 849 million dollars in 2021, witnessing a quick development and China becoming the fourth big commercial partner of Moldova. China is now one of the principal export markets for the Moldovan wine, appreciated by more and more Chinese consumers. China’ Embassy actively promotes the export of Moldovan wine to China, along with Chinese and Moldovan partners. Not so long ago, at an initiative by the Embassy of China in Moldova, a live broadcasting took place on the Douyin platform, on the promotion and sale of Moldovan wines, with favourable results. Being the biggest consumption market of the world, China is willing to import also other highly qualitative farming products from Moldova. China approved the entrance on the Chinese market of the edible vegetable oil and peeled walnuts from Moldova. I am quite aware of the fact that, because of the conflict in the region, the Moldovan farming products have temporarily lost some traditional export markets. The Embassy of China and me are working actively to stimulate the access of more and more Moldovan agricultural products to the Chinese market.
As a good friend and partner, China has always provided, as far as it was possible, support for the social and economic development of Moldova. The most recent example represents the photovoltaic power station from Criuleni, constructed with the support of the Chinese government and put into operation in the beginning of this year. This project is of special importance, in the context of the energy crisis in Moldova. Besides, the Moldovan government officially approved the project, Chinese Medicine Centre, the third phase, carried out with the support of China, which will be soon implemented.
The inter-human and cultural cooperation also records fruitful results. China and Moldova in the last period have been reciprocally recognizing the qualification in the higher education and I hope that the number of exchanges of students will go up to a higher stage as soon as possible. The learning of the Chinese language has become a common practice in Moldova, with the Confucius Institute of the Free International University already training tens of thousands of students. The exchanges of people between the two countries day after day become closer; at present, more and more Moldovans study, work and start businesses in China. I know that a young Moldovan woman, born in 1995, endeavored to learn not only the Chinese language, but also the dialect of the Chongqing city, which she fluently speaks. Now, she is famous on the Internet, she has more than two million followers, with numerous Chinese people getting to know more about Moldova through her. Since the taking over of the mandate in Moldova, I have visited the State University, State Agrarian University, Technical University, State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, International Free University, as well as the Academy of Sciences of Moldova (ASM), the Scientific and Practical Institute of Horticulture and Food Technologies, etc. The Embassy of China actively promotes the establishment of connections between these institutions and the Chinese ones, for the cooperation in the education field and the one of scientific researches.
MOLDPRES: An eloquent sign of the fruitful cooperation represents the investments in economy. How the results appear in this respect and which would be the opportunities for boosting the exchanges of goods, investments?
Yan Wenbin: Frankly speaking, the investment cooperation between China and Moldova represents still a weak chain. The Chinese investments in Moldova are quite poor, even negligible. This situation must be changed as soon as possible, which is surely not an easy task and the Embassy of China and me are working actively on this aspect.
Moldova must bring foreign investments and technology and China is presently one of the biggest foreign investors and exporters of technology in the world. The two sides have wide perspectives of cooperation in the investment field, especially in the key sectors of development of Moldova, such as the cultivation of agricultural products and advanced processing, digitalization, transport infrastructure, new energy, etc. At the same time, we hope also that Moldova will continue optimizing the business environment and provide to Chinese investors open, fair, non-discriminatory and predictable conditions.
MOLDPRES: Mr. Ambassador, the beginning of your mission in Moldova in a way anticipated also the worsening of the geopolitical situation in the region. Which is China’s current position on Moldova’s territorial integrity and how do you think, to what extent Moldova manages to maintain the perspectives of stability and security as a guarantee of cooperation for the benefit of our nations?
Yan Wenbin: The conflict in Ukraine transformed Moldova into a country in ‘’quasi first line.’’ In my discussions with friends from here, I could feel their concern as to the extension of the conflict. I want to emphasize the fact that the Chinese state respects Moldova’s efforts to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the independent choice of the Moldovan people, no matter the circumstances. I also noticed that the Moldovan leaders had repeatedly stressed the fact that Moldova was a neutral state and did not allow its involvement in the conflict. I am confident that, under the leadership of Maia Sandu, Moldova has determination and means to cope with the complex present situation in the region, to protect the development and stability of Moldova and the people’s fundamental interests.
The conflict in Ukraine is a huge tragedy. China does not have even the smallest interest in this conflict and permanently supports an objective, correct and right position, asking for the quick ceasefire, as well as a peaceful settlement of the problem through negotiation. The Global Security Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping has the goal to sustainably maintain peace and general security in the world and has a special practical significance in the context of the current international and regional situation.
Since the unleashing of the war, China has provided considerable humanitarian assistance both to Ukraine and Moldova, in order to back the country to overcome the impact of the crisis of refugees from the neighbourhood.
MOLDPRES: In the context of what you have mentioned, which are the perspectives of the signing and implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between China and Moldova in the present conditions?
Yan Wenbin: So far, China and Moldova have finished more rounds of negotiations on the conclusion of a free trade agreement, achieving certain results. The negotiation observes the principle of equality and mutual benefit. Undoubtedly, this agreement, once signed, will fully promote the commercial and investment cooperation between the two countries. Certainly, Moldova can open new export markets and can attract more Chinese investments. The Chinese side is willing to meet the Moldovan one at the half of the way and make efforts, in order to achieve substantial results in the negotiations on the free trade agreement as soon as possible.
MOLDPRES: Mr. Ambassador, you have probably already managed to visit more settlements and picturesque places from Moldova? What do you say to tour friends from China about Moldova’s tourist potential? Do you recommend that they visit our land?
Yan Wenbin: Because of the working schedule and for other reasons, I have still not visited too many places in Moldova. Yet, I know from diverse sources that Moldova is quite rich in natural and cultural tourist resources. I will try to go and see more places as soon as possible.
China is the biggest tourist market of the world. Before the pandemic, 150 million Chinese tourists were annually traveling abroad, China occupying firmly the first position in the world both in terms of the number of tourists and of expenses, which very much stimulated the development of the tourism economy in the destination countries. The tourist cooperation between China and Moldova has a big development potential. I urge Moldova to foster its promotion in China and to actively explore the Chinese tourist market. The Embassy of China and me will actively provide support.
MOLDPRES: Mr. Ambassador Yan Wenbin, thank you for the kindness to give this interview with our Agency.
Photo: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Chisinau