H. E. Mr. LU Kun, Chinese Ambassador to Dominica
H. E. Mr. LU Kun, Chinese Ambassador to Dominica

Time elapses fast. It has been a year and half since I assumed the post of Chinese Ambassador to Dominica. I perceived and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of "nature island", tasted the fascinating flavor of local rum punch, felt the passion and hospitality of Dominican people, witnessed the progress Dominica made after tropical storm "Erica" and experienced the unprecedented, awful and devastating strike of hurricane "Maria". In many ways, I have strong passions for this island in my heart.

The relationship between China and Dominica grows in a fast and steady manner since we established diplomatic ties in 2004. Senior leaders of both sides met with each other several times on different occasions. Practical cooperation and people-to-people exchange increase continuously. Our two countries uphold the principals of non-interference, mutual respect, mutual support and mutual benefit and become good friends with mutual trust as well as good partners of sincere cooperation. Hand in hand, China and Dominica are building a model of friendship in spite of the huge differences in territory sizes, social systems, histories and cultures between our two countries.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. As the biggest developing country in the world, China has committed itself to assisting the development of Dominica with strong sense of responsibility under the framework of south-south cooperation. We help Dominica improve the livelihood of its people by supporting the construction of Windsor Park Stadium, renovating and expanding Princess Margaret Hospital, donating solar power streetlights and mosquito eradication devices. We help Dominica develop its infrastructure by constructing the West Coast Road, York Valley Bridge and Friendship Bridge. We help Dominica cultivate talents by building the New Town Primary School, supporting the construction of State College, providing human resource training programs for various occupations and offering Chinese government scholarship to bachelor, master and doctor degree candidates every year. We help Dominica advance its technique by sending medical expert teams, agricultural expert teams and technical specialist teams here. We also stand up for reasonable appeals from small island developing countries like Dominica on the topics of global financial governance, international financing for development, climate change etc. in the international community. Our cooperation covers various aspects, has achieved fruitful results and is widely benefiting Dominican people.

In September 2017, after hurricane "Maria" hit Dominica, the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed sympathy and solicitude to Prime Minister Skerrit immediately. Chinese government decided to increase its aid to Dominica. Within a week, I handed over the first batch of emergency material supply to the Government of Dominica. Within two weeks, 800,000 USD humanitarian cash aid from Chinese government was in Dominican government's account. Then, we worked with UNDP and launched a 3 million USD roof repairing project. Last November, I signed an agreement with the Government of Dominica that provided a grant of 16 million USD for post-hurricane re-construction projects. Last month, the Chinese military donated 19 vehicles to the Government of Dominica at a sum of 1.6 million USD, mostly ambulances, fire engines and pickup trucks for civil use. In the near future, a team of medical experts and a team of agricultural experts will be on the island to help with local post-hurricane re-construction. Those aid projects stopped by hurricane "Maria" will also re-start as soon as possible. Chinese people are here with our Dominican friends through your most difficult time.

Some may ask: Why would China do these?

Before the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) established the People's Republic of China in 1949, China was invaded, colonized and slaved by imperialist powers and suffered from devastating war and poverty for over 100 years. Like many Caribbean countries, China had sad memory and unfortunate history of being suppressed and mistreated. Under the leadership of CPC, China now has become the second largest economy in the world possessing the biggest trade volume of tangible goods and the largest foreign exchange reserves. 700 million Chinese people were lifted out of poverty, which was an unprecedented major achievement in the history of the development of mankind. As China grows, it's a natural pursuit for Chinese people to safeguard world peace, promote common development and spare no effort preventing our miserable history from happening in other countries again.

Chinese people strongly believe that only when the world is good can China be good. Therefore, China actively fulfills its international responsibility, shares the fruit of its development with the rest of the world and helps other developing countries, including Dominica, achieve Sustainable Development Goals. It's worth noting that China fully respects the free will and actual demand of recipient countries. There is no political preconditions attached to the aid from China. All the China Aid projects have to go though feasibility studies, making sure they are compatible with the development of recipient countries and benefit local people.

People from all nations live on one planet. Our fates are closely interconnected with each other nowadays. Hegemony which caused refugee issues and neoliberalism which caused financial crisis have both brought strong negative consequences to western major powers who initiated and promoted them in the first place. Therefore, countries that already benefited from global economy should shoulder their due responsibility and help less developed countries. The mankind is facing various common challenges, no one can isolate itself from others. We should definitely work together and make endeavor to build a harmonious world of peace, prosperity, openness and inclusiveness.

Mr. Xi Jinping, President of China, General Secretary of CPC, emphasized that CPC should not only pursue the happiness of Chinese people, but also strive for the progress of mankind and create a community of shared future for mankind. Recently in the 19th CPC National Congress, the concept of "community of shared future for mankind" was put into the Constitution of CPC, making it an official guideline for China when dealing with international affairs. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, no matter how developed China is, we will uphold the purposes and principles of UN Charter, adhere to the equality of large and small countries, respect for different civilizations and institutions, safeguard fairness and justice and help less developed countries achieve developments.

Distance cannot separate true friends who feel so close even when they are thousands of miles apart. Although China and Dominica are geographically distant, we share same goal of enhancing our friendship and achieving common progress. Our two countries have solid foundation and broad space for cooperation. China stands against isolationism and protectionism. We welcome Dominica to catch the express train of China's development, take part in the "Belt and Road" Initiative, jointly create a community of shared future for mankind and build a better world.

Next year marks the 15th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. In the past days, we shared joys and sorrows as good friends. In the post-hurricane re-construction period and the future, China will always be with Dominica and contribute our part to your endeavor of building "the first climate resilient country in the world".

May you turn the sourest lemon that life has to offer into something resembling lemonade. I believe Dominica will stand strong and move to its new prosperity. I believe, by coping with global challenges hand in hand, China and Dominica are not only working for our own benefit, but also contributing to a better future of mankind.