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Ambassador: Cyprus And China Should Seize Opportunity To Forge Closer Ties

Ambassador: Cyprus And China Should Seize Opportunity To Forge Closer Ties

China and Cyprus should seize the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations to forge closer, strategic ties, says China’s Ambassador to Cyprus, Liu Yantao.

The Ambassador met last Thursday with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, to discuss the upcoming anniversary and informed the President that Chinese companies and Chinese communities in Cyprus have been donating and organising events to help rebuild the fire-stricken areas in Cyprus.

In an interview with Cyprus News Agency, Ambassador Liu also refers to the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and conveys Beijing’s willingness to continue playing a constructive role in facilitating a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, in line with UN resolutions.

Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Cyprus and the People’s Republic of China were established on December 14, 1971. The Ambassador says that during the meeting with the President, they reflected on the progress in bilateral relations, and exchanged views about the 50th anniversary and plans for the future.

“Ten months since I assumed my post as Chinese Ambassador to Cyprus, I increasingly feel that furthering China-Cyprus friendly relations and cooperation is the wide consensus of the leaders and all social sectors of our two countries” the Ambassador says.

He notes, moreover, that “the strategic guidance of President Xi and President Anastasiades, joint commitment to shared principles and values are the key to the success of our bilateral ties and longstanding friendship.”

According to the Ambassador of China, in the meeting they agreed that both countries “should think on the present and look to the future, seize the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic ties to forge closer ties in a strategic manner, by synergizing development plans, jointly building a green, healthy, and digital silk road, creating an alliance of sister cities and museums, and enhancing exchange and cooperation across the board in education, culture, tourism and media, for the best interests of the two countries and peoples.”

He expresses, moreover, his conviction that China-Cyprus ties “will have an even brighter future.”

“Unilateral acts should be avoided”

“China has been closely following the developments in Varosha, and maintains that the announcement of further opening of Varosha made by Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot leader violates Security Council resolutions and increases tensions, which is totally inappropriate and nonconstructive” the Ambassador says, when asked to comment on the latest developments in the fenced-off part of Famagusta.

Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Numerous UN backed talks to reunite the island have failed to yield results. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’. On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, announced in July a partial lifting of the military status in Varosha. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action.

Both the Security Council Presidential Statement on Varosha and the resolution for UNFICYP mandate renewal explicitly call on Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leader to immediately revoke all unilateral acts taken on Varosha since October 2020, he adds. This, he says, is China’s consistent position as well as the aspiration of the broader international community.

Asked about China’s efforts for international legitimacy, the Ambassador notes that as a Permanent Member of the Security Council, China firmly upholds the authority of the United Nations and maintains that UN resolutions on the Cyprus problem should be fully respected and implemented.

“China has all along upheld an objective and fair position on the Cyprus problem and supported all efforts made by Cyprus to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity” he says.

“We have played and are willing to continue to play a constructive role in facilitating a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem under the framework of relevant UN resolutions” the Ambassador further underlines.

Liu also notes that the leaders of China and Cyprus have maintained regular communication on the Cyprus problem. Since 2015, China has been dispatching peacekeeping police officers to participate in UNFICYP missions, making contribution to the peace and stability in Cyprus, he adds.

China maintains that the international community should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus, try to encourage relevant parties to narrow differences through dialogue and consultation under the framework of Security Council resolutions for a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation, and continue to create conditions and build momentum for the resumption of negotiations, Liu says.

He also notes that “in order to maintain lasting peace and stability in Cyprus and across the region, relevant parties should fully respect international law and avoid any unilateral acts that may increase tension and confrontation, and undermine efforts towards resumption of the talks on the Cyprus problem.”

Close diplomatic ties

This year, the two countries mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties. A series of commemorative events is well underway with close concerted efforts from both sides, the Ambassador notes.

“China and Cyprus have jointly held the first online forum on governance experience sharing and 50 years of China-Cyprus diplomatic ties. To celebrate our 50th anniversary, the two sides will also hold a photo exhibition, film a documentary on China-Cyprus friendship, release a logo for this special occasion as well as put on a lighting ceremony” he explains.

According to Ambassador Liu, the two sides will also step up promotion of Cyprus in China via Cyprus’ participation in the 4th China International Import Expo with its first-ever online national exhibit, deepen practical cooperation in various fields under the "Belt and Road" framework, and enhance local-government cooperation and people-to-people friendship by forging more sister cities, launching joint educational programmes and so on.

“I am very pleased to see that all social sectors in China and Cyprus are actively involved in organising these commemorative events, contributing their wisdom and efforts in summarising 50 years of success of China-Cyprus friendship, and planning for the future development of our bilateral relations” he notes.

2021 also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). “Started from only over 50 members, the CPC has now developed into the world`s largest ruling party with more than 95 million members, leading a country with a population of more than 1.4 billion meanwhile having significant global influence” the Ambassador notes.

Over the past century, he adds, the CPC has united and led the Chinese people in overcoming various difficulties and obstacles. “After the founding of the New China, especially since the reform and opening up and the 18th CPC National Congress, under the CPC leadership, China has achieved ‘double miracles’ both in terms of rapid economic development and long-term social stability, lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty, eradicated absolute poverty nationwide, achieved a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and set the goal to complete building a socialist modern country by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China” he says.

Moreover, Ambassador Liu notes that in the first half of 2021, China`s economy continued to recover steadily, with GDP increasing 12.7 percent year-on-year to 53.2 trillion yuan (approximately 6.96 trillion Euros). The surveyed unemployment rate in cities and towns across the country averaged 5.2%, a decrease of 0.6% from the same period last year, he adds.

This year also marks the inauguration of China`s 14th Five-Year Plan, or “the start of China`s new journey of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way” as the Ambassador put it.

The CPC, he says, will shoulder its responsibilities as a major political party in a major country to make new contributions to improving the well-beings of mankind, and will actively improve global governance to make new contributions to humanity`s joint response to common challenges.

Coronavirus origin-tracing in accordance with scientific principles

The Ambassador also says that coronavirus origins should be traced in accordance with scientific principles and rules. Commenting on an assessment released recently by the US intelligence community, Ambassador Liu says that it is “a political report that runs contrary to science, a scapegoating report that shifts the responsibility for the botched US response to the pandemic, and a groundless report that smears China with fabricated evidence.”

This assessment, he goes on, is “another testament to how the US seeks to mislead and deceive the international community, just like the lie it spread alleging that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction using a bag of ‘washing powder’”.

The Ambassador says that since the outbreak of the pandemic, his country acted on the principles of science, openness and transparency, shared gene sequencing data and rendered assistance to anti-pandemic efforts worldwide.

China, he goes on, is committed to international cooperation in combating the virus as well as science-based origin-tracing study, and rejects the wrong approach of politicizing the efforts on these two fronts.

So far, over 80 countries have written to the WHO in support of origin-tracing studies on a global scale, opposing a politicized and conclusion-led origin-tracing, Liu adds.

He also notes that since the outbreak of the COVID-19, China and Cyprus have been standing in solidarity and have maintained close cooperation in donation of medical supplies, sharing anti-pandemic experience, and promoting vaccination programmes, to restore and promote personnel mobility and business ties between the two countries as well as between China and Europe.

“We hope that our two countries will keep up the good momentum of cooperation and make greater contributions to the global fight against COVID-19” the Ambassador concludes.

Source: CNA

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