SMOOTH AS SILK

Turkey 2013 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, on the long history of Turco-Sino relations, boosting commerce, and sharing cultures.

HE Xi Jinping
BIOGRAPHY
Xi Jinping was born in 1953 and is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the President of the People’s Republic of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He has had a long career in politics, serving as Governor of Fujian between 1999 and 2002, and later as Governor and CPC Party Chief in Zhejiang until 2007. Following a brief stint in Shanghai as Party Secretary, he was promoted to the central leadership and acted as Vice-President before assuming his current position in November 2012.

Located in both Asia and Europe, Turkey is a country with a long history and a splendid culture. Istanbul was the gateway to Europe for the ancient Silk Road, and now plays an important bridging and linking role in the China-Turkey friendship. The friendship between China and Turkey goes back to ancient times. The world-famous Silk Road has linked our two peoples together. The exquisite Chinese porcelain collection at the Topkapı Palace is the evidence of a history of friendly exchanges between us. I'm deeply impressed by Turkey's long history, beautiful scenery, and remarkable achievements in development. In recent years, Turkey initiated internal reform, opened up to the world, maintained political stability, and achieved rapid economic growth. People's living standards here have improved significantly. Turkey has become one of the most attractive and dynamic economies in the region and throughout the world. The country is playing an increasingly important role in international and regional affairs. The Chinese people are sincerely happy about the achievements of the Turkish people.

With the concerted efforts of the two governments and peoples since the establishment of diplomatic ties 41 years ago, bilateral relations have made considerable progress. In recent years, we have maintained close, high-level exchanges, our mutual political trust has been growing, and our cooperation and exchanges in economic, technological, cultural, and other arenas have been expanding. The two countries announced a strategic partnership in October 2010, which in particular laid a good foundation for the deepening and development of bilateral relations.

Our two countries have different gifts. We enjoy strong economic bonds and have great potential and broad prospects for further trade and economic cooperation. We have a lot to accomplish together. With the continuous development of bilateral relations in recent years, the economic and trade cooperation between us has entered the best period in its history and has shown four outstanding characteristics. First, there has been rapid growth in bilateral trade. According to the statistics from our side, our bilateral trade volume increased from less than $1 billion in 2001 to $18.7 billion in 2011, an increase of nearly 18 times. According to statistics from the Turkish side, our bilateral trade volume is as high as $24.1 billion. At present, China has become Turkey's third-largest trading partner. Chinese mechanical and electronic products, clothing, and daily necessities are well received by Turkish consumers, while Turkish mineral products, textiles, chemical raw materials, and agricultural products such as hazelnuts are very popular in China. Second, there has been an accelerating growth of mutually beneficial economic cooperation. Since 2001, the total value of various types of project contracts signed by Chinese enterprises in Turkey has exceeded $10 billion, with the completed turnover exceeding $4 billion. Among the projects, Phase II of the Ankara-Istanbul High-speed Railway, the largest cooperative project between China and Turkey, has been progressing smoothly since the start of the project. Third, there has been further improvement in institutional arrangements for economic and trade cooperation. We have established multi-layered, multi-area dialogue, and consultation mechanisms centering on the subjects of mutual interest such as plans for the development of long-term economic and trade cooperation, project financing, cooperation in third countries, interconnectivity, and trade remedies, and also reached a series of cooperation agreements that have further consolidated the basis for bilateral economic and trade cooperation and have effectively advanced the related work. Fourth, more potential is unfolding for mutual investment. In recent years, there has been a steady increase of Turkish investment in China. The investment of Chinese enterprises in Turkey has also made breakthroughs. In light of the economic strength of the two countries, the potential for mutual investment cooperation is still far from being fully exploited. The Chinese government will continue to guide and encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Turkey and is willing to cooperate with the Turkish government in amending the bilateral investment protection accord and other relevant laws and regulations so as to create a better investment environment for cooperation between our enterprises.

In 2012, Turkey held the “Year of Chinese Culture" in Turkey, while in 2013 China will host the “Year of Turkish Culture" in China. We should work together to run these events successfully, which will contribute to deepening mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples. In the future, we should continue to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges and further consolidate the social basis of the strategic partnership. In addition, we should actively promote cooperation in tourism and the interconnectivity of our roads and railways so as to benefit our peoples.