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Let No Cloud Block the Vision and Set Out Again with the Original Aspiration
----Article by Ambassador Gui Congyou on the 70th Anniversary of China-Sweden Diplomatic Relations

On 9 May 1950, Sweden became the first Western country to move beyond differences of political systems and ideologies and establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

Over the past 70 years, China-Sweden relations made significant progress and achieved fruitful results. China becomes Sweden’s largest trade partner in Asia. Over 600 Swedish companies operate in China, and Chinese companies create over 25,000 jobs in Sweden. The two countries enjoy extensive exchanges and communication in science, education, culture and tourism, and maintain good communication on international affairs. The growth of China-Sweden relations not only benefits the two countries and peoples, but also contributes to stability and prosperity of the world.

Throughout the 70 years of China-Sweden relations, friendly exchanges represent the mainstream and win-win cooperation the overall direction. This is the original aspiration of establishing the diplomatic ties and points the way forward for building the relations. At its 70 anniversary, we need to renew our commitment to the original aspiration and charter the course forward together.

We need to abide by the basic principles of China-Sweden relations. The establishment of this relationship is based on our mutual respect to each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and our commitment to equality and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. The fact that some negative factors accumulated in China-Sweden relations in recent years is exactly because some Swedish politicians and individuals violated this basic principle and damaged the political foundation of the relations. The 70 years of China-Sweden relations proved once and again that as long as the two countries follow this basic principle, listen to each other, talk to each other in a friendly manner and treat each other with equality, we can always find a constructive way to resolve differences and lay solid political foundation for long-term growth of our diplomatic ties.

We need to fulfill the enormous potential of mutually beneficial cooperation. The goal of China-Sweden relations is to achieve cooperation and better development based on mutual benefits and equality. China’s development and Sweden’s cooperation with China over the past seven decades delivered considerable benefits for Sweden, and Sweden also contributed to China’s economic growth and reform and opening-up, which has demonstrated that such cooperation is complementary and mutually beneficial. Going forward, China-Sweden cooperation will enjoy broader prospects, ranging from political dialogue, trade, investment to innovation, people-to-people exchange and international coordination. Such cooperation is for common development, not for influencing, changing or threatening the other.

We need to follow the desire of the public for friendship. The original aspiration of our diplomatic relations comes from the two peoples and is for the two peoples. Friendly exchanges between China and Sweden have a long history. They are what our two peoples need and want. They are rooted in the people. Since arriving in Sweden, my footsteps have covered most counties of Sweden. What I saw and heard is an expectation to have more cooperation with and know more about China. We need to respect and follow what the public wants and work hard to build a better environment and conditions to facilitate friendly exchanges.

Our common battle on COVID-19 has once again shown the profound friendship and mutual support between Chinese and Swedish people. At the beginning of this year, when China was at its hardest moment of fighting the epidemic, many Swedish companies and friends donated money and supplies to China. Some Swedish people took the initiative to make videos and write letters in support of China’s battle on the virus, which deeply touched us. Since the outbreak in Sweden, the Chinese people also lent a helping hand to people in Sweden. Duveholm high school received a surprise gift from Yunnan Vocational School—2,000 masks. Through its factory in Shanghai, Höganäs company acquired 165,000 masks and donated them to hospitals in Örebro. China provided active facilitation for Karolinska University Hospital’s purchase of medical supplies in China. Our Embassy also donated protective equipments to hospitals and elderly nurseries in Sweden. A professor from Lund University wrote to us that medical supplies from China played an important role in preventing infections of medical workers in Skåne, and it will help improve the relations between the two countries. A nurse from an elderly home in Malmö told us in a letter that he thanks China for its help, which saved the staff and patients.

These moving stories of mutual help of Chinese and Swedish people once again tell us that the friendship between the two peoples not only can stand the test of various challenges, and will emerge from them even stronger. Such friendship is the source of vigor and energy for our relations’ to grow stronger. We are confident that with the joint efforts between the two peoples, China and Sweden will overcome the momentary difficulties, remain true to our original aspirations and set out again to build a brighter future of China-Sweden relations.

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