Your Excellency Mr. Li Huilai!
Your Excellencies! Ladies and gentlemen!
To begin with, I would like to thank all of you for coming tonight to our reception on the occasion of the Day of Independence of Ukraine. We are greatly honored to welcome all of you! This year, we celebrate the 25th anniversary since our state has regained its independence, which was made possible thanks not only to the joint efforts of the current generation of the Ukrainian people, but due to a years-long sacrificial struggle of our ancestors.
A 25-year term is probably just a brief moment for the humankind. However, for Ukraine it is the stretch of time when the nation has matured, having lost, at the same time, the youth romantic ideals that nobody could question the independence of our state. Over the recent years, we have learnt about the true price to be paid for our freedom – the freedom that we have to protect today.
The 1991 Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine fulfilled the eternal dream of free, industrious and peace-loving Ukrainian people. A new state appeared in the centre of Europe. The state that given the size of its territory and the number of its people, natural resources, as well as its industrial, scientific and cultural potential could be ranked among the biggest countries of the European continent. Over the short period of history, Ukraine has regained its rightful place in the international community, has become integrated into world and European institutions, and has launched its broad cooperation with other states and international organizations in political, economic, military, and other spheres.
A new generation of people, who proudly identify themselves as Ukrainian nationals, was born and grew up. In fact, this generation is a newly formed nation that embraces the characteristic traits of more than 100 ethnic groups, living on the Ukrainian territory, namely: Ukrainians, Russians, Byelorussians, Crimean Tatars, Jews, Moldovans, Romanians, Poles, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Georgians, Azeri, etc. This is a very strong human potential not burdened with the biases and stereotypes of the past. Thus, these people are able to shoulder their responsibility for the destiny of the Ukrainian State facing at our present-day challenges.
These people are a major asset of Ukraine capable of carrying out country’s development and of securing its intellectual and technological breakthrough in the 21st century.
It is thanks to these national specifics that we managed to preserve and upgrade our country’s high level industrial, scientific and hi-tech potential inherited from the Soviet Union. Despite unfavorable economic conditions and severe competition, nowadays Ukraine remains one of a few countries in the world capable of manufacturing its own aircraft, ships, space rockets, turbines, modern weaponry, and other high-tech products of the worldwide reputation.
It is thanks to the courage and patriotism of the Ukrainian citizens that the Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine was stopped, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces were restored and increased. Nowadays, the whole civilized world supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, protests against the occupation of Crimea, demonstrates its solidarity with our struggle against the separatists and Russian invaders.
Apart from the military aggression, we managed to contain the economic aggression, getting rid of energy dependence on Russia and establishing the Free Trade Area with the European Union.
At present, our state has reached the vast food markets of Africa, Europe, and Asia. Last year, Ukraine demonstrated a peak volume of crops export – 35 mln. tons, being ranked the 3rd world top grain exporter. Ukraine became a world leader of large-scale exports of sunflower oil and honey. It is worth mentioning that 95% of import to China of sunflower oil and 90% of maize come today from Ukraine.
Generally speaking, China has been and remains today one of the leading partners of our state in a broad sense. I am pleased to recall that China was among the first countries that welcomed the free choice of the Ukrainian people in favor of their independent path of development and established its diplomatic relations with a young Ukrainian State.
Five years ago, Ukraine and China became strategic partners. By doing so, they recognized the vital importance of mutually advantageous cooperation. At present, the Program of Strategic Partnership Development for the years 2014-2018 is being successfully implemented. Joint projects in agriculture, energy, aviation, missile construction, telecommunications, investments, etc. are being carried out on the basis of the Program.
The international cooperation in the defense sector plays an exceptionally important role for us. In this regard, I would like to recognize the presence at our today’s reception of members of the Joint Ukrainian-Chinese Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation.
However, I strongly believe that there is no room for complacency. We should actively seek new opportunities for deepening our bilateral all-round cooperation.
We look forward to welcoming the forthcoming decisions of the 3rd meeting of the Commission on Cooperation between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the People’s Republic of China to be held this year in Kyiv.
It relates, first and foremost, to the joint projects in the framework of “One Belt, One Road” initiative. We are talking here not only about employing logistic capacities of our country in creating new transport corridors from Asia to Europe, it also touches on a full-fledged participation of Ukraine in trade and economic, scientific and technological, cultural and humanitarian programs of cooperation. In view of its geographic situation, scientific, technological and human potential, Ukraine is apt to become a model of reindustrialization on the route of China – EU “Silk Road Economic Belt”.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Human aspirations for cultural diversity and сraving for beauty have always facilitated the path searching for understanding and goodwill. The potential of cultural cooperation between Ukraine and China, with no exaggeration, is truly inexhaustible. There are five Confucius institutes functioning in Ukraine. The number of Ukrainian students who study the Chinese culture and language grows by one third every year.
A keen interest in the Ukrainian history, culture and language is noticeable in China as well. Ukrainian cultural centers are now functional in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Harbin, and other cities. This is a new element in the context of intensifying the Ukrainian – Chinese relations through the humanitarian dimension of “One Belt, On Road” initiative.
To sum up, let me say that we look with confidence into the future of our bilateral relations. We believe that their further progress and strategic content are reliable guarantees of prosperity and sustainable development of Ukraine and China, as well as successive consolidation of their international prestige.
I am certain that in spite of existing threats and challenges, our two countries will build side by side their bright and happy future, while realizing their own national dream: for Ukrainians – it is a Ukrainian dream, for our Chinese friends – it is a Chinese dream. After all, these dreams are not so different.
Long live sovereign, independent and united Ukraine!
Long live the unbreakable Ukrainian – Chinese friendship!