2018 in consular review: achievements and plans
Global Times asks Shanghai consuls general about their accomplishments over the past 12 months and what they hope for the future. Here are the first eight.
It is great honor for me to have been posted as CG in Shanghai during such a special year for China and Argentina. We participated in the successful first China International Import Expo with more than 30 companies and launched the first Logistic Hub of Argentine products in Shanghai, demonstrating the aim of expanding our exports and ensuring the availability of Argentine products in the Chinese markets.
Furthermore, this year Buenos Aires held the G20 Summit and, on that occasion, we had the honor of receiving Chinese President Xi Jinping in an official visit to our country. Argentina and China are committed to deepening the “Integral Strategic Partnership” through the signature of a 2019-2023 Joint Action Plan as well as over 30 agreements in multiple areas of cooperation.
Through our consulate we have been working hard to reinforce our friendship and ties through the promotion of tourism, culture, sports and education. We opened the Tango School Carlos Gardel in Shanghai which is attracting many Chinese to our national dance and music. We traveled around to several universities in different provinces to introduce the CELU Spanish Exam and our national educational system to encourage students to study in Argentina.
And we have been holding tourism seminars throughout the year to inspire the Chinese to visit our country – which definitely resulted in a rise in tourism. We also launched an Argentine cultural space to promote our culture and share our customs with Chinese friends. You might think our countries are far and distant from each other, but believe me, we have so many things in common. We will continue working in 2019 toward the strengthening of our mutual friendship. In 2018, Fiji’s successful participation at the inaugural China International Import Expo (CIIE) was a significant achievement. Fiji’s participation at CIIE gave our exporters an important platform to promote Fijian goods and services in China.
Fijian products such as Fiji Beer and Noni Tea made their debut and successfully entered the Chinese market in 2018.
Together with the availability of other well-known brands like Fiji Water and Pure Fiji, Chinese consumers are increasingly aware of premium Fijian products. We hope more Fijian exporters will participate in the second CIIE in 2019.
Tourism is Fiji’s major export, with China an important emerging market for our tourism industry. In 2018, Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways set up offices in China to promote Fiji as a desirable and happy holiday destination.
Chinese citizens need no visas to travel to Fiji and there are five flights weekly flying directly from Hong Kong to Fiji.
To accommodate the increasing demand for flight capacity during the upcoming Spring Festival, four charter flights will be commissioned to carry hundreds of Chinese tourists.
Building on the achievements of 2018, we enter the new year with optimism that it will be another rewarding year for China as it celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
It is also the year that marks the 20th anniversary of the return of Macao to China. For Fiji and the Pacific, we will be celebrating the China-Pacific Year of Tourism with many events and activities across China.
I wish to take this opportunity to express my warm new year greetings to all the readers of the Global Times. Russian-Chinese relations steadily developed during the past year. This was greatly facilitated by the effective work of the multilevel mechanism of trustbased political contacts between Russia and China, which includes multiple meetings of leaders of two countries and annual regular meetings between Chinese premier and Russian prime minister, which preceded by meetings of five sectoral intergovernmental commissions at the level of deputy prime ministers.
For the eighth consecutive year, China remains Russia’s biggest trading partner. Bilateral trade volume will cross the mark of $100 billion. Energy is the priority of cooperation between our countries. Oil supplies to China via the transnational pipeline are stable. Deliveries of liquefied gas from fields on the Russian Arctic shelf also began this year, in the exploiting of which China is involved in investments. Next year, natural gas pipeline deliveries from our country to China will begin. Agreements also have been reached to expand cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.
Joint projects in aircraft manufacturing and space are continuing successfully, and cooperation in the field of agriculture has also become closer. The number of tourists from China visiting Russia has increased, and the scale of student exchanges has expanded as well.
Our countries are closely united by common approaches to the global regional problems of our times, unity of views on the fundamental principles of the world order and interstate relations, upholding common sense and pragmatism. I sincerely wish the readers of your newspaper a happy New Year and Christmas! We will be glad to see more foreign friends in Russia in the coming year. In 2018, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the JapanChina Treaty of Peace and Friendship and also the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. The Japan-China relations reached the Year of Buhuo. “At 40 years old, I became able to engage in my own study undoubtedly,” as Confucius said.
Both Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe realized official visits in May and in October respectively.
In addition, the China International Import Expo was held in Shanghai in November, during which 468 Japanese companies and organizations participated with around 20,000 square meters occupied. These two numbers were the biggest among the participating countries.
When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited China in October 2018, both countries decided to designate 2019 as a “Japan-China Youth Exchange Promotion Year” and set up a target to realize 30,000 youth exchanges in five years. In this connection, the Japanese government has further introduced a simple visa procedure for Chinese university students.
I received instructions by the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to leave Shanghai on January 4.
On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for your strong support and warm hospitality that you extended to me and our consulate-general during my stay here.
My work and life here would not have been so smooth and pleasant without your help.
I hope that you will also extend your warm hospitality in the same manner to my successor, Mr Akio Isomata. Thank you very much again.
I would like to highlight the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UAE in July of 2018, the first by a Chinese head of state in 29 years to the UAE. Xi’s plane was escorted by 12 UAE fighter jets. Upon their arrival, Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were warmly received by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE.
Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations, China and the UAE have always treated each other as equals, with bilateral ties seeing remarkable progress and fruitful pragmatic cooperation achieved in various fields.
The UAE is the first country Xi visited since after re-election as President of China. This shows that China attaches great importance to its relationship with the UAE.
I also would like to highlight the visit of Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan to the UAE in October of 2018, during which the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership.
The UAE would like to congratulate China on the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening-up, which has achieved huge success and brought about tremendous changes to the country.
China has emerged as the fastestgrowing source market for UAE tourism. In 2017, the number of Chinese tourists to the UAE exceeded 1 million. In 2019, the UAE will welcome even more Chinese tourists, as the two countries have adopted a visa-free policy for each other. Shanghai never ceases to amaze. Although I started my posting in September, I was lucky enough to be a frequent visitor for the past six years, witnessing fast growth, fascinating changes and improvements in all areas of life.
The most important event this year in Shanghai was the first China International Import Expo, which gave us a new platform to deepen international business cooperation for shared prosperity and progress.
For all Slovenian participants and me personally, the event was extremely useful, most pleasant and a rewarding experience.
For Slovenia and China, 2018 marked another year of strengthening cooperation in all areas. Bilateral trade and investments doubled in the past decade, cooperation in culture, sports, tourism and other people-to-people exchanges are on the rise. The Slovenian student community in Shanghai is one of the largest outside the EU.
Our jurisdictional area covers Shanghai and the surrounding provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, where most Slovenian business and investments in China are located.
Shanghai as the center of the Yangtze River Delta Economic Region has an even more significant role in the deepening of political and economic relations and contacts between our citizens.
This year, the Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Shanghai was involved in organizing several business and cultural events. One of the most important areas of cooperation became sports, especially winter sports, where more and more Slovenian athletes and experts are sharing their experiences with Chinese colleagues.
Next year we will continue to deepen our relations and cooperation. The date of November 5, 2018, is meaningfully remembered as the opening day of the historic China International Import Expo (CIIE), all the more so for me because I, on that day, made my debut as Consul General of the Republic of Korea to Shanghai. CIIE impressively demonstrated China’s willingness for further opening-up, which bodes well for the world economy, with the participation of 273 South Korean companies, including Samsung, Hyundai, SK and many others. South Korea ranked second in participant companies.
Shanghai, the most international and economically developed city in China, has been at the very core of the economic and cultural cooperation between China and South Korea; currently about 85,000 Koreans and 2,300 Korean enterprises are living and thriving in Shanghai.
I hope that Shanghai continues to lead China’s economic development and environment protection in 2019. I expect that Korean enterprises will also be able to actively participate in these efforts, which can undoubtedly benefit Chinese and Koreans in Shanghai alike.
Equally, Shanghai has a special place in the hearts of Korean people, as the historic building of the Provisional Government of Korea (KPG; Korean government-in-exile during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea) is located at Xintiandi, the heart of Old Shanghai.
For 2019, the Republic of Korea is planning to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the KPG in Shanghai; naturally, many Koreans will visit Shanghai to see this historic building and come to know the history of friendship between South Korea and China dating back 100 years. 2018 was a year marked by many highlights in the relationship between Ireland and China. In February, Ireland’s capital city of Dublin and our second city Cork, twinned with Shanghai, celebrated Chinese New Year with festivals and the lighting of significant public buildings.
In March, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney met with senior Shanghai government representatives and attended the annual St Patrick’s Day festival.
We also had other ministers visiting throughout the year, including for the China International Import Expo (CIIE). Many Chinese delegations also traveled to Ireland for very fruitful political, economic, cultural and educational discussions.
Bloomsday on June 16 was another great highlight as we took a boat on the Huangpu River to celebrate together with our Shanghainese friends one of the 20th century’s finest novels,
Ulysses by James Joyce. The Irish community, including professionals and students, continues to prosper in Shanghai and surrounding regions.
Personally, 2018 was a very good year as we organized an extremely busy but productive series of events and visits. When possible, I enjoy wonderful walks along the Huangpu River and explore the rich architectural heritage of Shanghai.
From my perspective, the more personal connections we make, the greater understanding we have. In an ever-more turbulent world, the most important thing for us is to understand our neighbors.
I wish all readers a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Dr. Yok Yee (Yolinda) ChanConsul General of the Republic of Fiji in Shanghai
Aleksei EvsikovConsul General of the Russian Federation in Shanghai
Kazuyuki KatayamaConsul General of Japan in Shanghai
Pablo Agustín ObregónConsul General of Argentina in Shanghai
Miloš PrislanHead of the Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Shanghai
Rashed Matar AlqemziConsul General of the UAE in Shanghai
Therese HealyConsul General of Ireland in Shanghai
Choi YoungsamConsul General of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai