|Sino-Turksih Relations (An article by Ambassador Mr. Yao Kuangyi)|
The Sino-Turkish relation has been keeping on golden terms since the establishment of the diplomatic ties. Although the distance between China and Turkey is so far away, there is no obstacle for the two nations to develop their great friendship.
China and Turkey are both countries of great strategic importance and have considerable influence in their own regions. What's more, over lots of either international or regional affairs, China and Turkey share the same or similar opinions. Besides, it's universally acknowledged that both China and Turkey have a brilliant history, they are both inheritors of great civilizations, the ancient "Silk Road" once was the tie between them and also the tie between the East and the West. All these common points greatly strengthened the two nations' admiration and curiosity towards the other. We can obviously draw the conclusion that the Sino-Turkish relation has a very strong and reliable basis. On this basis, thanks to the efforts of leaders and peoples from two sides, at the dawn of the new century, the Sino-Turkish relation has even gained stronger momentum and is expecting a more promising tomorrow.
In the past several years, China and Turkey witnessed great achievements in bilateral political field. In 1995, Turkish former President H.E. Suleyman Demirel visited China successfully, as a return, Chinese President H.E. Jiang Zemin paid a successful visit to Turkey in April, 2000. During H.E. President Jing's visit, heads of the two states signed "Joint Communique", and senior officials of both sides signed "Agreed Minutes of the 13th session of the Chinese-Turkish Joint Economic And Trade Committee" and "The Framework Protocol of Economic and Technical Cooperation in Energy Field Between The People's Republic of China and The Republic of Turkey". These documents become the guide of the Sino-Turkish relation in political consultation, economic & cultural cooperation and unofficial contact. These two highest visits have become the historical milestones in China-Turkey relation and will continuously direct the development of China-Turkey friendship. As the corresponding steps, the Foreign Ministers of two countries signed "Action Plan For Implementation Of Joint Communique Signed By Their Heads Of States" when Chinese Foreign Minister H.E. Tang Jiaxuan visited Turkey in January, 2001. This plan, more specifically, defined political, economic and cultural cooperation which are going to be carried out by China and Turkey in the following years. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of Chinese National Congress H.E. Li Peng and his Turkish counterpart, Grand National Assembly speaker, H.E. Yildirim Akbulut, exchanged their visits in the past two years. All these high-level visits and signed documents greatly stimulated the enthusiasm of two countries' people and businessmen to understand each other and to invest in the other country. The Turkish Airlines began the flights to Beijing in 1999, brought great convenience for the contacts of the two countries.
Another event also reflected the two nations' great friendship. On August 1999, the strongest earthquake Turkey had ever experienced in the last century hit the Marmara region. The quake brought great loss of personnel and properties in its inflicted area. The disaster and sufferings of Turkish people led to the deepest sympathy and anxiety of the entire Chinese people. H.E. Jiang Zemin and H.E. Premier Zhu Rongji of China had extended the deepest sympathy, solicitude and condolence of the Chinese people respectively to H.E. President Suleyman Demirel and H.E. Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for the victims of the quake and the families in the disaster areas. The Chinese Government, Army, Red Cross Society and the Chinese Embassy in Turkey lent a hand to help the relief efforts by donating money and materials and transporting over a hundred tons of relief materials by air. We Chinese people take the catastrophe suffered by the Turkish people and are willing to closely stand together with them during the hardest time. On September, 1999, a strong earthquake of 7.6 Richard scale also hit the Taiwan province of China. In reverse, the Turkish people paid back their love and sympathy to us when the famous AKUT organization swiftly send their search and rescue team to Taiwan province. I would like to avail myself this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to the Turkish people.
As to the economic relation between China and Turkey, I should say it has great potential yet remains to be explored. As everyone should know, China has the most promising economy and the biggest market in the world. In the era of economic globalization, international trade has gained a never-seen importance. Doing business with China is becoming more and more popular. We are glad to see many Turkish businessmen have turned their strategic eyes on Chinese market. Absolutely, they are going to achieve great profits after a period of time. Personally, I advise all the Turkish businessmen to do business with China and also our Chinese companies, to invest in Turkey. Although, the trade volume between China and Turkey has increased to 1 billion US$ in 2000, we still have enormous space to promote our trade and economic cooperation. Meanwhile, we should confess that there does exist a huge unbalance between two countries' trade. China's exports to Turkey is far more than Turkey's exports to China.
In my opinion, the difference between languages, cultures, customs and habits do not necessarily constitute obstacles for the businessmen of the two countries to promote their cooperation. Even for the far distance, which makes the cost of transportation somewhat higher, also can be muted by the economical efficiency. Anyway, these factors make it necessary for the two countries' businessmen to be patient, devotional and farsighted to enter the other's market. Some big Western companies and transnational corporations began to enter Chinese market over 10 years ago. They were not so successful at the very beginning, but they dominated the market and made great profits at last, since they had patience and perseverance. The big Turkish company KOC, which has this kind of strategic insight, entered into Hong Kong market in 1997 and established a company in Beijing in 1998. They are getting to know the Chinese. They made their own products successfully although profits has not yet boomed at present. However, I firmly believe that it must be repaid very soon. It is the same for the Chinese companies to do business with the Turks. Our Commercial Counsellor once visited a furniture factory in Turkey, products there are perfect in terms of style and handcraft, they may have a good sale in China. However the transportation, which costs a lot, may make the furniture less competitive in China's market. So he suggested his Turkish friends to do in this way, that is, to establish a factory in China just like many Western companies have done, use the cheap labor and raw materials in China. As a result, their products will be more competitive in Chinese market. In addition, the Chinese Government adopts a lot of favorable policies in this connection.
Frankly speaking, it still remains as a problem for the Chinese and Turkish businessmen to know each other and the other's advantageous products. Both sides need more understandings to the other and their goods. There is a wrong obsession among some Turkish friends, they think Chinese products are cheap but not good in quality. However, since the Open Policy adopted by the Chinese Government in 1978, Chinese economy and technology achieved an astonishing progress. Our products such as electronic appliances (TV sets, air-conditioner, refrigerator, DVD player and so on), articles of handcraft arts (silk, porcelain and so on) are of good quality and well known in the world. Some of these products have even had a portion in Turkish market, such as Haier air-conditioner. China also has high technology in railway building and petrol exploring, we can cooperate in all these fields.
We have no doubt that in the near future, the trade volume and also the economic cooperation between our two countries will increase rapidly as we expect.
2001 is the anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relation between China and Turkey. Both countries are decided to hold a series of activities to celebrate this great event. This will definitely push the Sino-Turkish relation to a new high level. I hope the friendship between China and Turkey will growing tighter and tighter as time goes by, with the efforts from all of us.
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China
to the Republic of Turkey