Statement by Rt. Hon. Prime Minister at Renmin University, Beijing
On the theme “Nepal-China Relations in the Context of One Belt- One Road Initiative”
Beijing, 22 March 2016
Prof. Liu Wei, President of Renmin University of China,
Esteemed Professors, academics and students,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I feel honoured to be here and speak to this gathering of intellectuals, youthful students and friends of Nepal. I express my sincere gratitude to Mr. President for his generous invitation to join all of you at this University; the People’s university which has been a home to several outstanding scholars, has been a fountain of knowledge and source of wisdom, and whose alumni have provided impetus to the unprecedented development of the People’s Republic of China.
In its glorious history of more than seven decades since the foundation of Shanbei Public School, the university has taken a leading role in higher education, not only in China but globally. I feel profoundly impressed to be here at the university whose foundation was guided by genesis of new China, which was established out of North China University in 1950 and received care and guidance from the enlightened leaderships, including that of Chairman Mao.
Specializing in humanities and social sciences, it has cultivated notable alumni, and produced a large number of cadres who contributed in the rise of China.
With its motto of “Seeking Truths from Facts”, the university has made significant research achievements in the past and continues to do so.
Standing here at the university with exceptional historical legacy, it is indeed a matter of pleasure to meet this cross-section of professionals and students, who are in the incessant pursuit of “Seeking Truth from Facts”.
Almost forty-three years ago, in the age of my prime youth, I was arrested and jailed, without any fair trail, by the autocratic rulers and suppressive regime to fulfill their hidden interest and prolong their autocratic regime. Their sole motto was: crush the truth and protect their selfish instinct. For that, they alleged me of being an anti-national element. I continued to reject with strong belief that might can’t be right and I never surrendered myself to that belief rather chose to fight against the autocratic regime without any fear of my life. I believe so because might is ephemeral and truth is permanent and eternal. I was indicted for committing heinous crime that was too deemed destabilizing for the existing social order. And you know what my crime was? To “Seek Truth from Facts”!
For the crime of “Seeking Truth from Facts”, I was sentenced to harsh imprisonment for fourteen years with four years of solitary confinement. However I did not let that dark episode of my life to drain my energy away. I did not let that period of severe detention to decimate my determination. The hope in me did not succumb to the torture. The youth in me did not yield to those reactionaries. The cruelty afflicted by those who sought to silence my pursuit for truth, my quest for transformation, did not melt my resolve.
And at the end, it was ‘the truth’ that prevailed. It is ‘the truth’ that will continue to prevail.
And, allow me, from this podium, to congratulate, the prestigious university of yours for keeping pursuit of truth alive; for keeping the beacon of truth. Thus, from cave to space, from cradle to cabin, Beijing leads civilization, knowledge and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Asia has been the land of great philosophers, the land of passionate truth-seekers, the land of multiple civilizations, all of them equally great and all of them equally rich.
It is our Asia where the greatest of human civilizations flourished and guided the humanity across the path of innovation and evolution. It is our Asia, where great Masters and Saints were born, and showed the world the light of peace, the avenue of wisdom, the path of virtue and the way of ‘de’(德Chinese for virtue) or virtue.
It is our Asia where the diligence and dedication of our forebears conceived an unshakable foundation of history. A foundation infused with creative ingenuity, a foundation infused with scientific curiosity and a foundation infused with foresighted leadership.
Our ancestors guided the world through the process of innovation and evolution. They were innovators, visionary and leaders whose legacy is an asset to the whole of Asia and the world. They steered the raft of transformation with profound success, even though waters of history were turbulent sometime. They carried the torch of determination even though the path of history was dark sometime. Their efforts for development were tireless, their commitments resolute, and their leadership exemplary. They risked their life to breathe life into the dream of prosperous and developed Asia.
The responsibility lies on us to ensure that the raft of our creative ancestors won’t sink and the torch won’t extinguish. And education will indeed nurture the talents who will walk upon the path laid down by our progenitors.
Education has the ability to cultivate the human potential to the pinnacle of creativity. Education has might to nurse innovativeness and skills, much needed to fuel the engine of economic growth and development.
It is education that ultimately molds the robust bricks essential to build the edifice of developed nation. And I strongly believe, Dear Students, you will make best use of the opportunity you have been provided with at this glorious university.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
Our nations, Nepal and China, the lands of Lord Buddha and Great Confucius have a long history of harmonious relationship with each other. Our nations had cooperated in the areas of culture as well as commerce, had exchanges in the areas of trade as well as civilizations. The relationship dates back to antiquity, rooted in our histories that coexisted together.
Today, in our contemporary times, that cooperation has emerged more intensely. The relations have been deepened with collaboration more diversified in approach, exchanges more broadened in scope and linkage more strengthened in resolve.
Our friendly relations have been firmly fortified on the foundations of Panchasheel. The sovereign equality, non-interference, and respect for each other’s sensitivities have guided our stable friendship.
As a friendly neighbor, Nepal, has always been well aware of the sensitivities of China. Nepal adheres strongly to the ‘One-China Policy’, and has not allowed its land to be used, under any pretext, against China. And it will continue to keep this commitment firm and intact.
Similarly, the People’s Republic of China has respected our sovereignty and supported our development endeavors. Our two nations have been all-weather friends, friends at the time of distress as well as at the time of comfort.
The generous assistance extended by China in projects of infrastructure build-up has aided development endeavors of Nepal. The investment ventures by the Chinese firms, the dynamic engagement in trade relations and technical cooperation has aided our pursuits for development. However, we must take the scheme of economic cooperation to much higher level.
The increasing flow of tourists from China has contributed to the growth of our economy; and more importantly it has augmented the interactions among people, interactions between the cultures.
China remains one of the most preferred destinations for the students from Nepal. The increasing number of Nepalese students in China, brighten up the prospect for exchange of ideas, prospect for advancement of skills and a prospect for shared future.
With the rapid development of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, I believe that it will further boost trade and investment between our countries. It will ease the constraints of geography; will defy the every existing barriers.
As a land locked country with least developed economy, Nepal has multiple development challenges to conceive the prosperous future for nation. We need to boost investments, utilize resources and develop technology as well as innovation strategies. Investment will ease our constraints, resources will provide a manufacturing base, and technology will invoke the upward trajectory of development.
Nepal is seeking for the transformations in the quality of life for its people. We have pledged to broaden our industrial base as well as to modernize our agriculture. We have committed to harness the potential of hydropower development and generate energy, much needed to fuel our industries. The markets are open for investment, welcoming for business. And I express my belief that Belt and Road initiative will relax the obstacles created by geography.
Last year, in 2015, we celebrated the diamond jubilee to mark the formalization of our diplomatic relations. And in the course of those amicable years and decades, our countries have explored the opportunities together, have voiced their commitments to realize the common aspirations, have exchanged the support when needed. Our people have stood with each other at the time of difficulties.
However, the time has come to set higher and superior ambitions. Higher than the Mount Everest, and superior than the Great Wall. The time has come now to travel together into the united sphere of prosperity.
The initiative of One Belt-One Road, is a principal step to unleash our potentials to travel together into the cooperative sphere of prosperity. To catalyze the convergence of our shared interests. And to weave a tapestry of connectivity that will deepen our cooperation.
Riding in the raft of this initiative we shall sail through the waters of the seamless cooperation to ultimately realize what President Xi called a “Community of Common Destiny”.
In the world order of twenty first century, we need to pursue mutually beneficial development ties without any of ideological prejudices, without any cynicism. And through this Belt and Road initiative we need to create inclusive cooperation, cooperation to realize positive-sum development, cooperation to establish Asia in the forefront of global dynamics.
This initiative will intensify the connectivity in all the manifestations. Connectivity of commerce as well as of cultures. Connectivity of interests as well as of benefits. Connectivity of infrastructures as well as of ideas. Connectivity of enterprises as well as of identities. Connectivity within and way beyond Asia.
Bringing the cultures and communities together, the Belt and Road initiative will step up the people to people bonds. It will bring us more closely to realize our shared destiny. A destiny of peace and harmony.
Nepal used to be an important thoroughfare of the historic commercial Silk route. It was a vibrant hub, an entrépot that connected China with the region of South Asia. And today, I believe, history has bestowed upon us the responsibility to revitalize that role. To augment the connectivity between our two countries and way beyond; the connectivity that encompasses over 60 countries and 4 billion people.
The economic growth and development of China is one of the inspiring success stories of our time. The initiative of Belt and Road will propel our prospects to benefit from the unprecedented transformation that is taking place in China, will cumulate the positive spillovers from development of China. Being the immediate neighbor of China, Nepal’s gain from this initiative will be remarkable.
Committed to actively participate in the process of enhancing connectivity, Nepal has joined various international as well as regional platforms. Our involvement in Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as founding member is a recent example of our orientation towards development and connectivity.
The successful process of Belt and Road initiative will unleash our potentials, will converge our interests. With the avenues opened for trade and investment, it will pave a route for prosperity, a route for development.
With the avenues opened for exchange of ideas and capitals, it will pave a road across which our countries will share the fruits of development.
With the avenues opened for unimpeded trade, it will pave a road to the welfare of all our people.
Well aware of those potentials, our countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2014 to jointly promote the Silk Road Economic Belt. Both sides have jointly agreed to deepen the connectivity through land highways and rail routes. And we must intensify our undertakings. We must revive the world’s promising economic route with the greatest of development potential.
We must realize the cusp of transformation in connectivity in our lifetime. As Chairman Mao wrote in his poem, we must “Seize the day and seize the hour”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I take this opportunity to thank the Government of China, and its people as well, for the valuable assistance in both relief and rescue operations immediately after the devastating earthquake of April last year.
I am also keen to promote greater collaboration and cooperation between Renmin University and universities in Nepal for undertaking research in the areas of mutual concerns. The academic exchanges will inevitably lead us, and our leaders of tomorrow, to realize the shared destiny of peace and prosperity.
Before I conclude, I deem it important to share with you that I have had fruitful and productive discussions on Nepal-China relations with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang yesterday. We have agreed to bring our relations to a newer height consistent with the trends of our time and as cherished by our people. Cross-border connectivity and infrastructure development; long-term economic partnership encompassing trade, investment, tourism; and, education and cultural exchanges are the key components of our cooperation for the days to come.
With this note, let me thank you, Prof. Liu Wei, and all other friends for this platform to share our ideas, to share our aspirations, and to explore the avenues of cooperation between our countries.
Thank you. Thank you very much for such a wonderful audience!