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Speech by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the Reception by the Chinese Embassy in the Hellenic Republic Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Chinese People's War against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War

Dear Mr. Korkidis, representative of the Secretariat General of Information and Communication,

Dear Mr. Potamianos , President of China-Greece Association,

Dear Mr. Arvanitakis. , member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Greece,

Distinguished guests and compatriots,

Good morning!

Just now we watched the video recording the speech of President Xi Jinping at the conference commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s War against Japanese Aggression & World Anti-Fascist War at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing. On the screen plays the military parade. Although I have watched it many times, I cannot but feel overwhelmed with feelings. In the past few days, international media including that of Greece has lots of coverage on the commemoration activities, which reflects their extraordinary significance.

As a Chinese and a diplomat, I want to share with you my feelings and views.

First, history cannot be forgotten or tampered with. The hideous and numerous crimes of Japanese aggression in China had solid evidence. It took 14 years for the Chinese military and people to defeat the Japanese aggressors with a casualty of 35 million people, making tremendous contribution to the complete victory of the world anti-Fascist War and establishing a historical monument of justice over evil. To know about and look squarely at this tragic history is the obligation of every person with a conscience and the international community. I have visited the museum of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland and the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Russia. After coming to Greece, I have visited exhibitions on the struggles of the Greek people to fight against aggression and for national independence. I hope that political leaders, media personnel and ordinary people of European countries can also go to visit the Museum on Nanjing Massacre and the Museum on the Chinese People’s War against Japanese Aggression, where you can have a new understanding about history. For a person and a nation or a country alike, only by respecting history can lessons be learned and a better future be created.

Second, China’s peace and development is the most important contribution to the world. China has a population of 1.3 billion, about one fifth of the world total. Peace, stability, and prosperity of China bears on not only the wellbeing of the Chinese people, but also the interests of the whole world. The Chinese people, who have tasted the bitter results of foreign aggression, secession and bullying, know best the importance of peace, freedom, independence, and dignity. China has never, and will never impose the misery of war, which they know only too well, on other nations. China is one of the initiators of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. It is a consistent stand of China to solve international disputes through political and diplomatic means and to oppose the random use of force. China has sent altogether over 30,000 officers for UN peacekeeping, the most among permanent members of the UN Security Council. The Chinese government never attaches any political conditions when providing foreign development assistance. Chinese businesses have pursued the principle of equality, mutual benefit, and win-win in making investment overseas. The container terminal run by Cosco is a good case in point. Any person who has some understanding about the history, culture, and foreign policy of China will know that the road of peaceful development that China pursues has nothing to do with the logic that a powerful country will surely go after hegemony.

Third, safeguarding peace needs both justice and strength. A few media described the military parade on September 3 as “muscle show”, saying that the demonstration of advanced military equipment would lead to arms race. Such an argument has ulterior motives behind. There is nothing wrong with China having military strength that matches its big power status and national defense needs. It has become something of the past when China was called “sick man in East Asia” and was partitioned by other countries. To demonstrate the latest military equipment is to show the confidence and resolution of the Chinese people and all countries and nations that love and safeguard peace. History will show that the bigger China is, the firmer the foundation of world peace, and the greater guarantee for the security of mankind.

Fourth, the spirit of the War against Japanese Aggression encourages the whole Chinese nation to realize great revitalization. Seventy years ago, it was because of the great unity, perseverance, and courage of the Chinese people and their belief in justice, peace, and people’s victory, and extensive international support that China was able to defeat Japanese Fascists despite severe lack of materials and extremely backward equipment. The victory of the Chinese People’s War against Japanese Aggression paved the bright path for the great renewal of the Chinese nation. With 70 years of hard struggles, the Chinese people have never been so close to this great dream. At the same time, we know that the world is far from being tranquil and that the road ahead is filled with hardships and challenges. The Chinese people and people around the world should have a sense of a community of shared destinies, carry forward the great spirit of the Chinese People’s War against Japanese Aggression and work relentlessly for peace and prosperity of the world while realizing its own development.

Dear friends and compatriots,

Both China and Greece are ancient civilizations and have similar experience and feelings. Over the past 43 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two sides have shown mutual understanding and support on major issues, helped each other in times of difficulties, and established solid friendship and mutual trust. The presence of so many Greek friends at today’s reception commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s War against Japanese Aggression and the World’s Anti-Fascist War expresses your respect for history and love of peace and conveys friendship and support to the Chinese people. For this I would like to extend to you sincere gratitude and highest regards. At present both countries are at a crucial stage of reform and revitalization. It is our joint aspiration to enhance communication and cooperation. I believe that China and Greece will embrace a better tomorrow and that China-Greece relations will move to new highs to bring benefit to peoples of the two countries and make greater contribution to the progress of mankind.

Thank you.

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