At the forefront of the times

El Salvador established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle in August 2018, becoming the 178th country in the world to establish diplomatic ties with China.

LI XIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

El Salvador established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle in August 2018, becoming the 178th country in the world to establish diplomatic ties with China.

Focusing on the fundamental well-being and long-term interests of the two countries and their peoples, the two sides are committed to building their relations into a model of friendly cooperation between countries of different sizes and national conditions.

China and El Salvador have enhanced mutual understanding over the past three years and their relations have born increasing fruits, with their cooperation in various fields deepening and growing more practical.

The heads of state have reached a broad consensus, leading the steady progress of the relations between the two countries.

The two sides have conducted frequent high-level exchanges, which has consolidated the political mutual trust, with El Salvador's former president Salvador Sanchez Ceren and current President Nayib Bukele paying state visits to China.

In the face of the challenges caused by the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the two countries have joined hands to fight against the virus despite the difficulties, seeking opportunities amid adversity and bravely opening a new chapter for bilateral ties.

The relations between China and El Salvador are standing at the forefront of the times, and have reached a higher level despite the impact of the pandemic.

The two countries have fought against the pandemic side by side. At the toughest moment of China's anti-virus fight, the people and all walks of life in El Salvador gave China strong support through videos, telephone calls, letters and other means.

The Salvadoran people voiced their support to China, saying "Stay strong, Wuhan! Stay strong, China!"

After the pandemic broke out in El Salvador, the Chinese side offered a helping hand and exchanged its anti-pandemic experience with El Salvador's government and medical personnel and provided diagnosis and treatment plans through videoconferences.

China has donated three batches of medical material to El Salvador, including a large number of testing reagents, protective equipment, ventilators and millions of medical masks, and provided emergency humanitarian aid in cash.

China has carried out President Xi Jinping's solemn pledge to make Chinese vaccines global public goods. It has delivered its homegrown Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines purchased by El Salvador as soon as possible, and also donated vaccines to the country after braving the huge pressure of its own domestic vaccination campaign.

The delivery of the vaccine reflects the deep friendship of the Chinese people toward the Salvadoran people, as well as the full support of the Chinese government for the Salvadoran government in its fight against the pandemic.

The Chinese-assisted projects in El Salvador, including the Port of La Libertad, the national library, the national stadium and the Ilopango water supply facility, are fruits of the important consensus reached by the two heads of state. They have started construction, and will become a monument to the China-El Salvador friendship, bringing benefits to the Salvadoran people. Both sides have overcome the impacts of the pandemic and cooperated closely to further promote these projects.

Despite the global economic downturn, bilateral trade has grown. Last year, the trade volume between the two countries totaled $1.11 billion, with El Salvador's exports to China reaching $171.78 million, an increase of 51.6 percent year-on-year. That included 18.25 metric tons of sucrose, El Salvador's agricultural specialty, valued at $75.3 million, up 105.7 percent year-on-year.

Cultural and people-to-people exchanges continue to grow. The Confucius Institute in El Salvador offered Chinese courses online, receiving Salvadoran people's warm welcome.

Scholarship recruitment for the 2021-22 academic year was held online, which was also the third year the Chinese government has granted scholarships in El Salvador. A total of 45 young candidates stood out and will further their study in China.

The understanding and trust between the two countries have been deepened. China helped El Salvador's anti-COVID-19 fight with financial and material assistance and the Chinese-developed vaccines effectively protect the health of Salvadoran people.

El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele has expressed his gratitude to President Xi and Chinese people on the vaccine cooperation on many occasions.

During the pandemic, the parliament of El Salvador held a grand ceremony to permanently display the Chinese flag in the parliament, signaling that the bilateral relations have taken solid steps forward.

China's support to El Salvador's anti-virus fight has drawn the two peoples closer. The political parties, as well as people from all walks of life in El Salvador have expressed their gratitude for China's strong support and selfless assistance and are glad to have made the decision of establishing diplomatic ties with China. They are also proud of having such a trustworthy and reliable good friend. The public opinion foundation of bilateral relations has grown more solid.

The arrival of the Sinovac vaccines in El Salvador through a charter flight of Air China shows China's sense of responsibility and competence in solving problems, and high speed and efficiency in action. The deed has inspired the Salvadoran people and has been praised by them.

China-El Salvador ties have unlimited potential and broad prospects in the future. The Chinese side will work with Salvadoran people to further promote their ties and create a brighter future for the China-El Salvador friendship.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to El Salvador. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.


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