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Remarks by Consul General Wang Zhijian at the Reception Marking the 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China and His Assumption of Office

Honorable Mayor Lianne Dalziel,

Your Excellency Ambassador Phillip Gibson,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

I am pleased to meet with you all shortly after taking office in Christchurch. Welcome to today’s reception to celebrate with us the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. I would also take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks and pay high tribute to friends in all circles who have given long-term support to China-New Zealand bilateral friendly cooperation.

Ever since the founding of new China 68 years ago, especially through 39 years of reform and opening-up, China has achieved an unprecedented historical leap in economic, political, cultural, educational and social fields, with its overall national strength increased and people’s living standard improved remarkably. As the world’s second largest economy, China’s GDP in 2016 exceeded 11 trillion USD. China’s contribution to the global economic growth has surpassed 30% on an average annual basis since the break-out of the world financial crisis.

Since the beginning of this year, China's economy has maintained sound and steady performance. The economic growth rate ranks high among major economies with a 6.9% GDP increase for the first half of the year. The Chinese government has been promoting innovation-driven development, pursuing supply-side structural reform, accelerating the shift in development driving forces, and pushing forward economic upgrading. Led by the five concepts of innovation, coordination, green development, openness and sharing, China aims to complete building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2020, and the vast and mature Chinese market will bring unprecedented opportunities to the world.

While speeding up its own development, China has taken a more active part in international affairs, practicing Chinese concepts as well as contributing its wisdom and solutions for global development. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing this May. More than 1600 delegates from over 140 countries including New Zealand and more than 80 international organizations attended. Over 270 outcomes in policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure and facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and strengthened people-to-people bonds have been achieved. In early September, the BRICS summit was convened in Xiamen, injecting vibrancy into the strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of world economy. China would continue to make joint efforts with international community to build a world of lasting peace, common security and prosperity which is also open, inclusive, clean and beautiful.

Ladies and gentlemen,

New Zealand and China are good friends and partners. New Zealand has been a pace-setter among Western developed countries in terms of relations with China. China has become the largest trading partner, largest source of overseas students and second largest source of overseas tourists of New Zealand. Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to New Zealand this March was a complete success with more than 20 cooperation agreements concluded, injecting new strong dynamism to further promoting China-New Zealand Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. During his visit, both sides also reached consensus on initiating negotiation on upgrading our bilateral FTA and signed the MOU on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, adding more “firsts” to our bilateral relations. Both sides will strengthen the docking of development strategies, expand cooperation in such fields as infrastructure, agriculture and animal husbandry, scientific and technological innovation, enlarge cooperation in culture, education, tourism, civil aviation and other areas, so as to constantly consolidate the basis of China-New Zealand friendly cooperation.

Boosted by the continuously deepened bilateral ties, the local-level interactions between China and South Island have been uplifted. During this year, leaders from Hubei, Ningxia, Gansu, Shanxi, Chongqing and Chengdu visited South Island, and officials from Christchurch, Dunedin, and Marlborough paid visits to China. The friendly city cooperation has been further enhanced, with Honghu of Hubei Province reaching consensus with Hunurui to conduct friendly cooperation in April, and Ningxia recently signing an agreement of friendly relationship with Marlborough. Many other provinces and cities in China are also expecting to establish friendly relations with South Island Districts and cities. The quality and efficiency of our bilateral substantive cooperation have been improved and an increasing number of Chinese enterprises have taken interest in investing in South Island. The cooperation between Christchurch International Airport and Alibaba Group will not only facilitate consumption of Chinese tourists, but also provide important business opportunities for New Zealand’s Small and Medium enterprises to explore Chinese markets. The bilateral Antarctica exchanges and cooperation enjoy broader prospects. Chinese icebreaker, Xuelong, is expected to stop over Christchurch in the near future again.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the China-New Zealand bilateral tie. Our relationship is at its best now, with cooperation in various areas reaching unprecedented breadth and depth. As the third Chinese Consul General in Christchurch, I am keenly aware of the great responsibility and glorious mission on myself. Promoting bilateral friendly interactions serves the fundamental interests of both countries, and has become a compelling trend. I will build on the excellent job of my predecessor Consul General Jin Zhijian and continue the pioneering efforts to push the exchanges and cooperation between China and South Island to a new stage. I hope friends from all circles could provide support to our Consulate and myself.

This year also marks the 120th birth anniversary of Rewi Alley. The Gung-ho spirit of "working hard and working together" advocated by Alley still inspires us. I believe, with our joint efforts, we will surely achieve faster progress of bilateral ties and deliver an even brighter future for our two peoples.

The traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is only a few days away. I would send festive greetings to all the compatriots in our Consulate region on behalf of our Consulate. I also hope friends of other ethnicities and cultures share our joy.

Finally, may I propose a toast,

to the thriving prosperity of our two countries,

to the everlasting friendship between our two peoples,

and to good health of everyone present here,


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