Congratulatory Remarks of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. at the Online Reception to Celebrate the 72nd National Day of the People's Republic of China
2021-09-28 11:13

Ambassador Huang Xilian,

Friends in the Chinese community,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It brings me great joy and honor to convey my warmest greetings on the occasion of the 72nd Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. China, on its 72nd year, is a story of a singular purpose realized: the great rejuvenation of a nation that had endured much tribulations during the Qing Dynasty. It started with the Opium War, to stop the addiction, slavery, and misery of the Chinese people by drug dealing European powers, at the same time, the Taiping Rebellion broke out that was put down at the cost of 20 million lives, thus started China's century of humiliation. What followed was unbelievably even worse, invasion and occupation by foreign powers, the last and most cruel that of fascist Japan. At the same time, a civil war of continental scale broke out, ending only with the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in a devastated country of continental proportions.

For over a thousand years, China had been the leading country in the world in terms of wealth, security, and the well-being of hundreds of millions of people. It is also the pinnacle of art, manners, and civilization. I echo President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's congratulatory message for China in achieving its first centenary goal: that of a moderately prosperous society. This was Chinese modesty, hiding its brightening light under a bush. I dare go further and say that China has in fact far exceeded that goal. It has lifted over 800 million people out of poverty and become the 2nd biggest economy in the world, if not the biggest by the time it is done with this pandemic. It has achieved the feat impossible to emulate. It has closed the wealth and power gap with the West. It is reshaping the global economic system towards greater equity and prosperity. No, it is not challenging the West. That might be too modest a goal. It is running a marathon, but not in competition with the West. It is running against its own limitations, to break through them, and exceed them. It is racing against its past, and even against its present to win an even brighter future, with the same rising tide raises all boats, big and small, rich and poor, along the length of the Belt and Road it is building, across the most hidden to neglected parts of the world. It has not kept its economic progress to itself. It does not believe in beggaring thy neighbor. In Chinese fashion, it believes that wealth is not gained by impoverishing others but in helping in making them rich and therefore mutually profitable partners in progress.

The Philippines knows this well. China is consistently one of our top trading and investment partners. It is a trusted supporter of the President's 'Build, Build, Build' infrastructure program, exemplified by the recent completion of the Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge Project under a Chinese grant. In the darkness brought on by COVID, China lit the first light of hope by being the first to help. It gave crucial medical equipment and supplies, shared invaluable insights of its medical teams, donated 2 million doses of vaccines, and facilitated procurement of the same. To date, it has made available 30.5 million doses. It was this early and continuous supply of vaccines that started our vaccination rollout. No doubt, it saved countless lives. Our humble donation in Wuhan last year was reciprocated a thousandfold. As we restart the Philippine economy, in these hard and uncertain times, we can count on China to accelerate our recovery.

China's great rejuvenation cannot be separated from the Chinese Communist Party, which celebrated its hundredth anniversary this year. 100 years going through the massacre in Shanghai, that sent the nascent Red Army on its Long March to glory, and ultimately, to victory of an imperialism and fascism. I recall Chinese President Xi Jinping's declaration at the Party's 19th Congress: "The Chinese Nation is a great nation. It has been through hardships and adversity, but remains indomitable. The Chinese People are a great people. They are industrious and brave, and they never pause in the pursuit of progress. The Communist Party of China is a great party. It has the courage to fight and the mettle to win." The wheels of history roll on. The tides of the times are vast and mighty. History looks kindly on those with resolve, with drive, and ambition, and with plenty of guts. It won't wait for the hesitant, the apathetic, or those shy of a challenge. That is a lesson we would be wise to heed.

On this auspicious occasion, may I invite everyone to join me in a toast, for the good health and continued success of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, for the happiness and well-being of the Chinese people, for the enduring friendship between the Philippines and China. Mabuhay. Cheers!


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