Remarks by H.E. Mr. Zhao Jianhua Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China at the Celebration of the 41st Anniversary of the Establishment of China-Philippines Diplomatic Relations and the 15th China-Philippines Friendship Day

Honorable            Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines,

Mr. Stephen Techico, President of the Filipino-Chinese Association of the Philippines(FFCAP),

Mr. Qu Feng, Head of Delegation of Nanjing Performing Arts Group,

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


   Good evening. Today is a day of "Triple Happiness" as we gathered here to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the establishment of China-Philippines diplomatic relations, the 15th China-Philippines Friendship Day and China's traditional Dragon Boat Festival.

   On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, let me extend my warm welcome to all guests present here today. I would also like to thank FFCAP for their enthusiastic and efficient efforts in hosting tonight's event. Let me extend warm welcome to the artists of Nanjing Performing Arts Group and Filipino artists. I'm sure that their performance will make this evening magnificent and unforgettable. My special gratitude goes to the DFA, which has always been a valuable supporter and thoughtful co-organizer of Friendship Day celebrations.

   Ladies and Gentlemen,

   The friendship between China and the Philippines goes back to ancient times.

   I would like to take the opportunity to tell you the story of Zheng He, who was a Muslim, an explorer, a diplomat, and a fleet admiral during China's early Ming dynasty. He led seven expeditionary voyages to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Western Asia, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433. His command ship stretched 120 meters in length (Columbus's Santa Maria, for comparison, was 26 meters), which carried hundreds of sailors on four tiers of decks.

   Zheng He's fleets visited Mindanao, Brunei, Java, Thailand and Southeast Asia, India, the Horn of Africa, and Arabia. Zheng He presented gifts of gold, silver, porcelain, and silk to his hosts, and received or bought such novelties as ostriches, zebras, camels, ivory, and spices from the places he visited. From his fourth voyage, he brought or invited envoys from over thirty states who traveled together with him or separately to China. During Zheng He's stopovers in Mindanao, he established good relations with the Sultan of Sulu, who later led a delegation of 300 people to visit China in 1417, and was well received by the Ming Emperor Yongle. Unfortunately, the Sultan of Sulu fell sick and died on his way back to the Philippines and was buried in China's Shandong Province. His tomb is still well protected by the Chinese government and the local people nowadays. These are vivid illustrations of the traditional friendship between Chinese and the Filipino people.

   Ladies and Gentlemen,

   If we take history as a mirror, we can not only see the past, but also see the future. China has always been a peace-loving country. China does not have the Original Sin of Major Powers. China is committed to the path of peaceful development and pursues a neighborhood diplomacy that treats neighbors as friends and partners. We have long been engaging in dialogues, consultations and negotiations to peacefully resolve relevant disputes. This commitment is determined by the peace-loving genes flowing in the veins of the Chinese people.

   Since the establishment of the new China, bearing in mind this commitment, China has surveyed and demarcated more than 20,000 km boundary lines with 12 out of its 14 land neighbors, covering over 90% of China's entire land border. The survey and demarcation were done based on historical facts and basic norms of international law through bilateral consultation and negotiation. Moreover, China and Vietnam have clarified the maritime boundary of Beibu Bay through negotiation and consultation.

   As a major country in the region, China knows full well the significance of preserving regional peace and stability and the responsibility on its shoulder. China has never lost sight of the larger picture and has been dealing with the South China Sea issue in a constructive and responsible way. The door for bilateral consultation and negotiation is always open.

   Ladies and Gentlemen,

   A good neighbor is better than a far-off relative. The Philippines is a close neighbor of China. It is natural for the two countries to develop amicable and cooperative relations. As long as we treat each other with sincerity, follow the spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences, there is no obstacle that we cannot surmount, nor dispute that we cannot resolve. We hope that the new government of the Philippines can work with us towards the same direction, properly deal with relevant disputes, put differences under effective management and control, and bring the bilateral relations back to the track of sound and comprehensive development in order to serve the interests of our two peoples.

   Confucius once said, the past can not be retrieved, and the future is yet to come. We hope to work with the incoming government of the Philippines to open a new chapter of bilateral relations. Let's seize the hour, seize the moment and seize the better future.

   I wish tonight's performance a complete success.

   China and the Philippines enjoy lasting friendship and shared prosperity.

   Thank you and mabuhay!

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