Welcome Remarks by Chargés d'Affaires Tan Qingsheng at the Reception Celebrating the Chinese New Year
Peninsular Hotel Manila, 8 February 2018

It gives me great pleasure having so many friends tonight to celebrate with us the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival. First and foremost, I would like to, on behalf of H.E. Ambassador Zhao Jianhua and my Embassy colleagues, extend our heartfelt greetings and best wishes to you all for another prosperous year and every success in your undertakings.


The year 2017 stood out as a milestone in China's history. In October 2017, the Communist Party of China (CPC) successfully held its 19th National Congress, elected a new central leadership with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, and opened up a new chapter of building China as a great modernized socialist country. The 19th CPC National Congress has also immensely enhanced cohesion and solidarity of the Chinese as a people.


The year 2017 witnessed the Chinese economy achieving another positive and steady progress. China's gross domestic product (GDP) reached RMB 80 trillion yuan (USD 12.3trillion) in 2017, representing a year-on-year increase of 6.9%. China's GDP accounted for 15% of the world's aggregate GDP, and contributed more than 30% to the global economic growth. China has been committed to upholding a new philosophy of development and ensuring constant improvements in the quality, effect and structure of its economic growth. China's high-speed rail, Ali-Pay, e-commerce and app-shared bicycles, also known as China's "four great inventions" in modern times, are helping shape the global economy and way of life of the people all around the world.


The year 2017 will also be remembered as a year of achievements for China-Philippines relations. H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Rodrigo R. Duterte had two successful meetings in Beijng and in Da Nang, Vietnam. Last November, H.E. Premier Li Keqiang paid his first official visit to the Philippines and attended the annual Leaders' Meetings for East Asia Cooperation held in Manila. These frequent high-level exchanges between our two countries have seen to it that China-Philippines relations always stay on a sustained and sound track.


Based on China's statistics, the trade volume between our two countries hit USD 50 billion and China imported 1 million tons of tropical fruits from the Philippines in 2017. China has become the largest trading partner of the Philippines. In 2017, nearly 1 million Chinese tourists visited the Philippines, achieving a 43.3% marginal increase. Now China has already stood as the second largest source of tourists for the Philippines. There are already about 300 flights shuttling between China and the Philippines each week.


As one of the Philippines' important partners for development, China has been working hard to synergize the development strategies of our two countries, render support, to the best of our capacity, to the Philippines' efforts in combating drugs, fighting against terrorism, developing infrastructure and bettering disaster relief. I have every reason to believe that China's development will bring forth more and better opportunities for the Philippines' future growth and the development of our bilateral relations will deliver more tangible benefits to the Philippine people.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Looking ahead, the year 2018 will be a critical juncture when we Chinese people put into practice the grand ideas and goals set out at the CPC 19th National Congress. We Chinese will also celebrate 2018 as the 40th anniversary of the adoption of reform and opening-up policy. China will staunchly stick to the path of peaceful development, remain committed to an opening-up strategy of mutual benefit, and advance the Belt & Road Initiative in a steady manner. China will, of course, continue to deepen relations with its neighbors, the Philippines included, while honoring the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. China will strive to build a China-ASEAN community of shared destiny with ASEAN member states and promote regional prosperity, stability and development.


While bidding farewell to Year of Rooster, we shall expect more in Year of Dog. China-Philippines relations have already entered a fresh Golden Era. I am convinced that, with consensus between our two leaders and joint efforts of our two peoples, China-Philippines relations will embrace a steady and sustained growth in a long run and open up an even brighter vista. The Embassy will do our utmost in honoring the consensus between our leaders and carrying forward our bilateral relations.


The Embassy will also continue to implement the guiding principle of executing diplomacy for the interest of the Chinese people, vigorously support the development of overseas Chinese communities, well safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and enterprises, and actively serve our compatriots working and living here in the Philippines. In a word, your back will be always watched by your country, and the Embassy will always be the one you turn to for help.


On that note, may I propose a toast:


To the everlasting prosperity of the People's Republic of China,


To the bright future of China-Philippines relations,


To the health and happiness of you all.


Happy Chinese New Year!


Cheers! Mabuhay!

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