Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhao Jianhua at the Reception to Celebrate the 69th Founding Anniversary of The People's Republic of China
2018/09/29

Good evening. A heartfelt welcome to all of you joining us to celebrate the 69th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China!

 

2018 means a lot to China. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's adoption of reform and opening-up policy. During the past four decades, China achieved a marginal 21-time growth of its GDP, from RMB 364.5 billion to RMB 82.7 trillion, while our GDP per capita rocketed to nearly RMB 60000 from only RMB 385, representing an annual growth rate of 9.5%. We have lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty, and poverty headcount ratio has dropped from 97.5% to 3.1%, far below the world's average. The medical and health conditions in both urban and rural areas have been greatly improved and China's life expectancy on average now stands at 76.7 years.

 

Furthermore, China is now home to the largest network of expressway, high-speed rail and mobile broadband services. More than 30% of the world's middle-income group lives in China and that amounts to more than 300 million people. China's current economic aggregate takes up around 15% of the world's total while in 1978 the percentage was only 1.8%. China now contributes more than 30% of the annual global economic growth and plays a crucial role in ensuring economic stability and recovery in the world.  

 

2018 also marks the 5th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by H.E. President Xi Jinping. The BRI has been transformed from blueprint visions into concrete actions in an extensive and expansive manner. The BRI has become a well-received public good for the international community and an important platform for building a community of shared future for mankind. The past 5 years witnessed the Belt and Road, reaching out from the Eurasian continent to Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and South Pacific regions.

 

Up till now, China has already signed agreements on BRI cooperation with more than 130 countries and international organizations. The commodity trade volume between China and BRI-related countries has topped US$ 5 trillion and China has invested over US$ 80 billion in these countries. Under the BRI framework, 82 economic cooperation zones with a total investment of US$ 28.9 billion have been set up in the countries concerned, creating 244,000 jobs for local peoples. China has now become the largest trading partner of 25 BRI-related countries. Moreover, the BRI has managed to synergize in terms of policy and planning with such development strategies of other countries as the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, Middle Corridor of Turkey, Development Road Initiative of Mongolia, Two Corridors and One Economic Circle Plan of Vietnam, the Northern Powerhouse of Britain, and Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia.

 

2018 also celebrated the headway made in China's major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Last April, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech "Openness for Great Prosperity, Innovation for a Better Future" at Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, stressing that China will be firm in adhering to opening up as a national policy and China will never close the door of opening-up, rather opening it even wider. Last June, the 18th Meeting of Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held in Qingdao. The Leaders all agreed to uphold Shanghai Spirit, champion a new type of international relations and  build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, common security and universal prosperity. Last September, 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held. President Xi Jinping and the leaders from African countries met to reiterate the commitment to build a stronger China-Africa community with shared future and map out a new blueprint for China-Africa relations.

 

In the upcoming November, the 1st China International Import Expo will be inaugurated in Shanghai. China will, once again with its real actions, open its market to the world and render firm support to free trade and economic globalization. The Expo will surely promote economic cooperation and trade relations among countries, benefit global trade and world economic growth, and generate a growth of open economy across the world.  

 

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

We should also remember 2018 as a year witnessing a sustained betterment and growth of China-Philippines relations. Under the strategic guidance of our two leaders, China-Philippines relations are moving along the fast track and gearing up for a faster and stronger development.  

 

First, China and the Philippines enjoy a multi-faceted partnership. There have been quite frequent high-level exchanges. President Xi Jinping and President Duterte have met for five times on bilateral or multilateral occasions. We can still recall the successful visits to the Philippines by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and former Vice Premier Wang Yang in 2017. Just more than two weeks ago, H.E. Vice Chairman Ji Bingxuan of National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee wrapped up his fruitful visit to Manila. Over the past two years, a series of dialogue and consultation mechanisms have been revived in areas such as foreign affairs, defense, energy, economy and trade, agriculture, fisheries, science and technology. There have been also increasing  interactions and exchanges between local governments, media agencies, universities, think tanks and cultural institutions. In the meantime, China and the Philippines have maintained good communication and coordination on international affairs. Last August, the Philippines assumed the role of China-ASEAN country coordinator. We firmly count on the Philippines to bring China-ASEAN cooperation and East Asia regional cooperation to a new high.

 

Second, China and the Philippines reap rich fruits of cooperation. In 2017, our trade volume topped US$ 50 billion, which made China the Philippines' No. 1 trading partner and import origin, and the fourth largest export market. Last year, the newly added investment from China reached US$ 53.84 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 67%. For the first five months in 2018, China has made another investment of US$ 165 million in the Philippines, projecting a record-high growth rate this year. China attaches great importance to synergizing the BRI and AmBisyon Natin 2040 as well as "Build, Build, Build" Plan of the Philippines. Considerable progress has been made in this regard. Funded by China's grants or soft loans, the drug-rehab centers, two bridges over Pasig River and Chico River Pump Irrigation Project already broke ground. The two sides are pushing forward more major infrastructure projects such as New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam, Subic-Clark Railway, Philippine National Railways South Long Haul and the Safe Philippines, with a total volume surpassing US$ 7 billion.

 

Third, China and the Philippines bring benefits to our peoples. Since President Duterte took office, China has provided all in all RMB 1.284 billion of grants to the Philippines. For the first seven months in 2018, the Philippines has received more than 760,000 Chinese tourists, achieving a 40% year-on-year increase. We have every reason to expect more than 1.5 million Chinese tourists to visit the Philippines this year and generate a revenue of more than 32 billion pesos. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Whenever the Philippines encounters natural disasters, China has always been among the first to extend a helping hand. In Marawi, China is doing what we can to assist infrastructure building such as roads, bridges and a central market. We are also helping setting up water pumping stations in rural areas. Please always stay assured of China's commitment to help improve livelihood, reduce poverty, assist the needy and realize sustainable development in the Philippines.

 

Fourth, China and the Philippines contribute to regional stability. When counter-terrorism campaign started in Marawi, China lost no time in delivering a batch of military assistance to the Philippines. Our two countries have been working closely to combat illicit drugs, terrorism and cyber-crimes. Thanks to our concerted efforts, the situation in the South China Sea has been defined by sustaining stability. Our two countries initiated such dialogue mechanisms as the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) and Joint Coast Guard Committee (JCGC), and explored practical cooperation in such areas as fisheries, maritime affairs, joint search and rescue, marine scientific research and environmental protection. What we have done showcases that our  two countries have the sincerity, wisdom and capability to properly manage the differences and focus on cooperation, in the purpose of turning South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and prosperity.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The world is undergoing unprecedented major changes. We are living with various intertwined trends of global multi-polarity, economic globalization, IT application and cultural diversity while the peoples around the world are increasingly interconnected and interdependent. China will always stay open and work with all the countries including the Philippines to create opportunities, advance cooperation and share the dividends of development. China will continue to be the Philippines' good neighbor, sincere friend and trusted partner. China stands ready to join hands with the Philippines to make the fresh Golden Age of China-Philippines relations brighter and richer than ever before.

 

On that note, may I now ask you to join me in a toast,

 

To the 69th founding anniversary of the People's Republic of China,

 

To the prosperity of the Republic of the Philippines and the well-being of her people, 

 

To the sustained, sound and stable growth of China-Philippines relations, and

 

To the health of H.E. President Rodrigo R. Duterte and every one present here tonight,

 

Cheers!

 

 

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