Building the Bridge of Understanding and Friendship Between China and the Philippines in the New Era
——Address by H.E. Ambassador Huang Xilian at the Awarding Ceremony of the First APPCU

Hon. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former President of the Republic of the Philippines and Chairman Emeritus of Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU),

Hon. Raul Lambino, Chairman of APCU,

Hon. Jefferey Ng, President of APCU,

Hon. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, former First Lady of the Republic of the Philippines,

Hon. Francis Chua, former Special Envoy of the Philippines to China and Founding Chairman of the Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce,

Other distinguished awardees,

Dear friends,

Ladies and gentleman,

Good afternoon! Magandang hapon!

I am delighted to join you in this awarding ceremony of the first Award for Promoting Philippines-China Understanding (APPCU). On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend heartfelt appreciation to the ten awardees for your immense contributions to promoting mutual understanding and friendship between China and the Philippines. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to the colleagues of APCU for organizing this momentous event.

Announced by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and former President Arroyo last January, and jointly set up by Chinese Embassy in Manila and Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU), APPCU aims to recognize those who have contributed to promoting mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries and encourage our two peoples to enhance mutual trust, scale down differences, boost affinity and prompt collaboration.

It is mutual understanding that lays a solid foundation for all-round integration. China and the Philippines share a millennium history of friendship and cooperation. Generations of wise and brave predecessors initiated trade and people-to-people bonds between China and the Philippines. In the early 1500s, the great Chinese navigator Zheng He led a huge delegation and made multiple visits to the Manila Bay, Visayas and Sulu Archipelago on his seven overseas voyages seeking trade and friendship. During the same period, the East King of Sulu Paduka Pahala made a return and goodwill visit to China. These are a few of the many extraordinary representatives of our two peoples sharing the common aspirations of living in peace and harmony. Looking back at history, we will find that our two peoples have such natural aspirations to know each other and develop friendship. Today, we should inherit and carry forward the spirit of our ancestors to continue this journey of mutual understanding and friendship.

During the past few years, under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Duterte, China and the Philippines have witnessed another golden era of bilateral relations, as well as the establishment of a comprehensive strategic cooperative relationship, which has brought tangible benefits to our two peoples and contributed to the peace and stability of the region. As the progress and development of our two countries are closely intertwined and the people-to-people bonds reach renewed heights, it is an auspicious time to launch APPCU, which endeavors to inject additional dynamism into building a more comprehensive China-Philippines partnership in the new era.

To increase mutual understanding, we should open hearts to each other. As a Chinese saying goes, "Only heart-to-heart exchanges can last long." To that end, we need to raise awareness, reduce misinterpretation, manage differences, and promote bridges of understanding and cooperation. China and the Philippines have great potential for cooperation in the field of people-to-people and socio-cultural exchanges, and there are still much for the two peoples to learn about each other. Like in any relationship, certain misunderstandings and differences are bound to be, but the longer lasting memories are the joys of overcoming the trials together and enjoying the fruits of cooperation together.

I am pleased to learn that the recipients of the first APPCU have passionately devoted years to the promotion of Philippines-China friendship. In various sectors such as education, media, culture, social activities and public services, they have dedicated theirs lives to the improvement of China-Philippines relations and embodied the goodwill of our two peoples for each other. Thanks to their efforts, Chinese and Filipinos can better understand each other, more bridges are built to support friendship,  and foundations are strengthened for  a more holistic development of bilateral relations.

This year marks the 20th China-Philippine Friendship Day. President Xi Jinping and President Duterte, in their phone conversation last month, have reached important consensus on the future development of the bilateral relations. President Xi pointed out that China attaches great importance to relations with the Philippines and supports the Philippine side in firmly upholding an independent foreign policy of peace. China is ready to deepen friendship and mutual trust with the Philippines, stay committed to good-neighborliness and friendship, and keep bilateral relations on the right track to achieve peace and long-term development.

The friendship and peace between the nations lie in the bonds of the people. With the support from friends who are here with us today and many more-at-large in society, APPCU will build a more vibrant and dynamic bridge of understanding and friendship between China and the Philippines in the new era.

To conclude, I wish to once again express my high respects to all the recipients of the first APPCU, as well as all those who have long committed to promoting mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries. I hope to see more and more awardees of APPCU in the years to come.

Thank you and Mabuhay!

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