Honorable Speaker Jose De Venecia,
Honorable Foreign Secretary Romulo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we are gathering here to warmly celebrate the 57th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Government, I would like to extend warm welcome and sincere thanks to Mr. Speaker and Secretary Romulo and all distinguished guests for presenting at the reception. And my gratitude also goes to the friends from all circles of the Philippine society for your long-standing support to the development of China-Philippine relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Over the past 57 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially from the reform and opening up in 1979, China has undertaken earth-shaking changes. This year, China's economy continues to maintain a sound momentum of rapid development. In the first half of the year, the GDP has reached 9144.3 billion RMB, a rise of 10.9% over the same period of last year. And by the end of July, the foreign reserve has amounted to 954.5 billion US dollars. During the process of the rapid economic development, the Chinese Government is committed to building a harmonious society, narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor and ensuring social justice. China's rapid development, in the final analysis, owes to the correct choice by the Chinese people, of the development path suited to the national conditions. That is the peaceful development road. China's peaceful development road, which breaks a completely new path for mankind in pursuit of civilization and progress, serves the only way for China's modernization and opens the broad road for realizing the national prosperity and people's welfare. China's five thousand years of history and culture of peace determines that the Chinese people need and cherish most a peaceful international environment and China is ready to do its utmost to make great contribution to promoting the common development of the world. Over the past three decades, China's economic development has not only brought about opportunities for the economic development of other countries in the world, but also provided China with more resources to help their development. So far, China has written off the debt of 20 billion RMB for 44 countries, and granted duty free treatment to some commodities of 39 countries. Last year, President Hu Jintao committed on the UN Summit that China would provide preferential loans of 10 billion US dollars for the developing countries within three years, one third of which will be put into use for ASEAN countries. This serves a strong guarantee for furthering China-ASEAN cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
In April last year, Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Arroyo reached consensus on building strategic cooperative relations for peace and development between two countries, setting the orientation for the future development of China-Philippine relations. Under the leadership of the two presidents, the exchanges and cooperation in various areas between our two countries are on the increase. From January to July this year, China-Philippine trade volume reached 12.156 billion US dollars, a rise of 31.6% over the same period of last year, with the Philippine side enjoying trade surplus of 6.1 billion US dollars. The number of Chinese tourists coming to the Philippines during the first five months this year reached 54,533, increased by 50.3%. In addition, the two countries have conducted mutual cooperation in culture, education, sports, jointly combating transnational crimes and coping with non-traditional security threats, and scored remarkable achievements, greatly deepening the understanding and friendship of the two nations.
Undoubtedly, this year is again of great significance in the history of China-Philippine relations. At the end of October, President Arroyo will attend the Commemorative Summit marking the 15th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations in Nanning and pay a working visit to China. In the middle of December, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to come to the Philippines to attend the ASEAN serial Summits and pay an official visit to the Philippines. The mutual visits between the top leaders will infuse new vigor into China-Philippine relations. We are convinced that with joint efforts of our two governments and peoples, China-Philippine friendly cooperation will continue to gain greater progress and achieve new breakthrough, promoting the economic development of the two countries, bringing benefits to the two peoples and making new contribution to the stability and prosperity of the region.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
To conclude my speech, I would like to propose a toast,
To the health of President Arroyo,
To the prosperity and stability of the Republic of Philippines and the People's Republic of China.
To the long-standing friendship between China and Philippines.