Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Song Tao at the Reception Celebrating the 7th Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day
(Grand Ballroom, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, CCP Complex, June 9, 2008)

Your Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines,

Honorable Ministers,

Respected Mr. John K. Tan, President of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Incorporated,

Respected Mr. Lucio C. Tan, Chairman Emeritus of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Incorporated,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good Evening,

It is indeed my enormous pleasure and great honor to be invited to this grand gala in celebration of the seventh Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day, coinciding with the thirty third anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines.

On this momentous and auspicious occasion, please allow me to extend my hearty greetings and warmest congratulations to all the distinguished guests present here. I also would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Lucio C. Tan and John K. Tan, respectively Chairman Emeritus and President of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Incorporated and other leading dignitaries of the FFCCCI for their outstanding work that has made this evening's event possible.

Over the last thirty three years, our good-neighborly relationship has become closer and our friendly sentiments deeper with each passing year, owing to the concerted efforts of leaders, governments and peoples of our two countries. On January 24, 2002, Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared June 9 every year as the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Day. It is a marvelous decision full of wisdom and insight, bringing thousand-year-old friendship between China and the Philippines to a historic new height.

Experience of the past serves best as guidance to the future. In the past several years, we have seen rapid developments in various fields between our two countries. Our political ties have been further strengthened. President Arroyo has contributed a great deal to the constant promotion of Filipino-Chinese friendship. We have also witnessed a rapid increase in our bilateral economic cooperation. Our trade volume reached 30.6 billion U.S Dollars in 2007, realizing ahead of schedule the 30 billion U.S. Dollars target set out jointly by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Exchanges in the fields of culture, education and sports between our two nations are on the rise, reaching out to each and every family of the Filipino people. Two thousand Chinese volunteer teachers now are on the Philippine soil spreading the seeds of friendship for our two countries and the people-to-people exchanges between our two countries last year exceeded one million.

Dear friends,

On May 12, 2008, a devastating earthquake hit China's southwestern Sichuan province. Immediately after the catastrophe, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo expressed condolences and sympathy to China and extended respect for the dauntless spirit shown by the Chinese people and admiration for relief efforts of the Chinese government and military, adding that the Philippine government has been more than willing to help the Chinese brothers and sisters in whatever way to relieve their pains and sufferings. On behalf of the Chinese government, please accept my sincere gratitude for the condolences and assistance that the Philippine government and people, as well as Filipino-Chinese community here have kindly offered for China's disaster relief. I want to share with each and every friend this evening the fact that currently the relief work is proceeding in an orderly and effectively way. The Chinese people will ultimately overcome difficulties and prevail over the severe disaster with the strong leadership of the Chinese government.

As Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will grace the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, I want to tell all the friends present here that, while the Chinese Government and people are steadily conquering the massive quake disaster and rebuilding their homeland, China will earnestly fulfill its commitments to the international community and work with the international Olympic family for the success of the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games. Now all the preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games are in full swing, the Chinese government and people are confident to hold unique and excellent Olympic Games. Madame President, Welcome to Beijing.

Dear friends, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has all along been a staunch leader showing a lot of care, help, support and consideration to the Filipino-Chinese community. As head of state of the Republic of the Philippines, President Arroyo has frequently visited the Chinatown in Binondo. I am sure that under the great leadership of President Arroyo, Filipino-Chinese will make greater contributions to the growth and prosperity of the Philippines. And as a bridge for the furtherance of the China-Philippines friendship, the Chinese community in the Philippines will make fresh progress in boosting the friendly relations and exchanges between our two nations.

May the friendship between our two nations last for ever.

Thank you and Mabuhay.

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