On 9 June 2009, Ambassador Liu Jianchao was invited to a celebration sponsored the Chinese-Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI). In his remarks, Ambassador Liu reviewed the history of China-Philippine relations and thanked consistent and positive contributions by Filipino-Chinese communities including the CFBCI. The Philippine Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and Mayor Alfredo Lim of Manila were present.
Secretary Lapus expressed hope to further strengthen education cooperation between the two countries and put Chinese lessons into curriculums of the Philippine public schools. The celebration participants included the students from Filipino-Chinese schools and Philippine public schools. Local citizens were also invited. The exchange of the Chinese and Philippine national flags and art performances of both countries made the friendship between China and the Philippines an all the more deeply rooted sentiment shared by the two peoples.
Please read the full text of Ambassador Liu’s remarks as follows.
Your Honorable Jesli A. Lapus (Secretary of Education),
Your Honorable Alfredo Lim (Mayor of Manila),
Respectful President Siy Yap Chua,
Respectful Leaders of the Chinese Community,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Boys and Girls,
It is my great pleasure to be invited to this celebration of the 8th Chinese-Filipino Friendship Day, as well as the 34th anniversary of the China-Philippine diplomatic relationship. I want to thank the Chinese - Filipino Business Club, Inc. (CFBCI) and President Chua for spearheading this occasion of harmony and happiness. My thanks also go to all the friends who have in one way or another contributed to the Chinese-Filipino friendship.
While today is celebrated as the 8th and 34th anniversaries, the friendship we are commemorating is actually centuries or a millennium old. Geographically adjoining to each other, China and the Philippines are not only natural neighbors for all ages but also acquaintances and friends for centuries. The root of Chinese-Filipino friendship can be traced back to the years long before 1521, when the Spanish Captain Magellan set his feet on this archipelago. Friendly cooperation and mutual benefit all along feature the history of our exchanges, when Chinese ceramics and silk were traded for Manila indigo, Sulu pearls, and Cebu cotton.
Such a long and harmonious history of exchanges has marked our cultures and values with deep-rooted similarities, laying a foundation, sometimes more solid than we usually recognized, for the Chinese-Filipino friendship. Since the establishment of diplomatic relationship 34 years ago, the two countries have witnessed the fastest growth of our bilateral relations. Our trade volume has increased by more than 300 times since 1975. Chinese tourists to the Philippines increased by 4% last year even at the time of an international economic downturn.
More importantly, there is still a great potential which we could further explore in our bilateral cooperation, including that of education. We are happy to see that consensus has been reached by our education authorities on mutual recognition of college degrees and certificates. The outstanding quality and professionalism of the esteemed Philippine universities and colleges, as well as their exposure to international academia, will definitely attract more Chinese students to come to the Philippines for study or research.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Standing at this podium, facing so many young people, I can not help sharing with you the insight of the late Chinese leader, Chairman Mao Zedong. In 1957, he told a group of Chinese students that, “The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the last analysis, it is yours. You the young people, full of vigor and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine o’clock in the morning. Our hope is placed on you. The world belongs to you.”
The great man has gone, but his wisdom still stands. Born rich or poor, he or she deserves equal access to education, which is surly the most important resource he or she could count on to purse a better life. Today, we are here also to witness the launch of the college scholarship of “Pagharap sa Pangarap” or “Facing a Brighter Future”, CFBCI’s new educational initiative to support the talented but needy Filipino college students. By extending a helping hand, President Chua and other members of CFBCI not only accord indispensable assistance, but open doors of opportunities to these gifted young men and women. Such acts of social responsibility, philanthropy and patriotism deserve our highest respect.
We hope that such initiatives and events like today’s will always be administered as agents of the Chinese-Filipino friendship, and thus unravel new wonders for both China and the Philippines.
Three days later, the Philippines will celebrate the 111th anniversary of Independence Day. For centuries, the Filipino-Chinese have been struggling, fighting and working together with the fellow countrymen for this country’s independence, liberty and prosperity. Taking this opportunity, I would also like to wish the Philippines and its people a long peace, stability and prosperity.
Thank you. Mabuhay.