Hon.Nigel Haworth, President of Labour Party,
Hon. Under Secretary Mr. Michale Wood,
Hon. Mr. Alfred Ngaro,
Hon. Mayor Phil Goff,
Respected Members of Parliament,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen:
Welcome. Thank you for joining us tonight in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The Spring Festival is the most important and most traditional festival in China. It symbolizes reunion, happiness and hope, in particular, the year of dog means in Chinese “旺旺年” which stands for prosperity and good luck. At this joyful and auspicious moment, I would like to express, on behalf of the Chinese consulate general in Auckland our warmest greetings and best wishes to the guests present here tonight, and through you to all the friends including our Chinese compatriots, business people, students, and media in the consulate district and NZ, for a very happy and prosperous New Year!
At this festival occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you all and friends from all walks of life in New Zealand, for your great support to the development of China and China New Zealand relations as well as the Chinese communities in New Zealand. over the past year!
The year 2017 was a significant year for China, great achievements were made by china at all respects. Today, I would like to share with you some of the highlights.
First, we successfully held the 19th National Congress of the CPC, embarking on a road towards the all-round building into a strong socialist country by the middle of this century that is prosperous, strong, democratic, cultural advanced, harmonious and beautiful. At the congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping stated that China has entered a new area of socialism with Chinese characteristics and emphasized that, the CPC strives for the well-being of the Chinese people and progress of entire-humankind. He also declared to the world that China will stay committed to peaceful development and to a win-win strategy of opening up. China is ready to share its development dividends and achieve common prosperity with all other countries. China has the resolve and confidence to explore a way building a great country that is different from the one followed by the traditional powers. The mission of China’s diplomacy at the new area has been identified, that is work with all other countries to forge a new form of international relations, based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation and to build a community of shared future for mankind featuring enduring peace, universal security, common prosperity, openness, inclusiveness , clean and beautiful world .
Secondly, we successfully held the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. and achieved over 270 outcomes. The belt and road is a road of connectivity of policy, trade, financing, infrastructure and people to people based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit. it is aimed at providing the world public good and platform for open, transparent and inclusive co-operation. Geopolitical contest and zero-sum game is neither our purpose nor our practice. Up till now, more than 100 countries and international organizations have participated in this Initiative and 80 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China. More than $50 billion were invested and 200000 jobs were created on the projects with the framework of the belt and road initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative has become the largest platform for international cooperation and a most welcomed international public good in the world.
Thirdly, China's GDP reached $13 trillion, an increase of 6.9 % year on year or in other words, China grew by a middle-sized economy last year. contributing 30% to world economic growth , exceeding the combined total of the United States, Europe and Japan. China registered an outbound direct investment of $120 billion and imports of $1.9 trillion , thus providing a vast market, investment and development opportunities for other countries. According to statistics from research institutions, China's e-commerce accounts for 40 percent of the world's total. at the same time we also achieved a lot in science and technology such as in quantum science,space technology,aircraft carrier and bullet trains etc.
Fourthly, China’s reform measures brought more substantial benefits to the people. Over 13 million new jobs were created, another 10 million people were lifted out of poverty. 900 million people have been covered by the social old-age pension, while 1.35 billion people have gained access to basic medical insurance. China actively responded to the climate challenge, vigorously promoted an ecological civilization, and achieved remarkable progress in pollution prevention and control.
China is emerging as the most positive factor in the evolution of the international system and the most dynamic force for improving global governance. The Chinese dream is increasingly linked with the dream of the world. China remained committed to providing solutions for global problems. We also explored the avenue to advance our mutual beneficial relations with others countries. China's preference for dialogue and partnership over confrontation and alliance has created greater resonance, which opens up exciting possibilities for this new approach to state-to-state relations.
As for China-New Zealand relations, the year 2017 was of special significance. We held a serious of celebrations and commemorations both in China and New Zealand on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-NZ diplomatic relations and the 90th anniversary of the arrival in China of Mr. Rewi Alley, the great Kiwi friend of the Chinese people. The successful visit to New Zealand by Premier Li Keqiang last March created more “firsts” in our bilateral relations, such as the agreement reached on the belt and road which made New Zealand become the first western country to sign the cooperation agreement with china. Currently China maintains to be New Zealand’s largest trading partner, largest source of international students, and second largest source of overseas tourists.
In our consular district, the down to earth co-operation with China has been upgraded to a historic level, witnessing a massive upsurge in the cooperation of aviation connectivity, trade, tourism, cultural exchanges, education and other fields. The direct flights back and forth between China’s major cities and Auckland have exceeded more than 150 per week, and more cities were added to have direct flights with Auckland. Up now 8 Chinese and one New Zealand airlines have opened direct flights between china and Auckland.
The year 2017 was a shining year for our Chinese compatriots, students and business people in New Zealand. They not only made great contribution to New Zealand political, economic and social development, the diversity of culture ,but also to the development of the bilateral relations between China and New Zealand. They warmly welcomed Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to New Zealand, and were actively involved in many other friendly exchanges between the two peoples and two countries. At this special occasion. I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks for their good efforts and contribution!
Looking forward to the New Year, we are full of confidence. 2018 will be the first year following the 19th CPC National Congress. And it also marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up policy. The reform and opening up policy is the only way for china’s future development and for china to realize its dream of national rejuvenation. China will continue to deepen its structural economic reform ,putting more emphasis on quality and efficient development, We will accelerate the building of an innovative country, adopt policies to promote high-standard trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and substantially relax restrictions on market access. China will continue to be the anchor of the world peace ,contributor to the world growth and keeper of the international order.
In the future, China will have an even larger market and more comprehensive development. It is estimated that in the next 15 years, China will import US$24 trillion worth of goods, attract US$2 trillion inbound direct investment and make US$2 trillion of outbound investment. In November, 2018, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, which will provide a new platform for expanding cooperation in China's market among all parties. We sincerely welcome New Zealand friends to attend the Expo.
In 2018, china and New Zealand relations are faced with great opportunities. Our two economies are highly complimentary with each other. China is carrying out the new development concept featuring innovation, coordination, openness, greenness and shared development which is very much in line with those of New Zealand. New Zealand economy is mainly driven by export in which china plays a vitally important role. China accounts for 20% of New Zealand import and export. Along with the increase of China’s middle class which is close to 400 million and the continued implementation of people oriented policy, it is believed that both sides will benefit from the fast growing cooperation in the fields such as tourism, primary industry, aviation interconnection, energy conservation, environmental protection, food safety, information technology, infrastructure, and so on. It is my hope that New Zealand will grasp these opportunities to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries based on mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation.
My Consulate will continue to provide efficient and high-quality consular services, further improve the well-being of our Chinese compatriots in the consular districts, and protect the lawful interest for Chinese nationals in New Zealand. It is hoped that overseas Chinese will be united closely as one, to play a constructive role in promoting bilateral cooperation and friendly exchanges. Once again, my very best wishes to you all for a very happy and prosperous New Year! Thank you!