General Manager Mr. Bruno Dubois,
Skipper Charles Caudrelier,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to be invited to this brilliant event, enabling me and my colleagues to meet such a wonderful and passionate Dongfeng Race Team, crew members and Chinese compatriots. It is a real treat for all of us. And it is the first time for me and my colleagues to have the opportunity to join in the sailing race, which we are very much looking forward to for a long time.
I have learnt that it is the second time for Dongfeng Race Team to participate in the world renowned Volvo Ocean Race. In the 2014-15 Edition, you wrote a new chapter in the history of Chinese offshore sailing with a podium finish, and you have done an excellent job in the past 6 Legs and various in-ports contests in this Edition, ranked second on the main scoreboard.
At this outset, I would like to extend my congratulations for your triumph in the Auckland in-port race last Saturday and my warmest welcome to you visiting Auckland, the capital of a thousand sailing lovers in Maori. And I bet for most of you it is not the first time to be here, since Auckland has been selected as a host city 10 times during the 40 years' history of the Volvo Ocean Race, which makes it the most frequent ones.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the following points:
Firstly, China has a decade long history with the Volvo Ocean Race. Back in the 2008-09 Edition, China started to host the Race in Qingdao, which happens to be a sister city of Auckland. Since then more and more Chinese sailors, companies and teams took part in this game, and the enthusiasm and attention to this sport are flourishing across my country.
Secondly, China has strong bond with the city of Auckland and this harbor. It is in this harbor that we welcome Chinese ships, including navy fleets, research vessels, etc. It was in this harbor that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang took a special tour when he visited Auckland last year. Sailing in the Pacific Ocean, he was deeply impressed by the stunning sceneries and the splendid future of Trans-Pacific communication and cooperation between China and New Zealand. Up to now, Auckland has established three pairs of sister-city relationship with China, namely Qingdao, Ningbo and Guangzhou which all are well-known for sailing and maritime industry. This time, the Dongfeng Race Team has accomplished the 6th Leg from Guangzhou, Hong Kong and all the way to Auckland. This route is quite similar to that of the Maritime Silk Road. As you know, Guangzhou was the cradle of ancient Silk Road and the open port connecting China with different parts of the world since ancient times. New Zealand is the natural extension of 21st Maritime Silk Road. Following the 21st Maritime Silk Road, the Dongfeng Race Team is acting as a great messenger of friendship and cooperation between the two cities and two peoples.
Thirdly, China has close ties with New Zealand. China maintains to be New Zealand's largest trading partner in goods, largest source of international students, and second largest source of overseas tourists. Chinese have been working and living in this country since long time ago, and has developed into the second largest ethnic groups. In recent years we have witnessed the fast growth of friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation in various fields between China and New Zealand. The fact that we have a Kiwi crew member in the Dongfeng Race Team is an example. I believe that through the joint efforts by the two countries and two peoples, we will be able to further advance our exchanges and cooperation just the same way as our sailors do, stimulating the potential of our trans-pacific friendly relationship and achieving more early harvest in One Belt and One Road constructions.
At last, please allow me to conclude by expressing my appreciation to General Manager Mr. Bruno Dubois, Skipper Charles Caudrelier, and others for your assistance to the Chinese sailors, and my appreciation to the Dongfeng Motor Corporation for your contribution of promoting sailing as a sport in China.
Once again, Good luck in the following competitions!