Remarks by Consul General Xu Erwen at the Reception Marking the 69th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China
(The Cordis Hotel, Auckland, 28 September 2018)
2018/09/29

Hon Minister Kevin Davis,

Hon Mayor Phil Goff,

National Party President Mr. Peter Goodfellow,

Respected Members of NZ Parliament, Mayors and Councilors,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

It is my great honor and pleasure to host the reception tonight in celebration of the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in this paradise city of hundred lovers and beautiful spring season. At this joyful moment, please allow me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland, our warmest welcome to all the friends present here tonight. Before I officially start my speech, I would like to express my special thanks to the artists of Huaxing arts troupe for their beautiful performance and also want to recognize a distinguished Chinese delegation organized by the National People Congress of China.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is the third time for me to host the National Day reception in Auckland. The number "three" in Chinese culture means "a lot" and “upgraded”. Indeed, more and more friendly exchanges and successful win-win co-operations in various fields, have been emerging and growing within our consular district and NZ each and every day. And many early harvest has been achieved, particularly in area of building one belt one road initiative. I am so happy and so proud to witness these remarkable progress and would like to express my deep appreciation to all the friends and Chinese compatriots in NZ for your valuable support and assistance.

I am so proud of the momentous achievements made over past 69 years by New China. Tonight, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you three major points of “upgraded” with regard to China and our bilateral relationship:

First, China is upgrading into a new stage of reform and opening up.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up which has not only been instrumental to China’s social and economic transformation, but also brought significant benefit to the whole world. Over the past 4 decades, thanks to the reform and open door policy, through the hard work of the Chinese people, China’s economy has been upgraded to the world's second largest economy. From the Asian financial crisis to the international financial crisis, from joining the WTO to putting forward the Belt and Road Initiative, China has brought huge opportunities of development and cooperation to the world to the best of its ability. For many years, China has contributed more than 30 percent to the world economic growth, served as the main stabilizer of world economic growth and positive driving force in the evolution of the international system and global governance.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last October laid out a very clear blueprint for China’s future development by the middle of this century. China is dedicated to work with other countries to build a community with shared future for mankind featuring lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, open, clean and beautiful world. China's door will open even wider to the outside world in the new era just as President Xi Jinping announced at the Boao Forum earlier this year. Reform and opening up is the strategic decision made by China based on its own need for development and concrete action taken by China to move economic globalization forward in a way that benefits the people of the world. We have introduced a host of major steps to deepen reform and opening up including broadening market access, protecting IPR and take initiatives to increase import. In this view, the First International Import Expo in Shanghai is scheduled to take place in November this year, providing more market access for exporters from other countries. China is embracing an open world economy and the rules-based multilateral trading system and rejects protectionism and unilateralism. We strongly believe cooperation is the only way to solve the problems. The increasing progress in the building of the Belt and Road Initiative over the past 5 years is fully reflective of China's solemn commitment to further opening up and consistent pursuit for win-win cooperation based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. Through these new platforms of international co-operation, we hope to create new drivers to power common development. It is my sincere hope that our friends in NZ will grasp the opportunities provided by China’s further reform and opening up.

Secondly, China and NZ bilateral relationship has been upgraded into a stage of deepening comprehensive strategic partnership.

New Zealand has long been a pioneer among western countries in developing relations with China. It is the first western country to recognize China's market economy, to support China’s entry into WTO, to sign free trade agreement and to sign a co-operation document on the Belt and Road Initiative with China. These pioneering “firsts” have brought tremendous benefits to both countries and peoples. Over the past ten years since China and NZ signed FTA, our bilateral relationship has maintained in a very good momentum of development, resulting in the formation of comprehensive strategic partnership during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to NZ in 2014. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to NZ last year generated fresh and strong push to the bilateral relations. The frequent exchange of high-level visits further strengthen our mutual trust and consolidate our bilateral collaborations. NZ’ pioneering policies and efforts have paid off in many areas such as economy, trade, investment, tourism, people-to-people contacts and so on. For many years, China has maintained NZ’s largest trading partner, the largest source of international students, and the second largest source of overseas tourists. Our cooperation and communications have been extended to almost all areas. Over the past ten years, the bilateral trade has been tripled from 8.6 billion NZ dollars to current 27.8 billion NZ dollars. There are now more than 50,000 Chinese Students studying in NZ and more than 580,000 tourists travel both ways each year. 2019 will be China NZ tourist year. I am confident this will greatly promote our tourism cooperation. China and NZ economies are highly complementary with each other. China’s new development concept featuring innovation, coordination, openness, greenness and shared development goes very much in line with that of New Zealand. We are faced with tremendous opportunities in developing our co-operations.

Thirdly, the cooperation between my consulate districts in New Zealand and China is upgraded into a historic high level.

As stated by President Xi four years ago, NZ is the natural extension of the 21st Maritime Silk Road. This shows the huge potential and great prospects for the two countries to advance cooperation, which has already turned into early fruitful harvest as a result of the joint efforts by the two sides.

One emphasis is the issue of connectivity of aviation routes between China and NZ. Given the oceans-distance to each other, building more aviation routes is vital important for BRI construction between our two countries. Just as a famous Chinese saying goes, “to get rich first to build road”. If we want to benefit mutually, we need to build the routes first as solid foundation for future cooperation. Over the past years, my colleagues and I have taken the inter-connectivity of nonstop flights between Auckland and China as the priority of our hard work with friends both in NZ and back In China. So far, I am pleased to see that almost all China’s major airlines and NZ airline have opened direct flights between Auckland and big cities of China, reaching more than 150 flights back and forth per week at peak time, tripled over the past three years. According to Auckland airport, each flight brings about 130-160 million US dollars to Auckland per year in addition to the many jobs generated. More Chinese tourists come to NZ to enjoy the unique beauty of NZ, and more high quality products such as fresh milk, lamb, beef and seafood from NZ go to China to meet the needs of Chinese consumers.

Earlier this year, the NZ-China Council launched a BRI report focusing on future cooperation in four key areas of trade facilitation, gate way to South America, creative sector and innovation, where NZ enjoys comparative advantages. Among them, building the gate way to South America is of special significance to NZ’s sustained prosperity, as it will help create an international hub that not only links NZ to China and Asia Pacific countries more closely, but also connects NZ further to South America. Looking into the future, NZ is very likely to become a new aviation center of the global network, transforming its geographical remoteness in the far Southern Hemisphere into geographical advantage. In next five years, more than 700 million Chinese tourists are expected to travel overseas and among them, more will stop over here in NZ and then travel to South America, South Pacific and Australia. This will form a huge driving force for NZ future economic growth.

The fast growing non-stop flights have greatly facilitated the connectivity of financing, innovation, creativity, infrastructure and people to people exchanges. China's major banks including ICBC, China Construction Bank, Bank of China, the Development Bank have all set up branches or offices in Auckland, supporting trade, people and capital flows between NZ and China. The purchase of Waste Management and Fisher & Paykel Appliances has further increased their shares in the world’s biggest market, providing hundreds of thousands of local jobs for NZ. Co-operations in film production enjoys very good prospect. Auckland’s Lantern Festival celebrating Chinese New Year also draws numerous visitors every year, making it the biggest cultural event in the South Pacific region. The second Chinese Cultural Center in NZ will come to Auckland soon, and NZ thus became the only country in the world to have two Chinese cultural centers. The Chinese Language Week of New Zealand made history again this week. In infrastructure, we are also faced with tremendous opportunities of cooperation.

All these accomplishments highlights the importance and win-win nature of partnership of BRI in facilitating the global network of connectivity. We are committed to working closely with our NZ partners to promote the BRI cooperation so as to reach the lofty objective of building a community of shared destiny for human-kind.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The fast growing bilateral relations and cooperation between China and NZ could not have been accomplished without the support of the Chinese community in New Zealand. I am so proud of my overseas Chinese compatriots who have been so hardworking and so dedicated not only to the economic and social development, but also to the well-being of their local community and disadvantaged people. They also made great contribution to the diversity of culture of NZ, and serve as important bridges in promoting mutual understanding, friendship and economic cooperation between our two countries and two peoples. I want again to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to them for their great support to the work of my consulate. It is also my sincere hope that the whole Chinese community will stay in harmony with each other and continue to make more contribution to the China-NZ relations.

Ladies and gentlemen

As a famous Maori proverb says, with your food basket and my food basket, the people will have enough. The world today needs more cooperation, openness, integration and inclusiveness. The every-growing cooperation between China and New Zealand not only serves the interest of the two countries and two peoples, but also benefits the entire Asia-pacific region and even the whole world. Let us continue working together to push forward the China-New Zealand relations to a new height.

Now I would like to propose a toast,

To better future of the People's Republic of China,

To better future of NZ,

To a better and stronger China-New Zealand relationship,

To the health of all the friends present tonight,

Cheers!

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www.chinaconsulate.org.nz