Respected Members of NZ Parliament, Mr Jamie Strange, Mr David Bennett,
His Worship Mayor Andrew King, Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher,
Waikato Police Superintendent Bruce Bird,
Respected Councilors, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great honor and pleasure to join so many distinguished guests here tonight in celebration of this year's Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the 69th National Day of the People's Republic of China. On this auspicious occasion, please also allow me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate-General in Auckland, our warmest festival greetings and best wishes to all the friends present here tonight, and through you to all the overseas Chinese compatriots, business people and students in Hamilton and our consular district.
Today is a special day. 69 years back from today, Chairman Mao solemnly declared in Beijing the founding of the PRC. This year marks the 46th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand. Over the past 46 years, China-NZ relations have maintained a very good momentum of development, especially after President Xi Jinping's successful state visit to NZ in 2014, which upgraded our bilateral relations to comprehensive strategic partnership. In recent years bilateral relations has been growing very fast in all areas, New Zealand became the first western country to sign the BRI cooperation document with China during Premier Li Keqiang's visit to NZ last year. And many early harvests have been achieved under the Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on strengthening connectivity of policy, trade, infrastructure, financing and people-to-people exchanges, in order to achieve win-win results.
We are faced with tremendous opportunities in developing our bilateral relations. For many years, China is NZ's largest trading partner, largest source of international students and second largest source of tourists. I am very pleased to see that the number of direct flights between China's major cities and Auckland have tripled over past three years, and now there are more than 150 flights back and forth per week at peak time. I am confident it will also come to Hamilton and Waikato, the golden triangle of north Island of NZ.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the friends here and across my consular district for your strong support to China and China-NZ relationship. Chinese Consulate in Auckland covers three most important areas of NZ, Waikato, North land and Auckland. Our job is to promote the pragmatic co-operations and friendship between China and these areas. We are looking forward to working together with you to push forward our win-win cooperation into a new high.
I would also like to thank the Waikato Chinese Culture and Art Centre and Waikato Weekly Chinese Newspaper in collaboration with New Zealand Huaxing Arts Troupe, for their hard work to make this wonderful event possible. This show has become an important annual event in Waikato since 2006. You have not only made contribution to the cultural diversity of New Zealand, but also served as an important bridge in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples.
It is my sincere hope that all the Chinese compatriots will stay in harmony, continue to integrate into the main stream society, and make further contribution to the development of China-NZ relations.
I wish the show a great success and all of you a very happy evening!