Speech by H.E. Zhang Keyuan at the 2011 National Day Reception
（From Chinese Embassy in Malta）
Your Excellency the President of Malta and Mrs. Abela,
It is always a great honor for my wife and I to host the reception to mark the Chinese National Day. I would like to extend our warmest welcome to you all. My welcome also goes to the Artists, who came all the way from Inner Mongolia of China and have just demonstrated us a marvelous performance. Thank you.
October the 1ST this year marks the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. There are a lot to recall for the year of 2011 in China, while three things I believe stand out for me to bring up today.
Firstly, 2011 marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). When founded in 1921, the CPC witnessed a semi-colonized, divided, and impoverished China. In the last 90 years, the party led our fellow countrymen founded the People's Republic of China in 1949, which marked the realization of China's independence. And over the following six decades, particularly since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies in 1978, the CPC has successfully explored a path of socialist modernization and peaceful development for the country. In 2010 the Domestic Gross Product of China reached USD 6.27 trillion which occupies 9.3% of the world's total production. China surpassed Japan and became the second largest world economy in the same year. The Chinese people, once with inadequate food or clothes, are now leading a decent life.
Secondly, 2011 is the beginning year of China's 12th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, which is a general practice in China's economy since 1950s. What is new in the plan is that in the coming five years, China will shift its model of growth to a greener and more sustainable way. The government sets up a GDP growth target at 7% instead of double-digit growth over the past 3 decades. It is shifting to a slower economy that saves more energy, emits less green house gases, and maintain a more efficient and sustainable growth. The government will allocate more taxpayers' money in social security, such as medical care, retirement pensions, housing and financial assistance to the poor, facilities for elders, etc., making sure that all Chinese share the benefits of our development. Last but more important to our trading partners, the new plan encourages more imports than exports, as you can see that China's imports increased consecutively in the last several quarters.
As a result of the new plan, also because of the slowing down of the world economy, China's GDP registered a slower increase of 9.6% in the first half of 2011, down from the previous year's 11.1% percent, pointing to a soft landing.
Thirdly, 2011 is also important to China since this is the 40th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations.
In 1971, China came out of the trade embargo and isolation, which hadn't been her own choice, has gradually become a major player in world affairs, making contribution to peace and stability of the world community, as well as development of the world economy.
In trade, China's import is USD 750 billion every year, keeping 14 million jobs for its trading partners. Since the international financial crisis in 2008, China has taken an active part in the G20's efforts in coordinating world economic policies. Its contribution to the global economic growth was 50% in 2009 and 25% in 2010, according to the World Bank.
In the recent sovereign debt crisis in Europe, Chinese government has stated repeatedly its confidence in European Union and that it will continue its investments in the region. Meanwhile, it is unfair that China is asked for help while she is still under certain sanctions by the EU. China hopes only that she is lifted from the sanctions applied more than 20 years ago which is obsolete since both China and world have changed. My country is asking to be treated just as an equal partner and recognized as a full market economy, nothing more, nothing less.
In safeguarding world peace, China has been following a path of peaceful development and defied the general idea that a rising power is a dangerous one when it becomes strong enough to assert its demands. China is the only country that denounced the first-use of its nuclear weapons against another nuclear or non-nuclear country. With 21,000 personnel on 30 United Nations peacekeeping missions, China is the biggest contributor of peace-keeping forces among 5 permanent members of the Security Council. China has been sending naval fleets to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia for anti-piracy operations.
Ladies and gentleman,
On bilateral front, I want to mention one event in the first place, although there are many bilateral exchanges in the year.
In February as chaos started in Libya when China had more than 36,000 nationals stuck there, I called, under my government's instruction, Amb. John Paul Grech, the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, asking for assistance in the evacuation efforts by the Chinese government. Within 30 minutes, I got affirmative reply from Prime Minister Dr. Laurence Gonzi's government, which I believe has been the fastest decision from any government, even faster than the Chinese bureaucracy. I also recall that a few days later in the middle of the evacuation, when I called upon Prime Minister Gonzi, he said in a apologetic way, that there was something he couldn't deliver, which was a good weather. He was pointing the storm outside his window.
As a result, 5000 Chinese were evacuated smoothly via Malta and went home safe and sound. A friend in need is a friend in deed. I wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, to extend once again our most sincere thanks and appreciation to the Maltese people, as well as each and every government agency for your warm helping-hand and generous big heart at such a crucial moment.
The year of 2011 also witnesses new progress in other fields of China–Malta relations. Our two-way trade in 2010 topped 179 million, up by 45% than the year before, and it reached 98.6 million in the first 5 month this year with Maltese exports to China increased to 30.4 million.
For equally importance, people-to-people exchanges and communications this year at all-levels flourished. There were lively exchange of visits between political parties, parliaments, young students, trade missions, police forces and artist groups, and the list is long.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In January next year, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary on the establishment of our bilateral diplomatic relations. Looking ahead, I have no doubt to say that, China and Malta have set up an example of how diversified countries can get along well, be they differ in size, geography, culture or political systems.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Now I would like to invite you to join me in a toast,
to the health of His Excellency President Abela and Mrs. Abela,
to the friendship and cooperation between China and Malta,