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Chinese Consul-General Lei Kezhong's Speech at 2017 Chinese New Year Reception

(From Chinese Consulate General in Perth)

2017/01/24

Hon Barry House, President of the Legislative Council, Western Australia,
Hon Dr Mike Nahan, MLA, Treasurer, Minister for Energy, Citizenship and Multicultural Interests,
Ms Margaret Quirk;MLA,Shadow Minister for Multicultural Interests, Representing the Leader of the Opposition,
The Right Hon the Lord Mayor Ms Lisa Scaffidi,
Chinese Communities, Chinese Students and Chinese Companies in WA,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening!

We gather here tonight to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, the year of the Rooster, which starts from Saturday, two days after the Austrlian Day. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate-General and my wife, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you to our Consulate. And I wish you a very happy Spring Festival, good health, and happiness in the new year.

Consul-General Lei Kezhong Delivers a Speech at 2017 Chinese New Year Reception

For the Chinese people, the year of 2016 is extraordinary and unforgettable. We have made considerable achievements in reform and development in all fields. And China's GDP grew by 6.7%. Since the outbreak of the international financial crisis, China has contributed to over 30% of global economic growth each year on average.

In 2016, China's diplomacy achieved fruitful results. We hosted successfully the G20 Hangzhou Summit; the projects under "The Belt and Road" Initiative have been going on smoothly, China has signed cooperation agreements on the Initiative with more than 40 countries and international organizations, and over 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their willingness to support and join the Initiative; the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank has begun operation, and the first group of projects financed by The Silk Road Fund have been officially launched. Last year we also held grand ceremonies to mark a series of important events including the 95th anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China, and the 80th anniversary of the triumph of the Long March by the Red Army. In the new year, we will remain committed to our mission and continue to forge ahead.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Australia is a major country on the route of China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and also an important share-holder of the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank. There is broad room for our cooperation opportunities in Asia. With the implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, as well as the alignment of China's Belt and Road initiative with the Vision on Developing North Australia, there will be more prospects for cooperation between us. This year is the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia, and also the year of Tourism between our two countries, I believe by working together we will usher in a great chapter of relations between us.

Dear friends,

Western Australia has been playing a leading role in China-Australia cooperation. For many years, China has been WA's largest trading partner, No 1 source of import and export market. From 2015 to 2016, our bilateral trade volume stood at 58.4 billion AUD . About 82 per cent of WA's iron ore export went to China, with a total volume of 633 million tons. Meanwhile, bilateral exchanges and cooperation between us in agriculture, education, culture, tourism and innovation have been increasingly strengthened. Hereby, I'd would like to thank our friends in WA as well as the local Chinese, Chinese students and Chinese companies in WA for their efforts and contributions in connection with the development of our bilateral relations. I'm looking forward to working with our friends from all sectors of WA to further promote our relations.

It is worth mentioning that, with the support of the State Government, the Multicultural Affairs Office of WA will be organizing a series of cultural events celebrating 2017 Chinese New Year and we appreciate it very much. In order to show our support for the event, we have specially ordered by air freight from Beijing a number of red lanterns and Chinese knots and we will donate them to the State Government. We hope these Chinese items will add some color to this Festive Season.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends,

2017 will be a crucial year in China's development. In the latter half of this year, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held. And China's 13th Five-Year Plan will be in full swing. In terms of our diplomatic agenda, in May this year, China will host in Beijing the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which aims to enhance the complementarity of our development strategies and push for more cooperation projects to add robust impetus to global economy. The Ninth BRICS Summit will be held in Xiamen later this year where the BRICS countries will plan for its future development, deepen solidarity and cooperation with emerging markets and developing countries. In the mean time, serving the people is the very purpose of China's diplomacy and we will remain true to this mission. We will do our best to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and business overseas .

Finally, I'd like to propose a toast,

To the friendship between the people of our two countries,

To the exchange and cooperation between China and Western Australia,

To the health and happiness of our friends present here,

Cheers!

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