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Remarks by Consul General Xu Erwen at the Reception for the 45th Anniversary of China New Zealand Diplomatic Relations in Northland

(From Chinese Consulate General in Auckland)

2017/11/03

(Whangarei, Northland, 30 October 2017)

Respected MP Mr. Matt King,
Respected Chairman of Northland Regional Council, Mr. Bill Shepherd,
Respected Mayors and Councilors,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Afternoon!

First of all, please allow me on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland to extend our warmest welcome to all the distinguished guests present here. Thank you so much for joining us at this event. Chinese Consulate General in Auckland covers three very important regions of New Zealand, namely Northland, Auckland and Waikato. Although our office is physically headquartered in Auckland, our hearts are always with our friends in Northland. This is the second time I visit Northland within three months, which itself reflects the importance we have attached to the promotion of the communication and cooperation between Northland and China. Tonight with me are some of my colleagues from the consulate, deputy consul general, division chiefs of education, culture, local government and economic affairs. In future if you have any questions related to the cooperation with China, please do not hesitate to contact us. I am very much honored and pleased to host this dinner here in the sunshine capital of Northland, just after the successful conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, to talk about the great opportunities this milestone congress provide to the cooperations between China and Northland, New Zealand, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of China-New Zealand diplomatic relations and in promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative. Also present here tonight are some Chinese business representatives in Northland, as well as the whole New Zealand. Such as Carrington Resort, China Forest, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Air China,China Eastern Airline,Southern Airline, Huawei etc. Here I'd like to express my special thanks to NZ-China Tourism and its staff for helping us make this event possible.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries. Over the past four decades our bilateral relations have achieved leap forward development based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. Especially after President Xi Jinping's successful visit to New Zealand in 2014, China-New Zealand relationship was upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership with deepened political mutual trust and enhanced co-operations in all areas.The leaders of our both countries have kept very close communications and dialogues with each other. Upon the recent election of New Zealand new government, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent his warmest congratulations to Rt Hon PM Jacinda Ardern and is looking forward to working together closely with her to enhance dialogues and communications, expand practical cooperation and push the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership to even further heights to better serve the two peoples' well-being. The economic and people to people exchanges and co-operations between our two sides have been growing fast as well. Now China has become New Zealand's largest trading partner, second largest source of overseas tourists, and largest source of foreign students. Our bilateral trade has increased from 7 million US dollars in 1972 when the diplomatic relation was established to 23 billion New Zealand dollars last year, two-way travelers from very few to 500,000, bilateral investment from almost nothing to more than 8 billion USD, and Chinese students studying in New Zealand from very few to 60000. One third of China's imported diary products and 60% imported milk powder are from New Zealand. Now both sides are working hard to reach the goal of 30 billion New Zealand dollars of trade and one million tourists by 2020, which was set by the leaders of both countries. I am confident this goal will be reached on time through our joint efforts, including our friends present here tonight.

New Zealand always stays at forefront in developing relations with China among western countries .This year added another number of firsts in the developing history of the bilateral relationship. New Zealand was the very first to start negotiation on upgrading FTA with China, the first to have two cultural centers within one country in the world and the first western country to sign Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China.Belt and Road is an initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. Later we will watch the video with him explaining the background of the initiative.The Belt and Road initiative means to tap the economic comparative advantages of our partners to achieve win-win results. It is a road of connectivity of policy, trade, financing, infrastructure and people to people exchange based on extensive joint consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit. It is a road to encourage the free and convenient flow of all elements of production, develop multidimensional cooperation platforms, and achieve mutual gains and shared development. Over the past four years, this initiative has gained big attraction and worldwide support. The "friend circle" of the initiative has kept widening. In May this year, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, attended by 29 heads of states and governments and 80 international organizations, 140 countries and achieved 270 deliverables. New Zealand also attaches great importance to the Forum and sent a high level delegation to attend the forum.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The prospect of cooperation between China and New Zealand under the framework of the Belt and Road initiative is significant and the opportunities are huge. We are very confident about China's future's development. The 19th national congress of the Chinese communist which just successfully concluded last week in Beijing has drawn world-wide attention and support. I know our friends present here must be very interested in getting to know this historic congress. This congress will be of great significance for China's future development and far-reaching impact for the whole world as well as New Zealand. President Xi Jinping stated in his report that China has entered into a new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Today's China is closer, more confident and more capable than ever before of making the goal of national rejuvenation a reality. The congress has laid out a clear program of action for China to win the decisive victory to build a better-off society at all aspects by 2020 and a two-stage development goal for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century to develop China into a great modern socialist country:that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. In the new era, China will not close its door to the world; it will only become more and more open. It will continue its peaceful development. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. China will significantly ease market access and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. China will continue to be the anchor of world peace and booster of multilateralism and free trade. We are ready to work together with all the countries, New Zealand included, to build a community of shared future for mankind and new type of international relationship based on mutual respect, fairness and justice and mutual benefit. China is dedicated to making more contribution to the world peace, stability and prosperity, providing more wisdom for global governance and tackling the challenges.

In the next five years or even longer future, China economy is expected to grow at medium and high rate and will continue to be the biggest contributor to the world economic growth as we did contribute 30% to the world economic growth over the past five years. China will import 8 trillion USD and have foreign investment of 750 billion USD, more than 700 million Chinese will travel overseas for sightseeing. In next five years, China will keep on supply side economic structural reform to achieve high quality and efficient development. China and New Zealand's economies are highly complimentary with each other. China's development concept featuring innovation, greenness, openness, coordination and shared development is very in line with that of New Zealand. New Zealand economic growth is mainly driven by export and tourists in which I believe China is playing and will be able to play an more and more important role. Along with the growing population of middle class in China, the demand of high quality product will be greatly increased. China's new era development will provide tremendous opportunities for co-operations between China and New Zealand.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Northland is one of the most beautiful regions in New Zealand. With the joint efforts of both sides, positive progress has been made in the cooperation between cities of Northland and China. Far North has established friendly cooperation relationship with Liaoning province of China. Whangarei and Haikou have been sister cities for many years. The cooperation and communication between two cities in areas of education, culture, arts and economy, have developed rapidly and achieved fruitful outcomes. In August, my colleagues and I paid a visit to Northland and attended the launch of the Northland International Education Strategy 2017-2027. Soon after that, a high-level delegation from Liaoning province paid a visit to Far North to discuss friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with local officials and the related company.

Northland and China have respective advantages of industries, which can form a good complimentarity, and the potential for win-win co-operation is huge. I believe that both sides will grasp the opportunities of the fast growing China-New Zealand relations and the joint construction of the Belt and Road, to promote the cooperation in such fields as tourism, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, fishery, aviation interconnection, education, culture and other innovation oriented sectors, and bring more benefits to peoples of both sides. It is my sincere hope that you will continue to provide welcoming environment for Chinese business people here and favorable policies for them to have cooperation here in Northland to achieve win-win results! Also you are most welcome to visit China to see by your eyes. Seeing is believing. My consulate will try our best to provide our assistance. I am very pleased to inform you that Mayor Phil Goff will lead the largest ever trade delegation in history to China to participate in the tripartite summit in Guangzhou next month with more than 100 people, and Mayor of Waikato is now leading a delegation to China. Mayors of Far North will be traveling to China soon, you are all most welcome.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last but not least, I would like to share with you a touching story about the friendship between our two peoples. This year as we are celebrating 45th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, we are also commemorating the 90th anniversary of the arrival of Mr. Rewi Alley, a great friend of China from New Zealand who supported Chinese people in anti-Japanese aggression during the Second World War, made great contribution to the establishment of the new China, the diplomatic relation between our two countries and to the promotion of the mutual understanding of New China with the rest of the world. He is a household name in China but to me he was a special hero, whom I met when I was a little girl in my hometown kindergarten. I share my story of getting to know this great kiwi friend wherever I go particularly in New Zealand. His great passion for China and China New Zealand friendship has been inspiring me and my diplomatic career. I am so proud and lucky to have that opportunity to have met with him and very blessed to be appointed as the Chinese Consul General to New Zealand which made one of my lifetime dreams come true. Because I always dreamed that if I could do something for Mr. Rewi Alley's home country. As the Chinese Consul General, I think I can do a lot to carry on his legacy to promote the relationship between our two great nations and two great peoples. Chinese people will never forget those friends who support us and help us.

Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you all again for your support to China and China –New Zealand relationship. And wish you a good time tonight! Thank you!

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