Remarks by Ambassador Ni Jian at the National Day Reception
Your Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan,
Your Excellency Suhail Al Mazrouei,
Your Excellency Dr. Maitha Al Shamsi,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us tonight in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 35th anniversary of the establishment of China-UAE diplomatic relations.
70 years after the new China was founded, the Chinese people put an end to their long sufferings, stood up, and grew in wealth and strength by leaps and bounds. They are now marching in a new era toward the bright prospects of great national rejuvenation.
Over the 70 years, tremendous changes have taken place in China. China has not only succeeded in providing for the basic needs of its people, but also became the world’s second largest economy. China not only ended the scourge of war and poverty, but also found a path suitable to its development. China has not only actively integrated itself with the world, but also made outstanding contributions to world peace and prosperity.
Progress is being made in China with each passing day. Every day China is dedicating and showing the world new figures of development and new speed of advance. These figures elaborate how China has re-written numerous records and created numerous ‘firsts’.
• China’s GDP grew from 220 billion USD to nearly 1.4 trillion USD over the past 40 years, an annual growth of 9.4% on average, making China the world’s second largest economy.
• For many consecutive years, China has contributed over 30% to world economic growth, more than any other country.
• China’s GDP grew by 6.6% in 2018, which is the fastest among the world’s top five economies.
• China’s foreign trade in 2018 totaled over 4.6 trillion USD, an increase of 12.6%, consolidating China’s position as the world’s largest goods trader.
• China’s poverty rate in rural areas falls to 1.7% in 2019. Over the past 40 years, more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, contributing to 70% of the world’s poverty-reduction efforts.
• 129 Chinese companies have made it to the latest Fortune 500 list, more than any other country in the world.
• As the world’s largest investor in clean energy, China has the world’s largest installed capacity of hydro, wind, solar and nuclear power.
• China’s high-speed railway runs over 29 thousand kilometers, accounting for more than two thirds of the world’s total.
• China is the world’s largest source of outbound tourists, with nearly 170 million tourists last year spending 258 billion USD overseas, more than the total of the world’s second and third place combined.
These figures are just a snapshot of contemporary China’s progress. As China’s development enters a new era, China’s links with the world has also taken a historic change. As Chinese President Xi Jinping aptly pointed out, “world prosperity and stability is an opportunity for China; China’s development is also an opportunity for the world.” Over the 70 years, China has developed its own traditions of diplomacy with Chinese characteristics featuring independence, peaceful development and win-win cooperation. China has also proposed a series of new concepts, propositions and initiatives setting the trend for human progress. The Belt and Road Initiative has become the world’s largest cooperation platform and most popular public goods. Over 160 countries and international organizations have signed Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China, and a large number of cooperation projects have been launched. This initiative has opened up new space for global economic growth, built new platforms for international trade and investment, offered new ways for improving global economic governance, and made new contributions to improving people’s lives in all countries.
China is now the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget. Among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China contributed the largest number of peacekeepers. For the past 10 years, Chinese naval vessels have ensured the safe passage of more than 6600 ships by carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast. Over the past decades, China has built over 300 schools and hospitals in Africa, and dispatched 20 thousand medical workers who have treated more than 200 million patients. From the nuclear issue of Korean Peninsula to the nuclear issue of Iran, from the issues of Myanmar to Afghanistan and counter-terrorism, China has taken part in the settlement of almost all international and regional hotspot issues. As an active player in the reform of global governance system, China has joined nearly all the important intergovernmental organizations and signed over 300 international treaties.
The changes we are encountering today are never seen in the past hundred years. Our world is at a crucial crossroad. A growing China should and will make greater contributions to mankind. We will continue to build a community of shared future for mankind and a new type of international relations. While pushing forward with the Belt and Road cooperation, we will firmly uphold the global free trade system and strive for an open world economy. We will contribute more China’s wisdom and China’s proposals to the reform of global governance system, in order to make the world a better place of lasting peace. China has no intention of challenging or overtaking anyone’s place, nor will China seek hegemony as it grows stronger. China will always be a firm guardian of the international order and stand together with developing countries to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of people across the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
President Xi Jinping said: “Happiness is achieved through hard work.” The Founding Father of the UAE, President Sheikh Zayed also said: “Man is mortal, but his work is not. Therefore, work is greater than wealth.” We are thankful that alongside China’s journey of hard working and striving, we have such a good friend and travel companion as the UAE, who shares our beliefs and aspirations.
This year also marks the 35th anniversary of China-UAE diplomatic relations, a time of special significance for both of us to build on past achievements and look forward to the future. The past 35 years have also witnessed China-UAE relations growing through thick and thin, from strength to strength. China-UAE relationship has never been so deep and broad as it is today. The achievements of our relations are unprecedented.
In recent years, China-UAE high-level exchanges are frequent, and our political and strategic mutual trust is deepening. July last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to the UAE, elevating our bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. April this year, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum visited China and attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Not long ago, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan paid a successful state visit to China and concluded many important cooperation agreements. The exchange of state visits between our top leadership within a year marks a milestone in the development of our bilateral relationship, characterized by its high standards and special significance. China-UAE relationship has entered a “Golden Era”.
China-UAE trade and economic cooperation has many highlights, and our Belt and Road cooperation is taking solid steps. Our bilateral trade volume in 2018 increased by 12% and reached 46 billion USD, making China the largest trading partner for the UAE for many consecutive years. The UAE maintains its status as China’s second largest trading partner and top export market in the Middle East. From upstream exploration to downstream refinery, Chinese and Emirati energy companies are joining hands to forge a strategic partnership across the value chain. Big cooperation projects such as Khalifa Port Container Terminal and China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone are going smoothly. All Big-Four Chinese state-owned banks have set up branches in the UAE. RMB clearing business is growing rapidly. Chinese companies are actively participating in Etihad Rail, 5G telecommunications network, Expo 2020 Dubai and other infrastructure development, making their contributions to the regional connectivity.
China-UAE cultural and people-to-people exchanges are thriving, and our hi-tech and educational cooperation is emerging. The UAE hosts the largest number of Chinese businesspeople, workers and tourists in the Middle East. Over 200 thousand overseas Chinese are working and living in the UAE. They have made great dedications to the UAE’s economic development and forged profound friendship with the UAE people. Over 1.1 million Chinese tourists visited the UAE in 2018. There are over 150 commercial flights every week connecting different cities in our countries. The UAE Youth Ambassadors Program has organized Emiratis students to visit China for several consecutive years. More and more Chinese students are coming to the UAE for further education. Our two countries are deepening cooperation in cutting-edge areas such as artificial intelligence, gene technologies and modern agriculture. The “Chinese Fever” is still on the rise, as the initiative of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to teach the Chinese language in 200 UAE schools is gradually becoming a reality. Our plan to open a Chinese Cultural Center in the UAE is also in progress.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a Chinese proverb goes, “a true partnership defies geographical distance, as it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone.” Both the Chinese and Emirati people are dream chasers. We work hard, we innovate, and we never give up. We share the same development paths, visions and goals. This year is the “Year of Tolerance” in the UAE. The harmonious coexistence of all peoples and religions in the UAE is a vivid manifestation of a community of shared future for mankind, an idea proposed by China. Today is also a remarkable date for Major Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut who has just embarked on a historic journey to explore outer space. I express my best wishes for his mission to be a complete and great success. As long as we join hands and work together with one heart, we will certainly make greater achievements, embrace brighter futures, and deliver more and more tangible benefits to our two peoples and the people all over the world.
In conclusion, I wish my great country a happy birthday! May the friendship between China and the UAE last forever! May our two great countries prosper and peoples live in happiness! May all the guests here tonight be in good health and success!