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Remarks by Consul General Xu Erwen at the Welcome Dinner for Joint Forum on One Belt One Road by Auckland Confucius Institute and New Zealand China Council

(From Chinese Consulate General in Auckland)

2017/10/28

(October 26th 2017, Northern Club, Auckland)

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jenny Dixon,
Mr. Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the New Zealand China Council,
Deputy Party Secretary Yuan Zhenghong of Fudan University,
Directors of the Confucius Institutes in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand,
Coordinators of the Confucius Classrooms in Australia, Cook Islands and Vanuatu,
Delegation from Hanban, Confucius Institute Headquarters,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to attend the welcome dinner hosted by the University of Auckland. And I am also very pleased to see so many directors of Confucius Institutes, coordinators of Confucius classrooms for the 2017 Joint Conference of Oceania Confucius Institutes, and experts and scholars from Fudan University attending Belt and Road Initiative Forum co-organized by Confucius Institute in Auckland and New Zealand China Council. As Confucius once said: "How delightful it is to have friends from afar!" On this joyful moment, please allow me on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland, to extend my warm welcome to friends from the Oceania and China and my congratulations to the opening of the Conference and the Forum.

This Conference and this Forum takes place at a very important time for China and China New Zealand relationship. The 19th National Congress of Chinese Communist Party was just successfully concluded yesterday in Beijing, which will be of great significance and far-reaching impact for future development of China as well as to the whole world. President Xi Jinping stated in his report that China has entered a New Era of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. Today's China is closer, more confident and more capable than ever before of making China Dream of national rejuvenation a reality. The Congress has laid out a clear program of action for next five years and two-step goals by 2049 when PRC celebrates its 100th anniversary. At that time China will become a modernized strong country, which will be prosperous, democratic, culturally-advanced, harmonious and beautiful. In the New Era, China will continue its peaceful development and become more and more open to the outside world. No matter how advanced China becomes, it will never seek hegemony and expansion. We are ready to work with other countries including New Zealand and other Oceania countries to build a community with shared future for mankind, to build a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, fair and just and mutual benefit. As well as to build a world of long-lasting peace, general security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness as well as clean and beautiful landscape. China will continue to be a staunch supporter of multilateralism and free trade. China is willing to make more contribution to world economic growth, governance and tackling the challenges.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year also marks 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between China and New Zealand. Over the past four decades, the bilateral ties have achieved great leap forward development thanks to our concerted efforts. 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 both countries have kept very close contacts and communication with each other. I am pleased to share with you that upon the election of New Zealand new government recently, Premier Li Keqiang sent his warmest congratulations and best wishes to Rt. Hon. PM Jacinda Ardern for her election as New Zealand PM and looking forward to working closely with her in line with mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to enhance dialogues and communications, expand practical cooperation and push the Sino-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership to even further heights to better serve the two peoples' well-being.

Ladies and gentlemen,

New Zealand was the first western country to sign the Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China. As you know ,the Belt and Road initiative was proposed by President Xi in 2013. He said, Today's world is filled with uncertainties, with wars, famines, wealth gap and economic recession. People have hopes for the future, but at the same time, feel perplexed. After thinking of such questions as "what has become of the world?" and "what should we do?", at this background, he put forward this initiative. One Belt One Road means a road of connectivity of policy, trade, financing, infrastructure and people to people exchange. It is about to tap the economic comparative advantages of our partners, to encourage the free and convenient flow of all elements of production, develop multidimensional cooperation platforms, and achieve mutual gains and shared development. The Belt and Road Initiative draws inspirations from the ancient Silk Road. Shining with the wisdom from the East, it is a plan that China offers the world for seeking common prosperity and development. The Initiative is based on the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It is not exclusive, but open and inclusive. It will not be a solo for China, but a chorus of all countries along the routes.

So far, this initiative has gained big attraction and worldwide support. The "friend circle" of the initiative has kept widening. In May, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing, has achieved 270 deliverables. New Zealand sent a high level delegation to attend it.

New Zealand is the natural extension of 21st Maritime Silk Road, stated by President Xi while visiting New Zealand in 2014. The pragmatic bilateral cooperation between our two countries under the framework of One Belt One Road has been unprecedented, and the potential is huge. Our two countries economy is highly complimentary with each other. China five development concepts featuring innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and shared development is very much in line with that of New Zealand. New Zealand is a trading nation and a developed economy with its highly innovative people and high quality products. New Zealand's recent economic growth, mainly driven by export and tourists in which China plays an important role. I am fully confident that China's economy will maintain to grow at medium and high rate in future. We will continue the supply-side economic structural reform to achieve high quality development which will bring more benefit to New Zealand as well as the world. Along with the growing population of middle class, China's demand for high quality products will grow. New Zealand's innovation-oriented primary industry is a big area in cooperation with china in its agricultural modernization process. Meanwhile, there are many other areas for both countries to cooperate as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very proud to inform many early harvest on One Belt One Road achieved over the past years in our consulate district. Particularly in air-routes connection, now there are over 150 non-stop flights back and forth to the major cities of china to Auckland. According to Auckland airport authority, each flight generates 130 to 160 million USD for Auckland each year and also created a lot of jobs. I believe Auckland is not only an important regional gate way for pacific island but also will become an international air hub to Oceania, south and North America. The air-routes connectivity not only facilitates the people to people exchanges but also brings business opportunities as well. In recent years, educational and cultural exchanges between our two countries have been growing very fast. Auckland will establish a Chinese cultural center which made New Zealand the first country in the whole world to have two cultural centers. China has become New Zealand No one source of international students and second largest source of tourists.

"National relationship is based on the affection of peoples". Confucius Institute, a symbol of friendship, plays a crucial role in promoting bilateral cultural exchanges and cooperation. Recently, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Confucius Institute in Auckland. The past decade has witnessed dramatic progress in the promotion of Chinese language and culture in New Zealand. Currently, we have three Confucius institutes, ten Confucius classrooms, and 147 Mandarin Language Assistants from Hanban supported Chinese Teaching Assistant Program since the implementation of New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement in 2008.

This Joint Conference, I believe, will provide Confucius Institutes in the Oceania with a great opportunity to learn from each other and to explore ways of maintaining sustainable growth and strengthening regional cooperation. I want to take this opportunity to thank the hosts of this Conference and Forum -- the University of Auckland and the Confucius Institute as well as the New Zealand-China Council . Over the years, the University of Auckland has devoted its time and energy into this public cause, making it one of the best among over five hundred institutes worldwide. As the Confucius Institute of the Year, Global Model Confucius Institute and one of ten Institutes receiving the Pioneer Award, the Confucius Institute in Auckland plays a leading role in advancing Chinese language and culture.

Last but not the least, I wish the Conference and the Forum a great success, and wish you all enjoy your stay here in Auckland. Thank you!

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