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Address at the Reception in Celebration of the 68th National Day of the People's Republic of China by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian of China to South Africa
2017/09/27

Welcome and thank you all for joining us here to celebrate the 68th National Day of the People’s Republic of China.

Since the founding of the New China, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have remained committed steadfast to a socialist path of development that suits China’s national conditions, and committed ourselves to reform and opening up and pursuing economic development as our central task. By doing this, China made remarkable achievement in our development never recorded before by any textbook of human being. The GDP of China and her per capita GDP have soared from 18.9 billion US dollars and less than 100 US dollars in 1949 to 11.2 trillion dollars and 8000 US dollars in 2016 respectively.

China had been a victim of seclusion and isolation, and has been a beneficiary of reform and opening up. After the founding of the New China, due to foreign blockade and highly planned economy, China was cut off from the rest of the world and her economic and social development stagnated and lagged behind. Since 1978, China has committed herself to reform and opening up, fought against poverty for common development and lifted over 700 million people out of poverty, setting up a successful model for the sustainable development of the developing countries. China has now become the world’s second largest economy, second largest overseas investor, the world’s largest manufacturer, largest trading power, largest tourism market and the country with the biggest foreign exchange reserve.

Over the past five years, faced with weak global economic recovery and sluggish demand, China has implemented over 1,200 new reform measures and registered a 7.2% annual growth rate on average, contributing 31.6% yearly to world economic growth, which exceeds the contribution of all developed countries combined and makes China one of the major engines to drive world economic growth. China has now committed herself to the ambitious goal of free of poverty by 2020. This is the solemn political commitment made by the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to its people, which will make new and greater contribution to the mankind. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held in Beijing in a few weeks and chart a new course for China’s future development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China is not only a beneficiary of but also an exceptional contributor to world peace and development. China’s development benefits from world peace and prosperity. China deeply appreciates how valuable peace is. China has remained committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and a path of peaceful development, making active contribution to upholding world peace and promoting world development.

China contributes more troops to UN peacekeeping missions than any other permanent member of the UN Security Council. Currently, over 2,500 Chinese troops are carrying out peacekeeping operations in 10 UN missions across the world. In 2016, China contributed 844 million US dollars to UN peacekeeping costs, just second to the United States, accounting for 10.2 per cent of the total.

In the face of rising conservatism and isolationism across the world, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the idea of planning together, building together, and sharing together, and put forward the vision of building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation for common development, the community of shared future of mankind and the Belt and Road initiative, contributing the Chinese wisdom and solutions to the promotion of peace and common development of the world. Guided by the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation, China has been committed to deepening BRICS solidarity and cooperation for a more fair, just and equitable global governance regime. The successful BRICS Summit in Xiamen just concluded not long ago has opened up a second “Golden Decade” of BRICS cooperation. South Africa will take over BRICS presidency next year. China is ready to work with all parties to support the efforts of South Africa to successfully host the Tenth BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, and jointly usher BRICS cooperation into a brighter future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and Africa always share a common future. During his first visit to Africa since assuming office, President Xi Jinping instructed China to follow the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests in conducting China’s relations with Africa. The essence of his idea is to closely combine China’s development with the independent sustainable development of African countries, so as to achieve win-win cooperation for common development. In December 2015, President Xi Jinping and President Jacob Zuma co-chaired the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Summit, and opened up a new era of China-Africa win-win cooperation for common development. During the Summit, President Xi Jinping announced the China-Africa Ten Major Cooperation Plans and 60 billion US dollars of funding support, focusing on efforts to accelerate Africa’s industrialization and agricultural modernization, with an aim to support Africa to breakthrough three development bottlenecks, namely inadequate infrastructure, lack of professional and skilled personnel, and short of financial resources so as to enhance Africa’s capacity for independent sustainable development.

Thanks to our joint efforts and efficient delivery, the outcomes of the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit have been blossoming across all corners of the African continent. According to incomplete statistics, since the Summit, 606 projects have been completed, or under construction, or have been signed to be implemented in Africa, with a total amount of over 108 billion US dollars of Chinese investment or loans. Indeed, China and Africa share mutual needs and complementarities. China-Africa cooperation has a great potential and faces a rare historic opportunity to synergize our development strategies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to see that thanks to the direct guidance from our two Presidents and the joint efforts of both China and South Africa, our comprehensive strategic partnership has maintained strong momentum over the recent years, and our bilateral relations are now in the best historical moment. Our political and strategic mutual trust is so high and economic cooperation is fruitful, delivering tangible benefits to both of our peoples. South Africa has become China’s biggest trading partner and the most important destination of investment and tourism in Africa. China has for 8 years maintained South Africa’s largest trading partner. In the first half of this year, China-South Africa bilateral trade increased by 28.7% to 19.5 US billion dollars. Chinese investment in South Africa has exceeded 15 US billion dollars by now, creating numerous jobs for the local youth.

Next year, China and South Africa will celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties. As the new Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, I feel great honor and will spare no efforts to work closely with the South African side to translate the important consensus between our two heads of state into concrete actions and fruitful results. Our focus will be on promoting cooperation in ten priority areas including infrastructure, human resources, manufacturing and processing industry, agriculture, tourism, marine economy, finance, security, people-to-people exchange and international cooperation, so as to support South Africa’s efforts for economic development, job creation, poverty reduction, and make China-South Africa relations stronger, more productive and more beneficial to our two peoples.

Finally, may I invite you all to join me for a toast,

To the 68th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China,

To the better future of China-South Africa relations,

To the good health of our two heads of state and all the distinguished guests here,

Cheers!

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