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Speech at the Spring Festival Reception by H.E. Huang Huaguang

Your Royal High Princess Pilolevu and Honorable Lord Tuita,

Honorable Samiu Vaipulu,

Friends from the Ministry of Police, the Tonga-China Friendship Association, the Tonga National Council of Women and the Tonga-China Student Alumni Association,

Representatives of the Chinese companies in Tonga,

Experts of the Chinese Agricultural Group

Leaders of the Chinese community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

The day after tomorrow will be the Spring Festival of Chinas Lunar New Year of rooster. Tonight, we are very happy to get together with all the friends to ring out the old year and welcome the new. On this joyous occasion of the Spring Festival, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend to Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu, and to all distinguished guests new year greetings and best wishes.

2016 is an important year in Chinas process of building a moderately prosperous society. China has been comprehensively deepening reform and its economy has maintained stable while making progress. Last year, Chinas GDP grew by 6.7% and contributed over 30% to the world economic growth, which still ranked first among the major economies in the world. It was projected in The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 released by the United Nations that Chinas economy will grow by about 6.5% this and next year and remain an engine for the world economic growth.

Currently, Chinas economy faces some difficulties like excess capacity of production, irrational demand structure, lack of internal driving force for growth, but the economic fundamentals sustaining sound development remain unchanged. China will stick to the innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development to achieve medium-high rate of stable economic growth.

Chinas development has become more and and more closely related with the world. In 2016, China has made increasing outbound investment and conducted active economic cooperation with foreign countries. During the first 11 months last year, Chinas outbound direct investment has reached $161.7 billion, a 55.3% increase over the same period of 2015. It was made in about 160 countries and regions in the world and has played an important role in improving the infrastructure and speeding up the industrialization for many developing countries.

Just like Chinese President Xi Jinping has pointed out when he attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 in Davos, in the coming five years, China is expected to import $8 trillion of goods, attract $600 billion of foreign investment and make $750 billion of outbound investment. Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits. All this will create a bigger market, more capital, more products and more business opportunities for other countries. China is committed to a win-win opening-up strategy, promoting trade and investment, and building an innovative, dynamic, inter-connected and inclusive world economy to realize common prosperity of all the countries in world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The China-Tonga relations also produced fruitful results last year.

In political field, the two countries had frequent high-level exchanges. Speaker of the Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister and a few ministers of the cabinet of Tonga visited China. Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress of China had a successful visit to Tonga recently and met with Prime Minister and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. Through the mutual visits, the two sides further consolidated mutual understanding and deepened mutual trust.

Positive progress were made in economy, trade and pragmatic cooperation. St. George Palace project aided by China is going on smoothly. The Letter of Exchange on China's Aid to Tonga in Building the Tonga High School Sports Complex were signed. The agreement on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders of China and Tonga has entered into force. The first shipment of squash produced in Tonga was exported to China. The cooperation in agricultural field is constantly advancing. The Chinese companies has made new investment in Tonga. Seafood export to China and direct flight between China and Tonga have been included in the agenda of cooperation.

Besides government and parliament contacts, non-governmental and people to people exchanges also became more and more active. A few art groups from China gave performance in Tonga. The Tourism and culture promotion team from Tonga successfully participated in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Exposition. With the strong support of Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu and the Tonga-China Friendship Association, the Pacific-China Friendship Association was launched in Tonga and opened a new channel for the non-governmental exchanges between China and the pacific countries. The Chinese Embassy worked closely with the Tonga National Council of Women in hosting a successful handicraft competition. The Tonga-China Students Alumni Association were established and provided a new platform for exchanges in education and between the young people of the two countries.

People to people bond is an important basis for the development of the China-Tonga relations. Non-governmental organizations play an important part in enhancing the mutual understanding between the two peoples. The Chinese Embassy is ready to strengthen cooperation with friendly non-governmental organizations of Tonga and support them in capacity building, hosting various events for people-to-people exchanges and playing a bigger role to promote the China-Tonga relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Chinese people have been working and living in Tonga for a long time and become an important member of the Tongan society. Over the years, the Chinese people have received strong support and help from the Royal family, government and local friends of Tonga in their development. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese Community in Tonga, I would like to express our sincere gratitude .

The Chinese community in Tonga are also the promoter of the China-Tonga relations. Your self-development through hard work also gave strong impetus to the national development of Tonga. I hope that you could continue abiding by the local laws and regulations, integrate into and give back to the local society within your capability, and make new contribution to the friendly relations between China and Tonga.

According to the traditional culture, rooster stands for diligence and symbolizes auspice. I am sure that with the concerted efforts of the two sides, the friendly relationship between our two countries will make further progress in this auspicious year.

In conclusion, I wish all dear friends good health, prosper and every success in the new year.

Thank you!

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