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Remarks by H. E. Ambassador Wang Baodong at Welcome Reception
2017/06/23

Your Royal Highnesses Crown Prince 'Ulukalala and Crown Princess Sinaitakala,

Honorable Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva,

Honorable Speaker Tu'ivakano,

Honorable Ministers of the Cabinet, Nobles of the Realm, Members of Parliament,

Dr. Ahio, President of Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Members of the Chinese Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. Thank you very much for attending the welcome reception. Tonight I am very happy to see some old friends again and meet with all the new friends. I would like to take this opportunity to convey the cordial greetings and best wishes of the Chinese government and people to the royal family, government, parliament and people of Tonga.

The Kingdom of Tonga is not unfamiliar to me. In November 1998, shortly after the diplomatic ties were established between our two countries, I had the honor to accompany State Councilor Yang Jiechi who was then Chinese Vice Foreign Minister to visit Tonga.That was the first official Chinese delegation to visit this country and it left fond memory with me. I was thinking at that time when could I visit this unique and beautiful kingdom of pacific region again? After 19 years, I am greatly honored to be appointed Chinese Ambassador to Tonga. Return to Tonga makes me feel homey and excited. Tonga is a world-known "Friendly Island". People here are kind, hospitable and honest. In the less than one month since my arrival, I visited the Queen Salote Wharf, Talamahu Market, blow holes and refreshed my memory of these places in 1998, witnessing the new achievements in the economic and social development of Tonga, and further experienced the hospitality, kindness and vitality of Tongan people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although China and Tonga are separated by oceans, similar culture and tradition and the common wish to increase friendly communication have brought us closely together. In 1998, His Majesty who was then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tonga visited Beijing and signed on behalf of the Kingdom of Tonga the joint communique to establish diplomatic ties with China, which opened a new page in our bilateral relationship.

Since the normalization of their bilateral ties, China and Tonga always treat each other on an equal footing and take each other as good friend and reliable partner. The China-Tonga relations have maintained healthy and stable momentum of development. The Royal Family, consecutive administrations and parliaments of Tonga all adhere to the One China principle, uphold friendly policy towards China and actively support cooperation with China, of which my country is highly appreciative.

During recent years, with the joint efforts of both sides, the relationship between China and Tonga has made great progress. In November 2014, Chinese president Xi Jinping met with Honorable Speaker Tu'ivakano who was then Prime Minister of Tonga in Fiji. Their decision to establish a strategic partnership between China and Tonga featuring mutual respect and common development charted the course for long-term development of bilateral relations. Ever since then, our two countries have had closer contacts between governments and parliaments. Fruitful results in pragmatic cooperation have been made in various fields. People to people and cultural exchanges and local cooperation kept growing. Coordination and collaboration in multilateral diplomacy are strengthening. These friendly exchanges and cooperation demonstrated exactly the consensus of the state leaders, greatly promoting the common interests of the two countries and two peoples.

Since assuming office, I have had audience with His Majesty, and called on Honorable Prime Minister, Speaker and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. We had very good talks. I directly felt the sincerity of the royal family, government and parliament of Tonga and their goodwill same as China to further advance China-Tonga relations. As new Chinese ambassador to Tonga, I will exert my best efforts to deepen our friendly cooperation and strengthen the friendship between our two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Chinese government and people are actively implementing concepts of governance and diplomatic thoughts of President Xi Jinping. On domestic aspect, China comprehensively deepens reforms, works hard to ensure rapid and sound development of its economy and earnestly strives for social equity and justice. Externally, China actively promotes the building of a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, steadfastly carries out the "belt and road" initiative with the aim of making greater contribution to the world and regional peace, stability and development. This has provided new opportunities for China and the pacific island countries including Tonga to expand their cooperation.

Both China and Tonga are developing countries and face the tasks of economic development and improvement of people's livelihood. We enjoy great potential and broad prospect of cooperation in trade, agriculture, fishery, tourism, infrastructure, culture, education, health among other fields. To strengthen China-Tonga relations is not only in the shared interests of the two countries, but also helpful for development and prosperity of the pacific region.

The Kingdom of Tonga is an important partner of China in the south pacific region. China values its friendship with Tonga and is ready to work with the Tongan side, in the spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation, to continuously expand exchanges and cooperation in various fields, push forward the strategic partnership between our two countries to a new stage and bring more benefit to our two peoples.

In conclusion, I would like to propose a toast

To the health of His Majesty King Tupou VI and all the dear friends,

To the sustained development of China-Tonga relations,

To the ever-lasting friendship of our two peoples,

Cheers.

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