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His Excellency Ambassador Wang Baodong's Speech at the Reception Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between China and Tonga Hosted By Tonga-China Friendship Association

Your Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu and Lord Tuita,

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

Members of the Tonga-China Friendship Association and Tonga-China Students Alumni Association,

Leaders of the Chinese Community,

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

Malo e lelei! Good evening! We have been here at this resort many times, and this joyful party tonight is of special meaning as the Tonga-China Friendship Association is hosting this banquet to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tonga after making careful arrangements. It is a great pleasure for my colleagues from the Chinese Embassy and I to attend the dinner and I’d like to say thank you so much for the kind invitation.

The friendly interaction between the Chinese people and Tongan people has a long history. As early as half a century ago, when China was still poor and underdeveloped, some Chinese people traveled across the oceans and come to Tonga looking for opportunities of economic development and exploring trade cooperation between the two countries. In 1990s, His Late Majesty King Tupou IV masterminded the diplomatic policy of “looking east” and made the strategic decision to sever ties with the Taiwan authorities and establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. On October 26, 1998, His Majesty King Tupou VI, who was then Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Tonga, and on behalf of the government of the Kingdom of Tonga, signed the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with the Chinese Government in Beijing. On November 2 the same year, our two countries formally established diplomatic ties, which opened a new chapter in China-Tonga relations.

Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu has long been committed to the undertaking of friendship between our two countries. She is not only one of the major pioneers of China-Tonga relations, but also has consecutively initiated and founded the Tonga-China Friendship Association and the Pacific-China Friendship Association to actively promote the people-to-people interactions between China and Tonga and other Pacific Islands countries. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Tonga, I hereby pay my high regards to Her Royal Highness for her important contribution to promoting the friendly exchanges between our two peoples.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

Over the 20 years since the normalization of diplomatic ties, China-Tonga relations have made rapid progress. The Chinese government has always attached high importance to the development of the bilateral relations, and the Chinese people are more acknowledged with the Tongan people and their unique history and culture. At the same time, the Royal Family, consecutive Tongan Governments and Parliaments have always upheld the One China principle and firmly follow the friendly policy towards China, of which the Chinese side is very much appreciative. We are happy to see that with care of our state leaders and concerted efforts of both sides, political mutual trust has kept strengthening, mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields expanding and friendship between our two peoples deepening. This is in the common interests of our two countries and has brought tangible benefits to our two peoples.

The Chinese community in Tonga has been a strong promoter of China-Tonga relations. Over the years, many of them have been naturalized and obtained the Tongan nationality. While achieving self-development, they are also contributing to the Kingdom’s national development. The Chinese community in Tonga, as well as the Tonga-China Friendship Association and Tonga-China Students Alumni Association are all non-governmental ambassadors of goodwill, and have served as an important bridge in increasing mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples. Rest assured that we highly appreciate that.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

In three days, we will usher in the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tonga, and the Chinese Embassy will host a reception on this Friday evening. We look forward to your kind presence to share experiences and feelings about involvement in the 20-year span of progress as well as joy and happiness of the major event of anniversary.

Looking into the future, we are full of expectations and confidence in the greater achievement in the development of China-Tonga relations. The Chinese side is determined to work hard with the Tongan side to continue implementing the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and His Majesty King Tupou VI, increase exchanges at the top and other levels and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation so as to constantly promote the Strategic Partnership of Mutual Respect and Common Development between our two countries to a higher level, and bring more benefits to our two peoples.

Malo Aupito!Thank you!

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