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Speech at the International Exhibition of China's Reform and Opening up in 40 Years
2019/02/08

Honorable Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva,

Honorable Speaker Fakafanua,

Honorable Ministers of the Cabinet,

Honorable Members of the Parliament,

Nobles of the Realm,

Colleagues of the diplomatic corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies, Gentlemen and friends,

Malo elili! Good afternoon! I believe you guys all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and a happy New Year’s Day in the past weeks. Thank you all very much and welcome to attend the International Exhibition of China’s Reform and

Opening up in 40 Years, which gives us the opportunity to share with each other the successful story of the present-day China.

Along with the pictures on show in the hall, let me begin with giving you an introduction on the historic backdrop of China’s reform and opening up.

As many of you know, this year of 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, or the New China under the leadership of the Communist Party as compared with the Old China under the corrupt rule of the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang of Chiang Kai-shek before 1949, when the former, with Chairman Mao Zedong as the core of the first generation of the Central Leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), led the Chinese people in winning the Civil War against the latter and drove Chiang’s forces to the Island of Taiwan, which has been an inalienable part of China since ancient times and it’s a fact universally recognized by the whole international community. As a result, starting from 1949, under the first generational Central Leadership of the CPC with Chairman Mao Zedong at the core, China embarked on the socialist road and it has been exploring the way forward with both achievements and failures over the past 70 years. By the end of the year 1978, or 40 years ago, China was on the edge of collapse because of wrong policies of fossilization and isolation, when Mr. Deng Xiaoping as the core of the second generation of the Central Leadership of the CPC, took the helm of the country and made the strategic decision to correct the past mistakes and initiated the policies of reform and opening up to the rest of the world, thus starting the unprecedented process of China’s modernization and national rejuvenation.

Forty years since reform and opening-up from 1978 to 2018 have brought historic changes to China and its people in all aspects, driving the country on the way of making miracles in economic and social development. For example, China’s GDP increased 33.5 times to reach 12.3 trillion US dollars with an average annual growth rate of 9.5% by the end of last year, ensuring its position as the second biggest economy from 2010. The living standard of the Chinese people was greatly elevated, with more than 700 million people lifted out of poverty. Moreover, the reform and opening-up altered Chinese people’s mindset to emancipate for big changes as well as for new enlightenment. In particular, over the past six years and under the current CPC Central Leadership with President Xi Jinping as the core, new historic achievements and transformation have been made for China and its people with the country entering a New Era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.

Forty years since reform and opening-up, China not only developed itself but also benefited the whole world. China actively embraced globalization and contributed more than 30 percent of global economic growth in the past 10 years, becoming a major engine of driving world economy toward revival and growth. Take the First China International Import Expo (CIIE) held last November as an example, over 400 thousand foreign merchants from 172 countries including Tonga and other Pacific Island countries, regions or international organizations and Chinese buyers participated, with a total transaction volume of 57.8 billion dollars accomplished.

The practice of the past 40 years of reform and opening-up has fully proved that the path, theory, system and culture of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics that the CPC has united and led the country to embark on are completely correct, and the basic theory, line and strategy of the Party formed in this great course are completely correct. With that in our mind, we’re more than confident that China’s Two Centenary Goals to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation by the middle of this century are destined to be realized.

Furthermore, we believe that the practice of the past 40 years has also fully proved that China's development has provided successful experience and bright prospects for other developing countries on their way to modernization, which will become a driving force not only for world peace and development but also a major contribution to the progress of human civilization. While China calls for the building of A New Model of International Relations with win-win cooperation at the core and the building of A Community of Shared Future for Mankind, China does not export its development model to other countries, nor does it seek to impose it on others as China always respects and supports them in exploring development paths suitable to their own national conditions.

Ladies, Gentlemen and friends,

China-Tonga relationship is also a beneficiary of China’s reform and opening-up, because our two countries might have to wait for a longer time before we realized the normalization of our relations in 1998 without China’s reform and opening-up. Last year, our two sides jointly celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the achievements in exchange and cooperation over the last twenty years.

As a matter of fact, new and big progress was made in 2018, when President Xi hosted His Majesty King Tupou the VI on a state visit to China and also held a bilateral meeting with Honorable Prime Minister Pohiva in Papua New Genia. Our state leaders reached important consensus on upgrading the bilateral relations to be a Comprehensive Strategic Relationship Featuring Mutual Respect and Common Development, charting the course for its future development. During the year, our two sides also signed a number of agreements including the MOU on Cooperation within the Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, which has laid solid foundation for further promoting bilateral interaction and collaboration in various fields. Looking into the future, and through joint efforts, China and Tonga will be able to deliver more benefits to our two peoples, and make more contribution to the peace, development and prosperity of Pacific Island region.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

Let me briefly go back to the relations between Mainland China and the Taiwan region. It’s also starting from 40 years ago with China’s reform and opening up that the ice cap covering the relations across the Taiwan Straits began to melt, and great progress has been made in the exchange and cooperation between the two sides. On Jan. 2, 2019, President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at a gathering held in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the issuing of a Message to Compatriots in Taiwan by the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress forty years ago, which ushered in the re-opening of exchanges and peaceful development of cross-Straits relations. In his speech, President Xi proposed major new ideas on how to realize peaceful reunification of the motherland under the new historical conditions and on the basis of upholding the 1992 Consensus as the One China Principle as the core and opposing "Taiwan independence", which is very well received by the majority of the Taiwan compatriots, despite the fact that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the pro-separatist party "ruling" the island province, is standing in the way of further political progress. In a word, we’re more confident than ever in achieving national rejuvenation and cross-Straits reunification as this is the trend of history and favored by the vast majority of all the Chinese people across the Taiwan Straits.

Upholding the One China Principle is the political foundation for China to establish diplomatic relations and develop mutually beneficial cooperation with any other countries in the world including the Kingdom of Tonga. The Chinese government and people are highly appreciative of the Tongan Royal Family, Government and Parliament adhering to the One China Principle and refraining from any contact with the Taiwan authorities in the long run, and it’s our strong belief that Tonga will continue to commit itself to this correct stand. In a word, a strong and reunified China will contribute more to the global peace and human progress.

Malo au bito! Thank you!

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