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Speech at the Chinese Spring Festival Reception
2019/02/09

Hon. Prime Minister, Akilisi Pohiva,

Honorable Ministers of the Government, Members of the Parliament, Lords of the Realm,

Colleagues of the Diplomatic corps,  

Representative of the Chinese Community, companies and China-aid projects,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies, Gentlemen and friends,

Malo e tau mau esiafini! Good evening! The 5th of February next week is the Spring Festival of the Chinese lunar year of the Pig, and it’s a big pleasure to have you with us tonight to greet this joyous occasion.

First of all, please allow me to take this opportunity to brief you on the new achievements in China’s domestic development and the new progress in its external relations in the year of 2018, when the Chinese people traversed an extraordinary course under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping.

Over the past year, despite all sorts of risks and challenges, the Chinese government and people pushed the economy towards high-quality development, and kept the major economic indicators within a reasonable range. China’s GDP reached 90 trillion RMB yuan for the first time, with a growth rate of 6.6% over the previous year, which is faster than that of most other major economies. China has been keeping its role as a main engine of the world economic growth.

Over the past year, China intensified its efforts to improve people’s well-being and steadily raised the standards of their livelihood. With another 10 million poor people in the rural areas lifted out of poverty, the whole Chinese population of nearly 1.4 billion enjoyed a stronger sense of gain, of happiness and of security.

Over the past year, China celebrated the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening-up. Over 100 major reform measures were launched and the first China International Import Expo was held. The world has seen China’s accelerating reform and opening-up, and its determination to carry it forward.

Over the past year, China hosted a series of big diplomatic events, put its proposals on the table and made its voice heard around the world. The Chinese leaders visited all the five continents and exchange ideas with their counterparts on a wide range of major issues, enlarging China’s circle of friends and strengthening the friendships.

The year of 2019 has arrived with new opportunities and new challenges, and we will usher in the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October. Over the past 70 years, with diligence and wisdom, and through mutually beneficial cooperation with the international community, the Chinese people have bid farewell to poverty and backwardness and created miracles in the history of human development. Over the past 70 years, while developing itself, China has made significant contributions to promoting the world peace and development.  Starting from this year, China has become the second largest contributor to the UN membership fees and peacekeeping funds, and will also assume more international obligations.

Looking into the future, we are full of confidence in China's development prospects. Guided by the Thought of Xi Jinping on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we will, internally, continue to deepen reforms, maintain sustained and healthy economic development and strive to meet people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.  Externally, we will spare no effort to open wider to the world and propel the collaboration with other countries under the framework of “the Belt and Road Initiative” for the purpose of building A Community with Shared Future for Mankind and a more prosperous and more beautiful world.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

The year of 2018 is also a landmark of China-Tonga relationship, when we jointly celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and the new progress in our bilateral relations.

In the past year, our two countries maintained close exchanges at all levels. In particular, President Xi Jinping hosted a state visit to China for His Majesty Tupou VI and held a bilateral meeting in PNG with Hon. Prime Minister Pohiva, when the leaders agreed on upgrading our bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Featured with Mutual Respect and Common Development, charting a new course for the future development of China-Tonga relations.

In the past year, mutually beneficial collaboration in various fields were fruitful, development aid cooperation were effective and commercial cooperation were expanding, which have brought new tangible benefits to our two countries and deepened the friendship between our two peoples. I’d like to tell you that 4 Chinese teachers arrived in Tonga last week and the first group of 105 Tongan athletes and coaches have finished their training courses in China recently. Their representatives are present tonight jointly celebrating the Chinese New Year. You have my best wishes for your academic success in Tonga and your athletic success in the Pacific Games next year.

   In this new year of 2019, even in the next 20 years, China is always ready to work together with Tonga to continuously and actively implement the consensus reached by our leaders, strengthen mutual coordination, make good use of the “Belt and Road” platform, deepen the exchanges and cooperation in all the fields, and further advance the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership so that we can better benefit our peoples and make new contribution to the the peace, stability and development of the Pacific region at large.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

Over the decades, the Chinese community in Tonga has been firmly supporting China’s reform and opening up and the great cause of peaceful reunification between Mainland China and Taiwan Region, and has been firmly committed to the mutually beneficial interaction between China and Tonga, of which is highly appreciated by the two governments. I believe that, in the new year, you guys will continue to contribute to the economic and social development in our two countries, and actively play the role of people-to-people envoys for the friendship between our two peoples. The Chinese Embassy will adhere to the concept of "diplomacy for the people" and work together with the Tongan government to provide a more favorable environment for you to live and develop in the Kingdom.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

In traditional Chinese culture, the Year of the Pig carries the meanings of honesty, tolerance, happiness and prosperity. This good-will meaning is not only suitable for the relationship between individuals, but also for the relationship among countries. As the proverb goes, where there is a will, there is a way. As long as we pull together and make concerted efforts, we’ll make the impossible possible and we could even let the pigs fly.

In conclusion, I’d like to propose a toast,

To the health and prosperity of Their Majesties, King Topou VI and Queen Nanasipauu, His Honoral Prime Minister Pohiva and everyone present tonight,

To the ever-lasting friendship of our two countries and peoples,

To the more beautiful future of China-Tonga relations,

Cheers!

Thank you!

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