Government Ministers and Department Secretaries,
Members of National Parliament,
Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good evening! My wife and I feel very much delighted and greatly honored to have you at the Chinese Embassy to join us in celebrating 59th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. I wish, on behalf of the entire staff of the Chinese Embassy, to extend to all of you our warm welcome and best wishes. I also wish to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and sincere thanks to all of you for making unremitting efforts and contributions to the promotion of the friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Papua New Guinea.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The year of 2008 is of special significance to China and to the Chinese people of all ethnic groups.
First this year marks the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. During the past 30 years, great and historic changes have taken place in China, with remarkable achievements in economic development and social undertakings. China has maintained rapid and sustained economic development for the past three decades. The aggregate GDP grew by about 20 times with the average annual growth rate of about 9.7%, and the volume of foreign trade increased more than 100 times making China rank 3rd in the world. The Chinese government successfully lifted 230 million rural people out of poverty, making a Chinese miracle witnessed by the world. There have been great improvements in the material and cultural life of the Chinese people, who are now enjoying a greater comfort and an improved quality of daily living. Despite the slowdown of world economy since the beginning of this year, China has maintained steady economic development. The total GDP of the first half of 2008 recorded US$1.93 trillion at the growth rate of 10.4% compared with the corresponding period of last year. The total volume of foreign trade amounted to US$1.72 trillion, an increase 26.4%. The total value of actual utilization of foreign investment reached US$67 billion, up by about 13%. By the end of June, the foreign exchange reserve totaled US$1.81 trillion. Confronted with many difficulties and challenges, China remains one of the countries with fast economic development.
Second, Beijing successfully hosted 29th Olympiad and 13th Paralympics. The Chinese Government and people have honored their commitments to the international community by sparing no effort to make the two Games high-level and unique sports events with Chinese characteristics. More than 1,200 athletes from 204 countries and regions competed under the Olympic Flag with more than 4 billion people around the world witnessing this largest gathering in the history of the Olympic Games. Beijing Olympics gathered peoples of different nations, cultures and religions to promote their mutual understanding and friendship, carried forward the Olympic spirit of unity, friendship and peace, and made great contributions to the building of a harmonious world with lasting peace and common development and prosperity of humankind.PNG made a historic breakthrough in Beijing by winning a silver medal in the Paralympics. Congratulations! The Chinese people share the joy with all Papua New Guineans and wish PNG athletes even greater success in the future.
Third, China successfully launched its third manned spacecraft Shenzhou VII on September 26th, 2008 with three astronauts on board making the country's first-ever space walk the following day. The Shenzhou VII mission marks a historic breakthrough in China's manned space program, which is hailed as another feat on the Chinese people's journey to ascend the peak of science and technology.
Fourth, China suffered a series of natural disasters this year. From late January to early February, extreme weather conditions of sleet and snowstorms struck southern China, and in May, the most disastrous earthquake which had not occurred in the past century rocked Sichuan province and surrounding areas, causing great loss of life and property. The Chinese Government mobilized all forces throughout the country for this unprecedented disaster relief and the Chinese people rallied together and united as one. Soldiers, police officers, fire brigade and medical personnel and volunteers from all over the country worked day and night in their rescue efforts and disaster relief. Under the leadership of the Chinese Government and with the concerted efforts of all rescue and disaster relief workers and the international community, tens of thousands of survivors were saved from the ruins, millions of the injured were treated promptly, tens of millions of the affected people were properly resettled, power transmission lines, public telecommunication services, radio and TV networks and water-supply pipelines have been restored gradually, and the reconstruction is now well under way.The Chinese community and PNG friends made their generous donations to the disaster relief. On behalf of the Chinese Government and the people of the disaster-stricken areas, I wish to express our sincere gratitude.
Fifth, a good momentum has been maintained in the bilateral relations between China and PNG, with constant expansion in scope and depth of our bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The total volume of our bilateral trade for the first half of this year recorded USD488 million with an increase of 38%. More and more reliable Chinese enterprises have been investing in PNG, with about US$11 million last year. PNG has been the largest trade partner and investment destination country of China among the South Pacific Island Countries during the past few years. With the construction of Ramu Nickel Mine Project to be completed and put into operation in the second half of next year, the economic cooperation between China and PNG will be lifted to a higher level. The exchange and cooperation between the two countries in the field of culture, education, health, agriculture, fishery, etc. also yielded fruitful results. 26 PNG students were granted Chinese Government Scholarships to pursue their degree studies in China. Over 50 government officials and technical personnel of different sectors were trained in China for various programs. The 4th Chinese Medical Team dispatched by Chinese Government will arrive in Port Moresby in November to provide continuous medical services to the local people. A series of the Chinese Government aided projects, such as the Teachers’ Houses and Students’ Dormitories of Vudal University and Lae Fish Processing Factory, were completed and put into operation.
Further development of China-PNG friendly and cooperative relations is in conformity with the common interests of the two peoples. The Chinese Government is ready to work with the PNG Government and people to promote the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, expand and deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields, continue our mutual support and sound cooperation in the international and regional affairs, so as to ensure the stable and sound bilateral relations between the two countries in the years and decades to come.
In conclusion, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to each and every one of you for joining us in the auspicious occasion, and wish you an enjoyable evening. Thank you.