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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China
2019/09/26

Commissioner Phil Hogan,

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics,

Minister of State Jaak Gabriels,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening.

It gives me great pleasure to have friends here, both old and new, in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On behalf of the Chinese Mission to the EU, the Chinese Embassy in Belgium, and Ambassador Cao Zhongming, I wish to express sincere thanks to friends from various sectors who have made contribution to China’s development and the growth of China-EU as well as China-Belgium friendship.

Seventy years, though a blink of eye in the long history of mankind, have witnessed tremendous changes in China. Under the strong leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese people have successfully injected new vitality into an ancient country that was once poor and weak.

In the past 70 years, China has endeavored to find the Chinese way. We have not only made a world of difference in China’s development, but also embarked on a socialist path with Chinese characteristics that reflects China’s actual conditions, people’s aspirations and the call of the times. Marching along this path, we have given full play to our people’s creativity and efficiently motivated them to rally behind a shared cause. We have made constant efforts to deepen reform, breaking the shackles in terms of thinking and institutions and fully unleashing market potentials and vitality. We have expanded opening-up continuously, further integrating the Chinese economy into the world and seeking win-win cooperation with other countries. There is no one-size-fit-all development model. We hope to share best practices with the rest of the world in a spirit of mutual respect and common development.

In the past 70 years, China has endeavored to serve people’s interests. We have unswervingly safeguarded national sovereignty, security and development interests. People’s aspiration for a better life is our abiding goal. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese people have gradually bid farewell to the life of shortage and scarcity. The per capita income has increased from US$54 to US$9,732 and the average life expectancy from 35 years to 77 years. A society of moderate prosperity in all aspects is in the making. It is particularly worth noting that in the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, China has lifted 700 million people out of poverty, bringing the poverty incidence from 97.5% to 1.7%. This is a miracle in the history of mankind. The well-protected rights to subsistence and development provide a solid basis for the exercise of other rights. The Chinese people are living a life with dignity as never before.

In the past 70 years, China has endeavored to promote peaceful development. China is a major country that has achieved peaceful development in compliance with the current international rules. Today, some are trying to build a wall of unilateralism and sever the global industrial and value chains. Some are making a deliberate effort to amplify differences and trumpet the so-called “clash of civilizations”. Some are obsessed with the cold war mentality and believe that a country is bound to seek hegemony when getting stronger. Yet China remains committed to the vision of building a new type of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind. Such a commitment will not change. China will stay firmly committed to the path of peaceful development, take a more active part in global governance, and join hands with other countries in tackling various challenges and building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys enduring peace, common security and shared prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

In the past 70 years, China has benefited in its development from its win-win cooperation with such partners as Belgium and the EU. At the same time, China’s development has generated greater opportunities for such win-win cooperation. The China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership has gained more strategic and global significance and delivered tangible benefits to people from both sides. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1975, the China-EU trade has increased by 250 folds, amounting to over US$680 billion last year, or nearly US$1.3 million per minute. Nowadays, China and the EU see nearly 8 million mutual visits every year and over 600 flights every week. More than 11,000 trips have been made along the China-Europe express rail link. All this speaks volumes about the closely-intertwined interests between China and the EU.

Belgium, a founding member of the EU, plays a positive role in the growth of China-EU relations. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties nearly 50 years ago, China and Belgium have enjoyed increasing political trust and fruitful cooperation, marked by frequent high-level mutual visits, optimized trade structure and more vibrant investment in both ways. In this coming November, H.R.H Princess Astrid will lead a big business delegation to China, lending fresh impetus to China-Belgium relations.

The EU and Belgium are both important partners of China. Our relations are always defined by mutual benefit, not by differences and competition. Under the new circumstances, we could take China-EU and China-Belgium cooperation to a new level by focusing on three keywords:

First, openness. Despite rising unilateralism and protectionism, China has never stopped its efforts to expand opening-up. Market access for foreign investment is broadening. The business environment is improving. We hope to work together with the EU to advance the BIT talks, among other priorities on the agenda, expand openness in both ways, and preserve the WTO-centered and rules-based multilateral trading system.

Second, green. Green development is a global trend, and offers a lot of common ground for China and Europe. China and the EU need to continue their cooperation in fighting climate change and implementing the Paris Agreement, and step up cooperation in such areas as circular economy, environment governance, biodiversity protection, green finance and clean energy, in a joint effort to promote green, low-carbon and sustainable development.

Third, innovation. Innovation holds the key to future competitiveness and serves as an engine for more substantial China-EU cooperation. China and the EU, with respective strengths in such areas as 5G, AI, green transport, big data, and the Internet of Things, could do more to facilitate exchanges between research institutes and enterprises and foster a more friendly environment for innovation-driven development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

Looking back and ahead, we have good reason to place confidence in China’s development and place hopes on China-EU and China-Belgium relations. Let’s work together to turn confidence into actions, and hopes into reality, to embrace a better future for the People’s Republic of China and for China-EU and China-Belgium relations.

Thank you.

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