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Address by Chargé D'affaires Li Song at the Mid-Autumn Festival Reception

(Brussels Press Club, September 5 2014)

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,

It is a pleasure to be here with you today to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Laurent and the Press Club for kindly providing the venue and helping us to organize the event.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important festivals in China, also known as the Reunion festival, as it is a time when families reunite. This name also marries well with life in Brussels, as the summer holidays give way to a new legislative year. I for one am very glad to reunite together with you and all of our partners and friends here in Brussels as I am sure the coming months are going to be very exciting, also for relations between China and the EU.

Indeed, this festival is a celebration of the harvest, and this year we are reaping a rich harvest from nearly 40 years of China-EU diplomatic relations, which have gone from strength to strength. The first ever visit of a Chinese Head of State to the EU headquarters in the spring turned a new page in the history of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic partnership. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our European colleagues at all levels with the incoming leadership of the EU to maintain the momentum of our growth. As we speak, we and our European colleagues are trying to maximise every opportunity to achieve this goal. Bilateral trade continues to grow, reaching 559 billion dollars last year; intensive talks are underway aiming to further expand two-way investment. Commissioner Vassiliou is now in Beijing for the second China-EU High Level People-to-people Dialogue, which I’m sure, will achieve fruitful results.

Dear friends,

As journalists you often focus on the differences, but today I would invite you to consider the many things that draw us together. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of the harmony of the full moon, and the unity it represents. The concept of harmony – without uniformity – is very important to the Chinese people. Similarly in Europe you speak of being "united in diversity". This means that although we still have our differences, we have learned to respect these differences, deal with any small conflicts in a constructive way, and, most importantly, concentrate on where we successfully work together.

In two days’ time, millions of people not only in China, but in much of East and Southeast Asia, will be looking as one at the moon and celebrating this unity. As we share mooncakes, we also look together towards the future. Our region is full of dynamism, growth and opportunity. China is committed to playing a peaceful and constructive role in this development, and to ensuring its fruits are harmoniously shared by the people of our country, region and planet.

We value the role the EU can play in this process. There are 230,000 Chinese students studying in EU countries, and over 40,000 young Europeans are in China today: together, many of them will be sealing lasting friendships and bringing our people together, not by “breaking bread” but by “breaking mooncakes”.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This evening, I am honoured to consider you as my family, to “break mooncakes” with you, to celebrate the harmonious relations between our countries and regions, and to look together towards the future. I hope that we can work together over the coming months and years to promote mutual understanding and respect, and help the China-EU partnership prosper.

I wish you a happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Thank you.

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