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Address by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe at the Chinese New Year Concert

Your Excellency Lady Ashton,

Commissioner Cioloş,

Distinguished Guests,

Good evening!

One week from today, the Chinese people will celebrate the Spring Festival, the New Year’s Day in Chinese calendar, the most important festival of a year. We are biding farewell to the Year of Tiger and welcoming the Year of Rabbit. Tonight, I welcome you to share with us the festive excitement at this New Year Concert.

We Chinese believe that the Spring Festival is the right moment to review the year past and make plans for the year ahead.

The year 2010 was an eventful year for China’s development. We have successfully held the Shanghai World Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games. We have accomplished all national development targets set in the 11th Five Year Plan. Impressive economic and social progress has further sustained China’s overall strength. People emerged unabated from natural disasters like the Yushu earthquake.

The year 2010 was also a fruitful year for China-EU relations. We celebrated the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Europe. Our political relations have grown steadily. Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have paid successful visits to Europe. From the EU, President Barroso, President Buzek, and High Representative Lady Ashton visited China. In business cooperation, our two-way trade registered a record 480 billion US dollars last year. China purchased government bonds of Greek and Spain, and has taken credible steps to support Europe’s response to the sovereign debt crisis. Last year, we have also launched Youth Policy Dialogue, and held the first China-EU Youth Summit and High-Level Cultural Forum. People-to-people exchange has become the highlight of China-EU cooperation.

This year, 2011, China will begin to implement the 12th Five Year Plan. In the course of next five years, we will commit ourselves to five major development goals, namely stable and steady economic growth, economic structural improvement, comprehensive household revenue increase, social progress, and continued reform and opening up. Against the backdrop of a complicated and volatile international and domestic economic environment, the Chinese government will implement the macroeconomic policy that is active, sound, prudent and flexible. We will accelerate the shift of economic growth pattern, further promote structural adjustment, and maintain stable and steady economic growth in pursuit for social harmony and stability.

The year 2011 also bears great significance on China-EU relations. In the second decade of the 21st century, it is even more imperative for China and Europe to strengthen our strategic partnership. This partnership is essential for our respective development, and it will contribute an active part to peace, development, and effective response to global challenges and hotspot issues. As Europe begins to ground its 2020 Strategy, we should work more closely to tap the potential of our increased converging interest for new development opportunities.

I am particularly pleased to say that people-to-people exchange has become another main pillar of China-EU cooperation in the New Year. Two weeks ago, we have together witnessed the opening of EU-China Year of Youth. And year 2012 has already been designated as the Year of Intercultural Dialogue. We believe that these people-to-people exchanges will help us build more understanding and support for China-EU relations between our two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The healthy and steady growth in China-EU relations wouldn’t have been possible without your dedication and support. On behalf of the Mission of China, I wish to thank you all for your valuable contribution over the past years. And I promise that in the New Year, we will continue to work with you to further promote the growth of China-EU ties.

Thank you!

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