Remarks by H.E. Zhao Jianhua Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China

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Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China at the reception in celebration of the 67th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China
(September 27th , BGC Shangri La)

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Your Honorable Jesus I. Yabes, Undersecretary of Department of Foreign Affairs,
Your Honorable Senator Franklin Drilon,
Your Honorable Senator Cynthia Villar,
Your Honorable Senator Alan Cayetano,
Honorable Benjamin Diokno, Secretary of Budget and Management,
Your Excellency Fidel Ramos, former President of the Philippines,
Your Excellency Joseph Estrada, mayor of Manila and former President of the Philippines,
Your Honorable, Former Senator Bongbong Marcos,
H.E. Christian Anthony Vihruri, Vice Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Honorable Representatives, government officials of the Philippines,
Excellencies, colleagues at the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of the Chinese Community,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend our warm welcome and sincere thanks to you for joining us in the celebration of the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

In the short span of 67 years, China has made remarkable achievements in its national development. We have successfully turned our country into the world’s second largest economy and have lifted nearly 1.4 billion people from a life of chronic shortage, and brought them initial prosperity and unprecedented rights and dignity. This is not only a colossal change in the lives of the Chinese people but also a significant contribution to world peace and development.

People often ask me what are the secrets behind this great success. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the secrets, and you don’t have to keep them confidential.

Secret number one, a strong leadership that is dedicated to the well-being of the people, and a leadership that takes improving people’s lives as the fundamental goal of national economic and social development.

Secret number two, a consistent and correct national development strategy that allows flexible changes and adjustments with the times. We are now implementing the 13th Five-Year Plan for National Development.
Secret number three, a hardworking and diligent people who are willing to work long hours and spare no efforts in striving for a better life.

Secret number four, a stable, peaceful and cooperative regional and international environment, which allows us to concentrate on national development, which enables us to be the number one trading partner of over 100 countries. In this sense, peace and stability in our neighborhood have always been precious to us, because sustainable development would be impossible without regional peace and stability.
Hon. Jesus I. Yabes.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
China and the Philippines are not only neighbors, we are also close relatives with a history of friendly exchanges and profitable trade for more than a millennium. When looking at the map, some people would say, China and the Philippines are separated by the South China Sea. I would rather say that China and Philippines are connected and united by the South China Sea. For hundreds and thousands of years, our peoples have forged profound friendship and kinship by ways of the South China Sea. Our businessmen have prospered by conducting trade through the South China Sea. Our two nations’ fates were closely connected when we fought for our independence and dignity against colonization and aggression by foreign powers, whose warships invaded our shores mostly through the South China Sea.

The past, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future, and the future is yet to come. In the 21st century, the interconnected world is swiftly changing. New global and regional realities are rapidly working their way into the deepest structures of our lives, and they are becoming increasingly complex. Can we deal with the powerful dynamic of incessant, accelerating and complicated changes? Yes, we can, so long as we undergo a paradigm shift, a shift to grasp and stick to the theme of peace, development, cooperation, harmony and mutual benefit.

This paradigm shift is being exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative raised by President Xi Jinping when he visited Central Asia and Southeast Asia in September and October of 2013. This initiative aims to promote the connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas, establish and strengthen partnerships among the countries along the Belt and Road, set up all-dimensional, multi-tiered and composite connectivity networks, and realize diversified independent, balanced and sustainable development in these countries. The connectivity projects of the Initiative will help align and coordinate the development strategies of the countries along the Belt and Road, tap market potential in these regions, promote investment and consumption, create demand and job opportunities, enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and mutual learning among the peoples of the relevant countries, and enable them to understand, trust and respect each other and live in harmony, peace and prosperity.

China and the Philippines were linked by the ancient Maritime Silk Road, and should be united as natural partners by the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. We should promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds as our cooperation priorities. Specifically speaking, we need to enhance bilateral trade. China is ready to import more from the Philippines, particularly agricultural and fishery products that can directly benefit the farmers. With the Philippines becoming a founding member of AIIB, and the $40 billion Silk Road Fund set up by the Chinese government, there will be a big increase of investments in the areas of infrastructure development, industrial capacity cooperation and agriculture in the Philippines. To strengthen people-to-people contacts, and to benefit SMEs, China is working with the Philippines to increase the number of Chinese tourists to the Philippines. In the first half of 2016, the number of Chinese tourists increased by 79 percent, and given the rapid rate, the number will exceed one million by the end of 2017.

Hon. Jesus I. Yabes, ladies and gentlemen, as developing members of the United Nations and as active participants of regional cooperation and integration, both China and the Philippines share the common goal of promoting the interests of vast majority of developing countries, particularly when it comes to mutual respect and equality and the fundamental policy of non-interference in domestic affairs. Illegal drugs are the enemy of all mankind. It is the shared responsibility of all countries to fight against drug-related crimes. The Chinese government is a staunch force in the international campaign against drug crimes. The Chinese side fully understands and firmly supports the Duterte administration’s policy that prioritizes the fight against drug crimes and stands ready to continue to cooperate with the Philippines by providing further assistance and jointly implementing bilateral plans of action.

As two independent nations, it is natural for us to have different views and positions on certain issues. What matters most is that we both are committed to peaceful means to settle our differences through friendly bilateral dialogues and negotiations. What matters most is that we seek and expand common interests by fostering and strengthening friendship and cooperation. As friends and partners, as long as China and the Philippines maintain the political willingness to resolve problems, there will be no insurmountable obstacles in the future development of bilateral relations.

Ever since President Duterte took office, China and the Philippines have been engaging in friendly interactions, which have yielded a series of positive results. The clouds are fading away. The sun is rising over the horizon, and will shine beautifully on the new chapter of bilateral relations.

To conclude, I would like to propose a toast:

To the health and happiness of H.E. President Rodrigo Duterte and H.E. President Xi Jinping,

To the prosperity and happiness of our two peoples,

To the friendship and cooperation between China and the Philippines,
To the health of all the guests,

Cheers!

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