Remarks by Consul-General Cai Siping at the Dinner Celebrating the 2018 Chinese New Year
(Adelaide Oval, South Australia, 12 February, 2018)
2018/02/14
 

His Excellency the Hon. Hieu Van Le, Governor of South Australia and Mrs Lan Le,

The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP, Premier of South Australia,

The Hon. Susan Close MP, Minister for Education and Child Development,

The Hon. Russell Wortley, President of the Legislative Council and Mrs Wortley,

Ms Vickie Chapman MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, representing the Leader of the Opposition,

Distinguished guests, fellow Chinese, ladies and gentlemen,

The Spring Festival, the most important traditional festival of the Chinese nation, is just around the corner. At this auspicious time for reunion, I am very delighted to be here with you celebrating and looking forward to the year of dog. On behalf of the Consulate-General of China in Adelaide, I would like to extend our sincere new year greetings and best wishes to all local Chinese people, Chinese enterprises and overseas students, as well as our dear friends from different backgrounds in South Australia. I would also like to express our deep gratitude to all of you for your substantial contributions to the development of friendly relations between China and South Australia.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China successfully held in 2017 declared that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. At this Congress, to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind was identified as the overarching goal of China’s foreign policy, a blueprint for China’s external relations was drawn up, and China’s commitment to working with other countries for common development and a bright future was fully demonstrated. It has opened up new horizons for the cause to fully build a modern socialist China. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China’s economy in 2017 has registered a stable performance with good momentum for growth. As the economic dynamism and market potential were further unleashed, the whole-year GDP has crossed the threshold of 80 trillion yuan for the first time and reached 82.7 trillion yuan, exceeding earlier projections. In the meantime, China has gained a new outlook, made new accomplishments and taken new responsibilities on the diplomatic front. A number of successful events were hosted by China such as the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the BRICS Xiamen Summit. Over the past year, we have forged greater synergy for the Belt and Road Initiative, have made great efforts to steer globalization in the right direction, have explored more avenues to advance our mutually beneficial relations with other countries, and have initiated a new model for BRICS cooperation. Chinese people both at home and abroad are extraordinarily proud of and greatly inspired by China’s sea changes and brilliant achievements of development.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe China-Australia relations are very important to both countries. China and Australia have established 103 sister state-province or sister cities relationships. There were nearly 2 million visits between the two countries last year, including 1.2 million Chinese tourists visiting Australia, contributing AUD $9.8 billion to Australian economy. The number of overseas students from China in Australia is about to hit 190,000, accounting for 30% of the international students in Australia. Every week, there are now 236 flights between our two countries. Last year, Australia’s wine exports to mainland China alone reached a record-breaking value of AUD $848 million, and AUD $118 million to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, together amounting to almost AUD $1 billion. And that equates to China importing AUD $2.7 million of wine from Australia every day. According to preliminary statistics collected by China Customs, the total trade volume between China and Australia had a year-on-year increase of 25.7% in 2017, up to USD $12.77 billion, with Australia’s exports increased by 35.5% and imports increased by 9.3%. China and Australia are important trading partners with each other. China has remained as Australia’s largest trading partner for 8 years in a row. China’s investment in Australia is growing fast in increasingly expanded cooperation areas. It has created jobs in Australia and brought benefits to Australia’s economy.

The figures listed above demonstrate that the healthy and stable China-Australia relations conform to the interests of both countries. China has been making unremitting effort to this end. I hope people from all circles of Australia, especially people in politics, media and think tanks, can show great foresight and produce positive energy for a healthy and stable China-Australia relationship. We look forward to deepening cooperation, enhancing mutual trust and handling differences properly for the sound development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. Then we shall join our hands for a win-win for the benefits of our two peoples.

We are thrilled to see that both China and South Australia continue to highly value developing cooperative and friendly relations with each other and much effective work has been done in this regard. The friendly relations between China and South Australia have warmed up further over the past year with fruitful results achieved in regional exchanges and pragmatic cooperation across various sectors. Premier Jay Weatherill headed a delegation to Shandong Province in May last year while Shandong’s Governor Gong Zheng paid a reciprocal visit to South Australia last September, during which the two sides signed a series of cooperative and mutually beneficial documents. We also witnessed friendly inter-parliamentary exchanges as the Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee visited the South Australia Parliament last year. The economic and trade exchanges taking place between China and South Australia are becoming increasingly dynamic. The size of the investment scaled up quickly with further expanded cooperation areas, taking our pragmatic cooperation to the next level. The development of China-South Australia friendship has attracted an increasing number of solid Chinese enterprises to bring their investments to South Australia. In 2017 alone, there were 6 Chinese enterprises including Changyu Pioneer Wine Company, Hanergy Holding Group Limited and Jiujiang Group Limited that had established their investments in South Australia, involving wine-making, renewable energy, mining, power equipment, building materials and others. Besides, the cooperation in education and cultural exchanges have also been boosted. Following Port Adelaide’s highly successful AFL match in Shanghai last May, the team will play in the same city again this year. These achievements would not have been possible without your efforts and dedication. In that spirit, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you. At the same time, my special thanks go to the South Australian Government led by Premier Jay Weatherill for their vigorous efforts and positive contributions made in developing friendship and pragmatic cooperation between the two sides, as well as for hosting this far-reaching Chinese New Year reception together with me.

Ladies and gentlemen, 2018 will go down as the year of the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up policy, the 5th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the first year for the implementation of the decisions taken at the 19th CPC National Congress, which represents new opportunities for the development of China-South Australia relations. We will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, stay committed to opening-up as a fundamental policy and a mutually beneficial strategy, actively expand cooperation across all sectors with South Australia.

The first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai in November this year, which creates a platform for companies across the world to further tap into Chinese market and increase international cooperation. It testifies to China’s readiness to open its market to the world and its support for the liberalization and facilitation of global trade and investment. China is a huge market with its doors open wide. China’s development presents opportunities both to the world and to the common development of China and Australia. Together with the South Australian Government, we would like to invite more and better competitive industries of South Australia to showcase their advantages and featured products at the Expo, which will lend fresh impetus to the sound development of trade between both sides and achieve mutually beneficial results as well as our common prosperity. Guided by a people-centered philosophy, we will remain true to the very purpose of China’s diplomacy to serve the people by offering more convenience to and better safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of local Chinese and Chinese enterprises.

Fellow Chinese and friends, please all join me in wishing China prosperity, and the friendly relationship between China and South Australia up to a new level. Thank you!

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