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Address by Ambassador Zhang Ping at the Reception in Celebration of 2016 Chinese New Year
(Chinese Embassy, 30th January 2016)
2016/01/30

Honorable Prime Minister Bainimarama and Mme. Prime Minister

Honorable Ministers,

Excellencies and members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Chinese Community and Business Representatives,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

    Amidst the exciting drumbeats of the Lion dance, we are about to farewell the Year of Goat and greet the arrival of the Year of Monkey. Today, the Chinese Embassy in Fiji is filled with joy and happiness with festival decorations all over the place. Guests from all walks of life gather here to celebrate this important traditional festival of Chinese People. First of all, please allow me to extend warm welcome to all the distinguished guests present here. I wish to give my special welcome to Hon. Prime Minister Bainimarama and Mme. Prime Minister, Hon. Foreign Minister Kubuabola and Mme Gong Erzhen, Vice-Chairperson of Guangzhou Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and her delegation. Thank you very much for joining us in this celebration.

    2015 was a crucial year for China in terms of comprehensive deepening of reforms. The Chinese government has continued its efforts to shift growth pattern, make structural adjustment and institutional innovation. China has made new and major achievements in social and economic development. Against the intricate international environment and increasingly downward pressure on Chinese economy, the performance of Chinese economy was generally stable with economic structure being more optimized, transformation and upgrading further accelerated, and livelihood of the people further improved. China’s economy has achieved a 6.9 % GDP growth, with total volume reaching 67.6 trillion RMB yuan, equivalent of 10.3 trillion USD last year. The speed of growth still remains at the forefront in the world.

    2015 also saw remarkable achievements and highlights in China’s diplomacy. China actively participated in international affairs and offered a series of proposals and initiatives which has produced a wide range and far-reaching impact on global political, economic and security affairs, playing a constructive role in maintaining world peace and promoting common development.

    2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Fiji. Since President Xi Jinping’s historic state visit to Fiji in November 2014, China and Fiji have embarked on a new journey to build the strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development. Our two countries have carried out extensive and productive exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Prime Minister Bainimarama paid an official visit to China. 21 Chinese delegations of vice-ministerial level or above visited Fiji. Bilateral trade grew steadily, with trade volume reaching 318 million US dollars by November. A number of projects on roads, bridges and hydro-electric station built by Chinese companies have been completed and put into operation, including the newly opened Nabouwalu-Dreketi highway, which was funded by China’s concessional loan. The China-aid rice farming and mushroom growing project proceed well, bringing tangible benefits to the Fijian People. People to people exchanges increased further and sub-national exchanges remain robust. More than 40,000 Chinese visitors visited Fiji last year, a 40.9% increase year on year. China remains the fastest growing source country for Fiji’s tourism. The opening of the Fiji China Culture Center provides a new avenue for China-Fiji cultural exchange.

    2015 also witnessed the celebration of the 160th anniversary of Chinese arrival in Fiji by the Chinese community. The celebration highlighted the contribution made by Chinese community to Fiji’s social and economic development and showcased the traditional friendship between our two peoples.

    I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to all the Fijian friends, the Chinese community and the Chinese companies for their long term support and contribution to China-Fiji friendship and cooperation.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    In a week’s time, we will enter into the Year of Monkey. In Chinese culture, the Year of Monkey symbolizes vigor, vitality and accomplishments. It will be an energetic and vigorous year for China to implement the 13th five year plan and to advance its course of building a moderately well-off society in all around way. It will also be an energetic and vigorous year for the development of China-Fiji relations. It is my sincere hope that through the joint efforts, 2016 will be another fruitful year for China-Fiji relations. I look forward to working more closely with all our friends to achieve greater success for our relationship.

    Lastly, I would like to propose a toast:

    To the happiness and good health of Honorable Prime Minister and all the guests,

    To the friendship and cooperation between China and Fiji,

    Cheers!

    Happy Spring Festival! 新春快乐!

    Thank you!Vinaka!

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