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Speech by Ambassador Zhang Ping at the Chinese New Year Reception

His Excellency President Konrote,

Hon. Chief Justice Gates,

Hon. Ministers,

Excellencies and members of diplomatic corps,

Chinese Community leaders and Business representatives,

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Bula Vinaka and very good evening to you all.

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, in two days time, we are about to farewell the Year of the Monkey and greet the arrival of the Year of the Rooster. Tonight amid joyful festive atmosphere, we gather here to celebrate this most auspicious festival of the Chinese people. On behalf of my wife and all the embassy staff, I wish to extend warm welcome and festive greetings to all the distinguished guests present here tonight. I also wish to thank in particular His Excellency President Konrote and Hon. Chief Justice Gates for honoring us with their presence.

2016 has been an extraordinary year for the Chinese people. The 13th Five-Year plan has got off to a great start. We have been actively practicing new development theories, accelerating the process of building up a moderately prosperous society in a all-round way, pushing forward our economic growth to be at the forefront of the world. The whole year's GDP growth is expected to reach 6.7%. We have also been actively enhancing and deepening comprehensive reform and made significant strides in the supply-side structural reform. The main framework of reform in all areas has been basically established.

2016 has also been an important year in which China's diplomacy has blazed new paths and made new progress. We stick to the path of peaceful development and have been playing a constructive role in maintaining world peace. We strive for shared and win-win development and have made unswerving efforts in steering economic globalization toward greater inclusiveness and shared benefits. We have actively participated in the global governance and successfully hosted G20 Hangzhou summit, putting development for the first time in global macro policy framework, contributing to the world Chinese wisdom and Chinese prescription for both the short term and long term issues of global growth. We have been actively promoting global connectivity and win-win cooperation. The "Belt and Road" initiative has achieved a large number of early harvests. We have been actively fulfilling our international obligations, carrying out South-South Cooperation in such areas as climate change, sustainable development and many others.

2016 has also been the year of further deepening of the strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development between China and Fiji. Over the last year, the two sides have been working hard to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of our two countries and have achieved fruitful results in our bilateral relations. Contacts between our two leaders and personnel exchanges on different levels remained frequent. Trade and investment continued to grow. People to people exchanges, and interactions on the sub regional level remained robust. Just yesterday, Fiji Airways made its inaugural Spring Festival charter flight from Hangzhou, bringing about 300 Chinese tourists to Fiji. China has become Fiji's largest source of foreign investment and fastest growing market for Fiji tourism.

Being a major development partner and sincere friend of Fiji, China actively promotes mutually beneficial cooperation with Fiji under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and has provided strong and firm support to the Fiji's economic and social development, including to its effort to confront climate change challenges and to realize its sustainable development goals. The Chinese government and people have lent a timely helping hand to assist Fijian people in their fight against the TC Winston devastation and post disaster reconstruction. China-Fiji friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of our two peoples.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my profound appreciation and thanks to all those who have contributed to and who have long been supporting the development of China-Fiji relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Mankind is in an ear of major development as well as profound transformation and change. While the forces for peace far outweigh factors causing war, and the trend of our times toward peace, development, cooperation and win-win outcomes has gained stronger momentum, challenges and risks to peace and development are also increasing. In face of a rising tide of global concern for protectionism, anti-globalization sentiment and other economic and political issues, President Xi Jingping laid out the China's proposition in his speech at the United Nations Office at Geneva during his recent visit to Switzerland, which is to build a community of shared future for mankind and achieve shared and win-win development, calling on the international community to make concerted efforts to build a world of lasting peace through dialogue and consultation, a world of common security for all through joint efforts, a world of common prosperity through win-win cooperation, an open and inclusive world through exchanges and mutual learning and make our world clean and beautiful by pursing green and low carbon development. President Xi's also reiterated that China's commitment to upholding world peace will remain unchanged, its commitment to pursuing common development will remain unchanged and its commitment to fostering partnerships will remain unchanged. China will continue to pursue a win-win strategy of opening-up, share our development opportunities with other countries and welcome them aboard the fast train of China's development. In the coming five years, China will import 8 trillion US dollars of goods , attract 600 billion US dollars of foreign investment, make 750 billion US dollars of outbound investment and Chinese tourists will make 700 million outbound visits. All this will bring more development opportunities to other countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The rooster symbolizes bright prospect and auspiciousness. The upcoming new year of the rooster will present new hopes and opportunities to China Fiji cooperation. In May this year, China will host in Beijing the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which aims to discuss ways to boost cooperation, build cooperation platforms and share cooperation outcomes. It is my sincere hope that we will be able to seize the opportunity brought by the Belt and Road Initiative and further expand our bilateral exchanges and cooperation, raise the level of our overall cooperation so as to bring greater benefits to both of our peoples.

Finally, I wish to propose a toast:

To the Good health of HE President Xi and President Konrote,

To the great friendship between the Chinese and Fijian peoples,

To the happiness and good health of all the distinguished guests. Cheers.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone.

Thank you. Vinaka.

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