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Remarks by Ambassador Wu Xi at the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Founding of the People's Republic of China and the China National Symphony Orchestra Concert in the Cook Islands

Honorable Acting Prime Minister Robert Tapaitau,

Honorable Minister Rose Brown,

Leaders of the Opposition and Members of Parliament,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Mrs Puna,

Senior Officials,

And the Ui Ariki,

Kia Orana!

Thank you all for joining us in the reception to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the China National Symphony Orchestra Concert!

First, let me express my gratitude to the Cook Islands Government for its support to this reception and concert,and the Cook Islands people for their warm Pacific hospitality! My appreciation also goes to the talented musicians led by Madam Ma Junying for travelling thousands of miles across the Pacific to the Cook Islands to present this musical performance!

Over the past 70 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have made great achievements through concerted efforts and struggle.

The Chinese nation has realized a tremendous transformation. It has emerged confident, grown prosperous and is becoming stronger. Chinese people's living standards have improved dramatically. Over the past four decades, China has lifted more than 850 million people out of poverty - 70% of all people lifted out of poverty globally over the same period. China has transformed itself from a poor and underdeveloped agricultural country into the world's second largest economy, the world's largest industrial manufacturer, and the world's largest trader of goods.

China's development over the past 70 years has not only benefited 1.3 billion Chinese people. It has also made significant contributions to world peace and prosperity. China is responsible for delivering more than 30% of global economic growth in recent times, making it the main stabiliser and engine of the world economy.

China is an architect and builder of world peace and a guardian of the global order, contributing wisdom and strength to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

China will continue to hold the banners of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and keep firmly to the path of peaceful development.

As a well-known Chinese saying goes, good friends feel close even when they are thousands of miles apart. China and the Cook Islands, though separated by vast oceans and different in history and culture, have maintained good relations. Over the past 22 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, our two countries have treated each other with respect and as equals. The exchanges between China and the Cook Islands have continued to embody the spirit of mutual learning to boost common development. We have made steady progress in cooperation across various fields and have maintained good communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. China highly appreciates the Cook Islands’ firm adherence to the One-China policy.

In November last year, President Xi Jinping met in Papua New Guinea with leaders from Pacific Island countries, which have established diplomatic ties with China. President Xi also had bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Henry Puna. The leaders reached consensus to develop comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect for common development, adding new energy to bilateral relations. China stands ready to work with the Cook Islands to actively implement the outcome to further advance bilateral relations.

Last week, the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum was held in Samoa. Cook Islands sent a high-level delegation to the Forum. Vice Premier Hu Chunhua exchanged views with Pacific Islands Leaders on important issues such as Belt and Road, trade and investment, infrastructure, tourism and climate change, and announced eight measures to further support the economic and social development of the Pacific island countries. An Action Programme of China Pacific Island Countries Economic Development Cooperation was signed during the Forum, which injects new impetus into our relationship.

China attaches great importance to the concerns of small island countries on climate change. It is firmly committed to full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and will fulfill our own goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, China will provide assistance within its capacity to help the Pacific Island Countries to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

In November this year, the 2nd China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai. We welcome the Cook Islands to be present at the Import Expo to promote its products to the growing Chinese market.

Cooperation between China and the Cook Islands under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has broad opportunities. Last year, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on jointly promoting the construction of the BRI. Earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown led a delegation to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We believe that the Cook Islands will benefit significantly from the BRI through active participation.

Our people-to-people and cultural exchanges are flourishing. The successful launch of the ‘China Pacific Tourism Year 2019’, and the concert presented by the China National Symphony Orchestra are examples of closer cultural exchange between our two countries. Let the friendship between our two peoples fly on the wings of music across the great Pacific Ocean, and let our bilateral relations bring forward a more prosperous era for all of us!

To conclude, I would like to propose a toast,

to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,

to the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China,

to the friendship between the Chinese and Cook Islands people,

to the health of everyone here today.


Thank you.

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