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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

Rt. Hon Winston Peters, Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister

Hon. Jenny Salesa, Minister for Ethnic Communities

Members of Parliament,

Dean and Members of Diplomatic Corps,

Dear friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou kātoa

Thank you all for joining us today, celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Seventy years is but a snapshot in the history of human development and a short episode in the 5000 years of Chinese history. Yet I wonder if there has ever been seven decades when China has experienced such profound changes, such tremendous transformation, and made such great strides forward. The world has witnessed a new China standing up, becoming wealthier and stronger.

So, what has changed in China during the past seven decades?

First, the lives of the Chinese people have been transformed. Over the past four decades, we have lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty. That is 70% of all the people in the world who have been lifted out of poverty during the same period.

Chinese people's living standards have also been improved dramatically. In the early 60s, having a watch, a bicycle and a radio in a Chinese family was considered a sign of wealth and social status. In the 80s, this changed to having a TV, a refrigerator and a washing machine. Now, a decent car and a cozy apartment are the preconditions for a marriage, normally provided by the boy's family. In China we like to call this the life of moderate prosperity.

The Second great transformation has been the growth and modernization of our economy. Over the past 70 years, and especially since reform and opening up began 40 years ago, the hard work of the Chinese people has transformed China from a poor and backward agricultural country, into the world's second largest economy, the world's largest industrial manufacturer, and the world's largest trader of goods.

China has also made remarkable scientific and technological advancements. Our achievements span many fields, including manned space flight, lunar exploration, quantum science, deep-sea exploration, supercomputing and satellite navigation.

The third great transformation has been the way we interact with the world. China's development has allowed us to make greater contribution to world peace and development. As a permanent member of the UN security council, we take our responsibility seriously for maintaining international peace. We are actively engaged in reforming and developing the global governance system. We advocate strongly for resolving differences through peaceful dialogue and consultation.

At the heart of the way we interact with other nations is the partnerships we have built with other countries. This global partnership creates mutual prosperity and promotes peace. That is why we have begun the the Belt and Road initiative, which is aimed to further deepen our relationship with people across the world and continue to promote peace and prosperity.

And now we look to the future. The great question we are looking to answer in China and many of our foreign friends are also asking is: How will a stronger China develop itself and engage with the rest of the world?

Before answering the question, we have to understand that despite of some dazzling GDP growth figures, China remains a developing country. Our per capita GDP is no more than one quarter that of New Zealand. Poverty has not yet been totally eliminated. The principal challenge facing Chinese society is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life.

History is a mirror to the future. Our success in the past 70 years was built on the right path we chose, our commitment to peaceful development and our own hard work.

In the future we will remain on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We will maintain our strategic focus as we respond to external uncertainties. We will promote coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement. We have learned from history that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the best way for China to continue to develop. This is also the historical choice of the Chinese people.

We will carry on and deepen the reform and opening up. As President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed on many occasions, in the future, China's door will only open wider to the world. He has also announced further steps towards opening the Chinese market, expanding imports, improving the business environment, and welcomed all interested partners to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.

China's contribution to the global economy has proved to the world that openness leads to progress for all nations while protectionism leaves nations behind. China will continue to stand for multilateralism and free trade, and will expand opening-up to promote more widespread economic and social development in China and around the world.

We will continue to forge ahead on the road of peaceful development. Now we live in a world that is undergoing profound changes, unseen in a century. Amid the tremendous changes, peace and development remain the theme of our times. China stays firmly committed to peaceful development.

Guided by President Xi Jinping's thoughts on diplomacy in the new era, China is committed to building a new type of international relations and promoting an international community with a shared future for mankind. We will continue to build closer collaboration partnerships with the nations of world and promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative.

China and New Zealand share many common interests in promoting peace, stability and development. It is by following principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit that the China-New Zealand relationship has achieved so many concrete outcomes and brought so many tangible benefits to our peoples.

Our friendship shows the world that differences in size, social system and cultural tradition need not necessarily stand in the way of growing deeper bilateral ties. So long as countries treat each other as equals, and view each other's development as opportunities rather than challenges, they can always find common ground and transcend their differences.

China stands ready to work with New Zealand to further promote and consolidate the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to bring more benefits to our two peoples, and to safeguard the international regime and multilateral trading system for a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world.

To conclude, I would like to propose a toast,

to Her Majesty Elizabeth II, the Queen of New Zealand,

to the friendship between the Chinese and New Zealand people,

to the health of everyone here tonight.

Thank you.

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