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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Wu Xi at 2019 China-NZ Entrepreneurs Reception

Hon Mayor Phil Goff

Mr Wang Lei, Chairman of CCCNZ

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It’s a great pleasure to join you today.

First, I want to thank Chairman Wang Lei and his team for all their hard work in making the first China-NZ Entrepreneurs Conference a reality. I also would like to thank all of you for your dedication to China-NZ relations, and wish the Conference great success.

The year is fast coming to an end, leaving us with many good memories. Regardless of how the international and regional situations have changed, we can look back on 2019 as a time of strengthening bilateral relations, and increasing common interests of peace, stability and development.

I’d like to mention a few of the highlights from the past year.

In April, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made her first official visit to China, which generated positive results and new energy for the development of the China NZ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

2019 is also the ‘China – NZ Year of Tourism’. Events held in both countries successfully expanded tourism cooperation, as well as people to people exchanges between our two countries.

We have concluded negotiations to upgrade our bilateral FTA. 15 countries including China and NZ, concluded text and market access negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). These major success reflects the commitment of our two countries to adhere to free and open trade, and to support the rule-based, multilateral system.

We also made progress in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); our two-way trade exceeded $30 billion, and many NZ companies who attended the 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE) secured big contracts. It’s encouraging to see more and more NZ entities playing an active and important role in the Chinese market.

In the past 47 years since we established diplomatic ties, NZ has become China’s closest partner in the western world. We should be proud of our friendship and understand how it has developed so successfully.

From my understanding, the strong and stable relationship that we enjoy today rests in large part on the respect we have for each other’s paths, despite our differences in history, culture and social systems.

2019 has also been a milestone year for China, marking 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over the past seven decades, a prosperous, strong and peaceful China has emerged from a history marked by conflict,foreign humiliation and poverty. The development path ahead for China is socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Chinese people are united and confident in the system we have chosen. In October, the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its fourth plenary session in Beijing. This session will have a significant impact on China’s development. I would therefore like to elaborate on the key points of the session.

The plenary session adopted the decision on major issues concerning how to uphold and improve the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and how to advance the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance.

The decision pointed out that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental guarantee for China’s progress and development. The combined work and activities of China’s national governance are all carried out in accordance with the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China’s state and governance systems enjoy some notable strengths. These include upholding the centralized and unified leadership of the CPC, promoting people’s democracy, ensuring law-based governance in all fields, upholding equality between ethnic groups, upholding the synergy between the socialist system and market economy, adhering to the vision of people-centered development, continuing reform and innovation, upholding the principle of “one country, two systems”.

The decision points out that China will adhere to the unity of independence and self-reliance and opening up to the rest of the world; take an active role in global governance, and continuing to make contributions to building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

We will continue to adhere to the fundamental principle of China’s foreign policy of not interfering into any other countries’ internal affairs. Likewise, we do not want to see any other country interfere into that of ours.

Recently, some media are trying to smear China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang by hyping up Xinjiang-related issues, and certain politicians in some countries are enjoying the pleasure of accusing China whenever there’s hotspot news at hand. Here I’d like to reiterate our position on Xinjiang.

Xinjiang affairs are China’s internal affairs. From 1990 to 2016, thousands of violent and terrorist incidents occurred in Xinjiang, which caused heavy casualties and property losses. Under such circumstances, Xinjiang lawfully fought violent and terrorist crimes while addressing the root causes, and it hasn’t seen a single violent, terrorist incident over the past three years. The region now enjoys stability, ethnic solidarity and its people live a happy life.

There are no so called ‘issues’ related to ethnicity, religion or human rights in Xinjiang. On the contrary, the Chinese government protects the freedom of religious belief of all Chinese nationals, including Xinjiang Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. There are nearly 200 million religious believers in China. Among them are more than 20 million Muslims and over 380 thousand clerics. In Xinjiang, there are 24,400 mosques, which means there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims on average. Since the end of last year, thousands of foreign diplomats, international organization officials and media personnel have visited Xinjiang and seen with their own eyes the remarkable achievements in preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.

China will continue to implement our Xinjiang policy and ensure the region’s sound development. The most powerful response to certain media and individuals is Xinjiang’s lasting prosperity, stability, ethnic solidarity and social harmony.

There is no one-size-fits-all development path for the world. What matters is finding the path that can benefit our people continually. China will adhere to its ideals and beliefs; deepen the process of reform and opening up and promote high-quality development. A more open and modern China will bring more opportunities to the rest of the world, including NZ.

Based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit, the China-NZ relations has already achieved substantial results and will bring about more tangible benefits for our two peoples.

In the coming year, China will work more closely with all NZ communities to further strengthen the China-NZ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, advance the joint building of the BRI. We will continue to promote practical cooperation across the economy, including tourism, education and scientific research, environment and so on.

China will work to maintain the international order and the multilateral trading system, and safeguard world peace, security and prosperity. As an old Chinese saying goes, “faith moves mountains”. I am absolutely confident that with good faith and through joint efforts on both sides, China-NZ cooperation will continue to make new breakthroughs.

Thank you.

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