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Advancing China-New Zealand Relations with the Spirit of Pioneering -- Ambassador WU Xi's Speech at the "Chinese New Year Market Day" Celebration
2020/01/21

Rt Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand,

Honourable Simon Bridges, Leader of the Opposition,

Hon Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland,

Mr Kai Luey, Chairman of Auckland Chinese Community Centre,

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Ngā mihi o te tau hou, te tau o te Poaka!

大家好,拜年了!祝大家鼠年吉祥,阖家幸福!

It is my great pleasure to join you to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rat. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my most sincere greetings and best wishes to all the members of the local Chinese community and our New Zealand friends!

The rat is the first among the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. It represents intelligence, dilligence, and vitality. It also symbolizes the spirit of pioneering which lies in the people of both China and New Zealand.

The pioneering spirit led Maori on their great journey across the Pacific, finding the land of Aotearoa. In recent history, it has guided New Zealanders of many backgrounds in the building of this beautiful country. In the past 70 years, the Chinese people, led by the pioneering spirit of hard work and self-reliance, have achieved miracles of rapid economic development and long-term social stability, making China stronger, more confident and more prosperous.

The Chinese people have gone through an extraordinary journey over the last year.

--We celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. Over the past seven decades, China has developed into the second largest economy in the world, contributing over a third of global economic growth. We have lifted more than 850 million people out of poverty. We have consolidated the advantages of China's system and capacity for governance and have created a map for their further improvement.

--We moved forward under a complex international environment. In 2019, unilateralism and protectionism became more prominent and international geopolitical risks increased. Globalization and the rules-based international system encountered unprecedented challenges. The external risks to China's development have risen significantly.

Despite of the complicated situation both at home and abroad, China has maintained sustained and sound economic and social development and has made key breakthroughs in "three tough battles." These are: making notable progress in targeted poverty reduction; effectively preventing and controlling financial risks, and improving the environment in general.

As a result, the IMF and the World Bank recently predicted that in 2019, China's GDP will reach 14 trillion US dollars with an expected growth rate of 6.1%. The per-capita GDP of China is expected to be over 10,000 USD.

As some of you might noticed, China and the United States have reached phase one trade agreement on the basis of equality and mutual respect. This agreement reflects the concerns of both China and the United States and is consistent with the general direction of China's reform and opening up. We hope that the United States will honor its commitments in the agreement. Stopping the escalation of the trade war will have a positive effect on stabilizing the global market. It is good for China, the United States, and the entire world. It will not harm the interests of China's other trading partners. China continues to welcome equal participation of companies from all countries in the Chinese market.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The spirit of pioneering is also the key to the success of China-New Zealand relations. Looking back over the last year, China-New Zealand relations have seen remarkable progress:

We deepened mutual political trust. Prime Minister Ardern successfully made her first official visit to China. The leaders of our two countries reached important consensus on deepening the China-New Zealand Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

We enhanced business cooperation. China-New Zealand bilateral trade now exceeds 30 billion New Zealand dollars. We have concluded the negotiation to upgrade our free trade agreement, and maintained close communication on Belt and Road cooperation.

We made fruitful cultural exchanges. The China-New Zealand Year of Tourism effectively promoted people to people exchanges and tourism industries in both countries.

We maintained strong multilateral cooperation. We jointly promoted the overall conclusion of RCEP negotiations and continued to expand cooperation to help Pacific island countries to deal with the challenges of climate change.

Ladies and gentlemen,

2020 is a landmark year in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We will complete the 13th Five-Year Plan and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. On the basis of achieving this first centenary goal, we will set foot on the new great journey of realizing the second centenary goal and comprehensively achieve socialist modernization.

2020 is also an important year for the development of China-New Zealand relations. We should deepen mutual political trust and promote high-level exchanges. We should further our economic cooperation under the "Belt and Road", and taking full advantage of the upgrade of FTA. We should support more people-to-people exchanges by facilitating more conversations about culture, technology and education. We should jointly handle global and regional challenges such as unilateralism, protectionism, extremism and climate change. We should better accommondate each other's core interests and major concerns, and properly handle those issues which we have different views with mutual respect and equality.

Just as the rat ranks first among the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, China-New Zealand relations remain at the forefront of China's relations with developed countries, having achieved many historic "firsts". President Xi Jinping has said that China stands ready to work with New Zealand to maintain our ties as a "front-runner" in relations between China and Western countries.

I'm confident that with our joint efforts, China-New Zealand relations will have a much brighter future and bring more tangible benefits to our two peoples.

To conclude, I want to thank the local Chinese communities for your long term support to China-NZ relations and wish all of you a happy and prosperous Year of the Golden Rat!

Thank you!

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