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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Xu Hong at the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China
2019/09/27

Your Excellency Madam Ankie Broekers-Knol, State Secretary of Justice and Security,

Your Excellency Mr. Fernando Arias, Director-General of OPCW,

Excellencies and distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good evening! Welcome to the reception hosted by the Chinese Embassy to jointly celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China!

70 years ago on the Tian'anmen rostrum, Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly declared the founding of the People's Republic of China, putting an end to the country's century-long suffering from foreign aggression and oppression, unifying the war-torn and disintegrated China, and fulfilling a long-sought dream of national independence and liberation.

Over the past 70 years, China has made remarkable progress in its development. In 2018, China's GDP achieved over 90 trillion RMB, which is an increase of 174 times compared with 1952. China has become the second largest economy, the largest manufacturer, the largest trader in goods, the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves, the second largest consumption market and the second largest destination for foreign investment. China has achieved major breakthroughs in manned space flight and lunar exploration. With the development of high-speed railway, 5G technology and super computer, it has amazed the world with China speed. China has ranked first in the world in the number of invention patent applications for many consecutive years. It has made all-round progress in human rights development and the Chinese people feel more satisfied, happier and more secure than ever before. China's per capita gross national income increased by 360 times in 70 years' time, from roughly 27 dollars to 9732 dollars, and the average life expectancy has gone up from 35 to 77 years. Over the 40-odd years since reform and opening up, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty, becoming the first developing country to hit the poverty reduction target in the UN Millennium Development Goals. China has built the world's largest social security network, with a basic pension insurance system covering more than 900 million people, a basic health insurance system covering 1.3 billion, and, on top of that, a nine-year compulsory education system free for all school children. We the Chinese people are truly proud of all these historic achievements.

Over the past 70 years, China has been progressing together with the world. The five principles of "mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence" initiated by the Chinese government have become basic norms governing international relations as well as fundamental principles for international law. China's development and progress cannot be achieved without the world, while the world peace and prosperity cannot be maintained without China's contribution. China played a pivotal role in the global response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the 2008 international financial crisis; China has provided nearly 60 billion dollars in development assistance to more than 160 countries and international organizations; China has actively participated in UN peacekeeping operations, dispatching nearly 40000 peacekeepers; China has become the main driving force for global growth, contributing more than 30% to the world's economic growth. China is working together with the international community to address global challenges such as terrorism and climate change. In recent years, China has proposed to build a new type of international relations and a community with shared future for mankind, and promoted the Belt and Road Initiative under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, contributing Chinese solutions and wisdom to global governance.

How did China come this far in a short span of 70 years? The fundamental reason is that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have chosen a development path that suits China. The original aspiration and mission of the CPC and the Chinese government is to seek happiness for the people. We are committed to developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, to a people-center approach, to reform and opening-up and to a path of peaceful development. With these beliefs, people of all ethnic groups in China have united as one, blazed new trails and achieved one miracle after another. The Chinese nation has achieved tremendous transformation-it has stood up, grown rich and is becoming strong.

A blueprint is upon us. Facing toward the future, we feel even more confident. We will continue to comprehensively deepen reform and open up wider, maintain stable economic growth and deliver common prosperity and all-round development to the Chinese people. We will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, achieve peaceful reunification of the country and maintain long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macao. We will continue to hold high the banner of peaceful development and win-win cooperation and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. We have confidence and the ability to overcome all kinds of challenges, whether foreseeable or not, and realize the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation!

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

The past 70 years have witnessed the continuous development of the Sino-Dutch relationship. The Netherlands was among the first western countries to officially recognize the People's Republic of China (PRC). Princess Beatrix was one of the first royal members from Europe to visit China. The Sino-Dutch relations have withstood the changes in the international landscape and continued to mature. In 2014, President Xi Jinping chose the Netherlands as the first stop in his first visit to Europe and jointly affirmed with his majesty King Willem-Alexander to establish an "Open and Pragmatic Partnership for Comprehensive Cooperation", ushering the China-Dutch relationship into its best time in history. As the gateway to Europe, the Netherlands has become a major hub for the Belt & Road Initiative and Eurasian connectivity. Our two countries enjoy frequent high-level exchanges. Our bilateral trade grew from a mere 69 million dollars in 1972 to 85 billion dollars in 2018, an increase of more than 1000 times. The people-to-people exchanges between our two countries has grown from fewer than 100 people a year to 1.3 million, the number of Chinese tourists to the Netherlands has increased to nearly 350,000 a year, about 10000 Chinese students are studying in the Netherlands, booming the Sino-Dutch cultural exchanges. The popular foundation for our bilateral relationship has grown from strength to strength. Here, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and sincere greetings to all the friends present, and to all the people who support China and contribute to the development of Sino-Dutch relations.

In a world undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, we are all faced with new risks and challenges. Erasmus said, "Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself." The "Open and Pragmatic Partnership for Comprehensive Cooperation" established by our leaders is the light that illuminates our way forward. It demonstrates that the nature of our relationship is "partnership" rather than opponents, that the theme of our relations is "comprehensive cooperation" rather than suspicion and confrontation, and that the relationship is "open and pragmatic" rather than closed and exclusive. We should be partners that treat each other with sincerity and mutual respect. Let's continue to enhance our mutual understanding and mutual trust, seek common ground while reserving differences, and help each other succeed. We should be partners that are open and pragmatic and pursue win-win cooperation. Let's further strengthen synergy between our development strategies and expand cooperation areas to deliver more benefits to the people and businesses of our two countries. We should be partners that meet challenges together and seek common progress. Let's jointly uphold multilateralism and free trade, work together to tackle climate change, and promote peace, security and common prosperity for the international community. I believe that if China and the Netherlands go hand in hand, we will write a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations and jointly make new and greater contributions to the progress of human society.

Now, please join me in a toast:

To the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China,

To an even better future for Sino-Dutch partnership,

To the friendship between our two peoples,

And to the health and happiness of all of you,

Cheers!

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