Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Cheng Jingye at the 2019 ACBC Canberra Networking Day Opening Event

It's a real delight to join you again at this year's Canberra Networking Day. First of all, I would like to commend the ACBC and its members on your contributions over the past year to strengthening economic and trade ties between China and Australia and to enhancing mutual understanding between our two peoples. I would also like to thank Mr. Brumby, Ms. Sawczak, and your team, for the leadership in making the above-mentioned effort. I look forward to welcoming you to the Chinese Embassy later today.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Today, I would like to reflect on China's achievements over these decades and the main reason behind, and to introduce China's future direction and development goals.

The past 70 years has witnessed profound changes in China, which are widely regarded as an economic miracle never recorded in human history.

70 years ago, we were poor and weak, but today China is the world's second-largest economy, accounting for 16% of the world GDP, ranking No.1 in terms of merchandise trade, manufacturing capacity and foreign exchange reserves.

The living standards of the Chinese people have been improved tremendously. Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Per capita GDP is close to 10,000 US dollars. China's average life expectancy has been extended from 35 to 77. Infant mortality rate has dropped from 200 per thousand to 6.1 per thousand. We have established the world's largest social welfare system, covering aged care, medical service, minimum living insurance, and proper housing. China now has the largest middle-income population and the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. Our countrymen take nearly 150 million oversea trips every year.

The retention rate of the nine-year compulsory education stands at 93.8%. The illiteracy rate has dropped from 80% to around 5% today. Higher education is about to enter an universal stage.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has played a major role in promoting resolutions of global and regional issues, and remains the largest peacekeeping contributor among the Permanent Five.

China actively engaged in tackling the 2008 global financial crisis. China's contribution to the global growth has averaged around 30% for the last 10 years.

As the biggest user of clean energy and a staunch supporter of the Paris Agreement, China has made major contributions to global governance systems for climate change.

To promote connectivity and infrastructure building, China puts forward the Belt and Road Initiative which has become a widely participated platform for international cooperation.

Dear Friends,

In just a few decades, China has achieved industrialization that took many countries several centuries to develop. Both the speed and extent of the improvement in living standards is unprecedented.

Such economic and social progress is not a godsend, not a gift from others, not a trophy of aggression or colonial plunder. It comes from the hard work, wisdom and courage of the Chinese people under the leadership of Chinese Communist Party.

For many reasons that underlie China's magnificent achievements, the most fundamental one is the unswerving adherence to the leadership of Chinese Communist Party and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Party always puts people first. It has assumed the responsibility all along to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Its mission is to meet people's ever-growing needs for a better life.

The Party has always been keen and successful at outlining long-term development plans and turning blueprints into reality with strong executive strengths.

With the courage to reform itself and to right the wrongs, The Party always keeps up with the times, and advances theoretical, practical and institutional innovations.

Looking back at the past 70 years, no doubt it is with the leadership of the Communist Party that the Chinese nation has achieved remarkable transformation from standing up, to growing rich and becoming strong. The leadership of the Party is the choice of history and people.

Looking to the future, the Chinese people will endeavor to realize the "Two Centenary Goals" and the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation. China will accomplish the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2020, and a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of this century.

For this, China will continue to uphold the leadership of Chinese Communist Party and stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It will continue to comprehensively deepen reforms, promote higher-quality development, and advance the modernization of China's governance system and governance capabilities.

China will promote opening-up at higher level and work towards win-win outcomes. In partnership with all participating countries, China will strive to build high-quality Belt and Road projects. The future Belt and Road cooperation will be more open and inclusive, more involved in people's daily lives, and more focused on green, clean and sustainable development.

By staying committed to peaceful development, China will work with the rest of world to build a community with shared future for mankind, which embodies an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world with lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.

China's economy had a good start this year despite the slowdown in global growth and trade. In the first quarter, China's GDP grew by 6.4 percent, sustaining its momentum of steady growth in recent years. Employment continued to expand, with 4.59 million urban jobs added in the first four months. The total imports and exports were up by 4.3% year-on-year. Apart from all this, China is able to improve its economic structure, transform the mode of development, and enhance the quality and efficiency of economic performance.

The trajectory of China's economy towards more steady growth has not changed and will remain so in the long run, which will be supported by a number of factors. China has a market of nearly 1.4 billion populations, with more than 100 million market entities. We have a talent pool of 170 million college graduates and people with professional skills. The Chinese economy is mainly driven by domestic consumption. In 2018, the contribution of final consumption was as high as 76.2%. China's R&D spending ranks second in the world, accounting for around 2.18% of its GDP.

Moreover, China's economy has enormous resilience, potential and flexibility in development. We have rich experience in macro-regulation and ample policy space. We therefore have all the necessary conditions as well as the capability and confidence to deal with any risks or challenges.

The trade tension between China and the US is of great concern to the international community. The willful imposion of additional tariffs by the US goes against the WTO rules. It harms others and is of no benefit to itself. It also threatens global economy and trade. China has been committed to resolving the economic and trade disputes through dialogue and consultation, and has made tremendous efforts to this end. China is willing to work together with the US to reach a win-win solution on the basis of equality and mutual respect. There's no winner in a trade war. China does not want a trade war, nevertheless it will firmly safeguard its own legitimate interests and development rights. As we have made it clear, China is open to negotiation, but will also fight to the end if needed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The history of the relationship between China and Australia since the establishment of diplomatic relations demonstrates that a sound and stable bilateral relationship serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples. Mutual political trust and mutually beneficial cooperation are just like two wheels that would smoothly drive our bilateral relationship forward. Both of them are indispensible. The relationship between China and Australia can only be steadily and increasingly improved when both wheels are spinning with the same speed and in the same direction, mutually reinforcing each other.

To stabilize the wheel of mutual trust, it's essential for both sides to view each others' development in an objective manner and regard each other as cooperative partner. It requires us to respect each others' development path, social systems and core interests. It also requires us to expand common grounds while properly handling differences.

To speed up the wheel of mutual benefit, it requires us to increase practical cooperation and people-to-people links. China and Australia's economies are highly complementary. China's door will open even wider. There is enormous potential for the two countries to cooperate in areas of economy and trade, investment, finance, science and technology, and innovation. It's vitally important that both sides should build a fair and non-discriminatory environment for the other's investment, rather than intentionally set up obstacles to the detriment of mutually beneficial cooperation. As both China and Australia support free trade and open economy, we should work together with others to uphold multilateral trade systems against protectionism. We should also strengthen people-to-people exchanges with a view to building up stronger public support.

The business circle is full of creativity and entrepreneurship. It is a major force that promotes China-Australia relationship. I hope and believe that ACBC and its members, as participants and beneficiaries of the China-Australia relationship, will continue to play an active role in deepening the practical cooperation and enhancing political trust between the two countries.

Thank you.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of Australia
Address: 15 Coronation Drive, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: 0061-2-62283999, Fax: 0061-2-62283836
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