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Speech at 2017 Spring Festival Gala Dinner
2017-01-23 22:50

By H.E. Chen Xiaodong, Chinese Ambassador to Singapore

23 January, 2017

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fellow Compatriots,


Good evening! In just four days’ time, we will ring out the Year of the Monkey and ring in the Year of the Rooster.

The rooster is believed to be a symbol of light and hope. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, I would like to wish all of you a happy, prosperous and bright New Year! As tonight’s mascot, we have prepared for each of you a lucky rooster. Hope it will bring you good luck and every success in the new year!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 2016, Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, the Chinese people, united as one, achieved enormous progress in political, economic, social and cultural endeavors, and got the 13th five-year plan off to a good start.

China steadily deepened reform in an all-round way. With key steps in supply-side structural reform, major breakthroughs in the reform of national defense and the military, and further strengthening of Party discipline, an overarching framework of comprehensive reforms has taken shape.

Growth of the Chinese economy has been slowing yet stabilizing, showing a stronger momentum. Full-year GDP grew by 6.7%, contributing to nearly 30% of world economic growth.

The past year saw another 10 million people in China lifted out of poverty and 14 million new jobs created. Shenzhou 11 and Tiangong 2 docked smoothly and operated in orbit for 30 days. And Chinese athletes put on a strong performance at the Olympics.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2016 has been a year of striving forward in the face of serious challenges for China on the diplomatic front.

China hosted a successful G20 Summit in Hangzhou. By offering its solution to the globalization process, China gave a strong push to the world economy and global governance. China was among the first to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change. And it also threw its full weight behind free trade at the APEC Lima meeting.

There have been notable progress in China’s neighborhood diplomacy. We worked with countries in the region to uphold peace and stability and promote dialogue and cooperation.

President Duterte’s decision to discard his predecessor’s confrontational policies and befriend China contributed to a turnaround in China-Philippines ties. The arbitration initiated by the Philippines has come to nothing, and the situation in the South China Sea has cooled off with the resumption of dialogue and consultation, which is the right approach.

We actively promoted exchanges and cooperation with old friends and neighbours in the region, and broadened and deepened our “circle of friends” in Asia.

The commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue relations was a great success. It demonstrated growing maturity of China-ASEAN relations and heralded a future of even greater promise. The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism was officially launched, adding a new engine to East-Asia cooperation.

China’s relations with major countries enjoyed sound and stable growth. The BRICS cooperation has gained greater vitality after a fruitful decade. And China’s cooperation with Arab, African and Latin American countries have all made solid progress.

The building of the Belt and Road has accomplished a long list of deliverables. Over 100 countries and international organizations have given warm responses and support to the initiative. More than 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. A host of projects are being implemented, and Southeast Asia is enjoying a bumper early harvest.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Several days ago, President Xi delivered two keynote speeches at Davos and the United Nations Office at Geneva, namely Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth, and Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind.

President Xi said that pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war. When encountering difficulties, we should not complain about ourselves, blame others, lose confidence or run away from responsibilities. We should join hands and rise to the challenge.

President Xi emphasized that there is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland. When countries enjoy peace, so will the world; when countries fight, the world suffers. For us Chinese, China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa.

President Xi’s keynotes are well received and widely discussed as they look deep into the challenges and opportunities of our times and offered the world with China’s experience, solution and wisdom. They also demonstrated to the international community an open, confident and responsible major country that is growing on a sound and steady track.

Asia-Pacific region is our shared home. At the beginning of 2017, China, for the first time, issued a White Paper on China's Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation. It further demonstrates China’s sincerity and firm resolve in promoting Asia-Pacific security cooperation and upholding regional stability and prosperity.

Looking to the new year, a major item on the agenda would be the 19th CPC National Congress. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, we will further advance the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy, i.e. make comprehensive moves to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society; deepen reform; advance the law-based governance of China; and strengthen discipline within the CPC.

We will also fully review the diplomatic thinking of General Secretary Xi Jinping and strive to forge a new type of international relations of win-win cooperation. We will ensure the success of the "Belt and Road" Forum for International Cooperation and the Ninth BRICS Summit, and provide a sound and stable external environment for the 19th CPC National Congress.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The past year has shown both progress in China-Singapore relations and the need for reflection. President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Hangzhou. They reaffirmed our countries’ commitment to work together to cultivate the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Progressing with the Times.

In 2016, China maintained its position as Singapore’s largest trading partner, and Singapore became one of the top 10 trading partners of China. China and Singapore are each other’s largest and second largest investment destinations. For the first time, China became Singapore’s largest source of foreign tourists.

In 2016, our joint efforts in building the Belt and Road yielded encouraging outcomes. Chongqing Connectivity Initiative is steadily moving forward, and our vision of connecting the Belt and the Road is becoming reality.

Here, I must add that tonight’s performance will be brought by art troupes from Chongqing, and I believe their performance will be no less appealing than our Chongqing project.

Naturally, China-Singapore relations do not always enjoy a plain sailing. Yet, as long as we respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, and unwaveringly committed to our leaders’ agreement of jointly building the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Progressing with the Times, China-Singapore relations will embrace ever broader and brighter prospects.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, China-Singapore relations has grown into a lush tree laden with cooperation fruits and rooted in our people’s heart. And it would not have been possible without the devoted efforts and wisdom of generations of Chinese and Singaporeans, and the support and contribution from all of you and from all sectors of the Singapore society. We have every reason to cherish this hard-won achievement dearly. And I also want to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you

Currently, China and Singapore have agreed to hold the meetings of bilateral cooperation mechanisms in late February. It will be a good start for our relations in the Year of the Rooster.

Singapore is China’s good friend, partner and neighbour. In the new year, the Chinese side is ready to work with the Singaporean side to build upon our experience, inject more positive energy to our relations and bring more benefits to our peoples.

As the festival of happiness, blessing and reunion is around the corner, let me invite you to raise your glass and join me in a toast:

To the greater prosperity of the shining red dot Singapore,!

To the early realization of the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation!

To a brighter future for the friendship and cooperation between China and Singapore!

Cheers, and happy Spring Festival!

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