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Speech by Ambassador Zhang Weidong on the occasion of the 65th National Day
2014-10-01

Distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening.

Today, October the First, is a significant day both for my nation and myself. Above all, it is the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China when People of all ethnic groups in China and overseas Chinese celebrate this important day. As for me, this is the first time, in the name of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Iceland, to hold a reception in my Embassy. Simply speaking, this is my first appearance on such an occasion. I left Beijing on 25th September and arrived in Iceland at 23 hours on the same day, followed by my presentation of Credentials to President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson yesterday. I am very pleased to meet so many distinguished guests and friends tonight. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy and in my own name, I would like to extend my sincere greetings and thanks to all of you.

New China has gone through an extraordinary course over the past 65 years. China now has become the 2nd largest economy entity in the world, with remarkable achievements in economic and social development, and continuous improvement of people’s livelihood. This year is the year of China’s comprehensively deepening reforms. In the first half of this year, China’s GDP grew by 7.4%, achieving the goal of steady progress. China has scored in several decades what developed countries took several centuries to achieve. This is a historic success for a nation with a huge population of over 1.3 billion. On the other hand, we are fully aware that China is still the biggest developing country in the world, and it is still at the primary stage of socialism. China’s total economy sounds big, but the per capita GDP, when divided by 1.3 billion, still ranks around 80th in the world. We have a long way to go before its 1.3 billion people can all live well.

For a very long period of time, China’s main task has been concentrated to achieve economic development and further to promote overall social progress on the economic basis. China has defined a new development goal. By the year of 2020, we would double China’s GDP from 2010, also double the per capita income for both urban and rural residents and build China into a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way. And by the middle of the 21st century, we will endeavor to turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious. That goal is vividly summarized as the China Dream with the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Under the leadership of the central government, Chinese people work together with solidarity toward the goal of the China Dream. We are firmly confident for our bright future.

To realize the China Dream, China needs a long-term external condition of peace and stability. China firmly peruses an independent foreign policy of peace, adheres to an open strategy of mutual benefits, actively participates in international affairs and global governance, increases its level of economic opening and constantly deepens its economic and trade cooperation with all countries. China will continue to unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and endeavor more for world’s peace, stability and development. In modern times, the Chinese people went through a painful history, witnessing frequent wars and chaos for more than 100 years. We absolutely do not want to see the recurrence of such tragedies in other places of the world. One Chinese saying goes, "Don’t do to others what you do not want to be done to yourself". China has its firm determination in cherishing, treasuring and safeguarding peace.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Despite the distance and differences on national circumstances, history and culture, Chins and Iceland enjoys a traditional friendship. Our both sides respect and support each other, and our peoples’ mutual understanding and friendship keeps going all the time. Since our two countries established the diplomatic ties in 1971, China-Iceland relations have continued to make steady progress, with our bilateral exchanges and cooperation on various fields expanding and deepening. In recent years, the high level exchanges have been closer, political trust has been deepened and personnel exchanges in all aspects have been enhanced. Our cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, culture and Arctic affairs are productive, which have brought tangible benefits to our two peoples. China-Iceland Free Trade Agreement was put into practice on 1st July this year, which is the first bilateral FTA signed between China and a European country and one which shares the highest openness and widest coverage between China and other countries. This FTA will surely give a strong impetus to our bilateral trade, thus pushing cooperation in other fields. I wish to take this opportunity to express heart-felt thanks to those from all walks of life who have long been concerned about and promoted the development of China-Iceland relations, as well as my thanks to the overseas Chinese residing in Iceland who have positively contributed to the friendship between our two countries.

China cherishes its traditional friendship with Iceland and deems Iceland a reliable, good friend and partner in Europe. I feel with both honor and great responsibility to be appointed as the Chinese Ambassador to Iceland, in such an era that the global pattern is undergoing profound readjustment and China-Iceland relations have experienced steady development. I have been to many places in more than 30 years of my diplomatic career. This time I came from Guangdong province in Southern China with hot weather. Some of my friends joked that I would go through the world of fire to ice. Since I set foot on this beautiful land at late night on 25th September, what I have harvested is the hospitality from the Icelandic government and its people, which gives me deep warm. I will make every effort with the Icelandic government and people from all circles to further develop and deepen China-Iceland relations, expand pragmatic and win-win cooperation, enhance our peoples’ friendship and push our bilateral relations to a new stage. I am also looking forward to getting your persistent support and help.

Now, may I propose a toast,

to the prosperity of China and Iceland,

to the friendship between our two countries and peoples,

to the health of all guests present,

Cheers.

Thank you.

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