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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Weidong at the Reception Marking the 66th Anniversary of the P.R. China
2015-09-25

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Good evening.

Today we gather here to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. I hereby extend my warm welcome and sincere thanks to all of you.

I arrived here in Iceland to assume my post as the Chinese Ambassador on 25th September last year and on October 1st I held a reception in this very hall to celebrate the 65th National Day. Now, I have been here for exactly one year and the People’s Republic of China has grown one year older.

In the past year, China has achieved a lot of new success in economic and social development. Given the slowdown in global growth, Chinese economy achieved 7% growth in the first half of the year. It is not at all easy and the 7% growth is in fact among the highest of the world’s major economies. It is on the basis of a US$ 10 trillion economy and the growth actually generates more increase in volume than the double-digit growth in the past decades. What is more encouraging is that China’s economic structure is rapidly improving and new economic growth areas are rapidly taking shape. Since the beginning of this year, employment in China has steadily expanded. China has a high savings rate, a huge consumption potential, a hard-working population and a rising proportion of middle-income people. In China, the price level has been kept basically stable and Chinese consumers now have more money in their pocket to spend. This creates an enormous space for the services sector and offers a big market with great potential. China's stock market has reached the phase of self-recovery and self-adjustment.

And in the meantime, since all economies are facing difficulties, our economy is also under downward pressure. But this is only a problem in the course of progress. It is understandable that many people in the world are very concerned about the economic situation of China, a country with GDP of more than 10 trillion US dollars, a country that has contributed about 30% to the global growth in the first half of the year. What I would like to tell you is that there are more opportunities than challenges in our further development. Despite the moderation in speed, the performance of China's economy will stay on a steady course with fairly fast growth in a positive direction. The key to China's development lies in reform and China will never close its open door to the outside world. We have the resolve and the guts to press ahead and take reform forward. We will stick to the direction of market economy reform. We will take coordinated steps to achieve stable growth, deepen reform, adjust structure, improve livelihood and prevent risks, while strengthening and innovating macro regulation to keep the growth at a medium-high speed. We will try to develop the capital market and improve the market-based pricing mechanism of the RMB exchange rate and this direction of our reform will not be changed by the recent fluctuation in the stock market or the foreign exchange market. China is not and will not be a source of risks for the world economy but a real source of strength for world economic growth.

During the extraordinary journey of past 66 years since 1st October 1949, the People’s Republic of China has received understanding and support from other friendly countries in the world including Iceland. I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Iceland.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks also the 70th anniversary of the victory of World Anti-fascist War as well as the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Many countries in the world have held celebrations and the UN will also hold a commemorative assembly. On 3rd September, Chinese government held a military parade, among other celebrations.

The peace was hard won. To remember history is to build a better future. The most valuable enlightenment given by the World Anti-Fascist War is that we must unswervingly prevent war, safeguard peace and promote development. This is the common hope and solemn responsibility of the people all over the world. China will firmly continue its peaceful development and will, together with other countries in the world, build new international relations with win-win at the core, and make unremitting endeavor for a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year is the 44th anniversary since the establishment of China-Iceland diplomatic ties on 8th December 1971. Looking back on the past 44 years, our two countries have achieved a great deal in cooperation in various fields. The high level exchanges have been frequent and political mutual trust has been strengthened. Over the past year since the enforcement of China-Iceland Free Trade Agreement, our bilateral trade has increased significantly. China-Iceland trade volume grew by 22.9% in the first half of this year. Our people-to-people exchanges have been enhanced. There were nearly 33,000 Chinese tourists visited Iceland in the first 8 months of this year, an increase of 78.5%. These achievements are due to the care and support of our two governments and two peoples. I wish to take this opportunity to thank people in all walks of life that have been involved in promoting China-Iceland relations, including the overseas Chinese and Chinese students in Iceland, who have contributed to the friendship between China and Iceland. Next year marks the 45th anniversary of China-Iceland diplomatic ties. We will make joint efforts to promote our friendly cooperation and strive to achieve greater progress.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In three days, 27th September will be the 15th of August according to the Chinese lunar callendar, the traditional Chinese festival--the Mid-autumn Festival. This is an occasion of family reunion. Moon cake is a must-eat food. It is a symbol of family unity and harmony. We have prepared some moon cakes for our distinguished guests this evening. Let's share them together.

Now, may I propose a toast,

to the prosperity of the People’s Republic of China,

to the cooperation and friendship between China and Iceland,

to the health of all of you,

Cheers.

Thank you.

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