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H.E. Mr. Liu Biwei, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, delivered an address at UCC on invitation

Ambassador LIU Biwei, at the invitation of President Murphy of University College Cork, delivered an address titled View China Objectively, Achieve Common Development Cooperatively and took a Q&A session at UCC on December 15th, as the speaker for the Asian Ambassadors' Series Lectures organized by the School of Asian Studies. He briefed the audience the development and achievements of China's over 30 year reform and opening up, its current challenges and future targets. He elaborated on the development of the China Ireland relations and the opportunities provided, and explained China's policy on strengthening cooperation with Ireland to achieve common development.


President Murphy meeting with Ambassador Liu 

The lecture was held in the Council Chamber of 150 years history, and was chaired by Professor Lynch-Fannon, Head of the School of Law and Business. Around 70 teachers, students, and representatives from Cork Chamber and local business community were present. The Ambassador's address was widely welcomed by the audience. It was considered to be objective, comprehensive and conducive to knowing China and the China Ireland relations.

Ambassador Liu speaking 

Before the lecture, Ambassador Liu was welcomed by President Murphy, who also briefed him about the recent cooperation between the UCC and its Chinese partners. Ambassador Liu said, he was very happy to exchange ideas with friends at UCC and was very supportive of the cooperation between the UCC and the Chinese side.

Listening  Q&A 

Full Text of the Address:

View China Objectively, Achieve Common Development Cooperatively

Prof. Lynch-Fannon, dear young friends,

It's my great pleasure to attend the Asian Ambassador's Lectures in UCC. I congratulate the School of Asian Studies for launching Ireland's first M.A. in Asian Studies and M.Sc. in Asian Business Studies. I believe this will lay a more solid foundation for cultural and economic exchanges and cooperation between Ireland and Asia. I thank President Murphy, Professor Fan Hong and many friends for your arduous efforts in conducting Ireland China educational and cultural exchanges and promoting the Chinese language teaching in Ireland.

Dear teachers and students,

As the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, I am delighted to see the very positive progress of cooperation between China and Ireland in many fields, and Irish friends have even much more interests in knowing China. I am not sure how many of you here have been to China or how much you know about my country, so I'd like to use some numbers to depict China's development for the past over 30 years reform and opening up s. Wish it could be helpful.

In the past over 30 years, China has maintained an average annual GDP growth at 9.8%, its GDP climbed to the world's No. 2. With a GDP per capita of 3700 USD increasing over 10 times, and made over 200 million people get rid of poverty, China has become the world's No. 1 exporter and No. 2 manufacturer. Meanwhile, the Chinese society now is more open and vigorous, which is fully demonstrated by the development of Internet. The number of netizens has increased from nil to 420 million in 15 years, which is almost as large as the population of the EU. Now we have 700 million mobile phone users, 180 million blogs, and these numbers are still going up minute to minute. More and more Chinese have become used to working, shopping, making friends and entertaining online, and expressing their views via forums or blogs. And the express railway construction can best demonstrate the Chinese speed. Express railway has only 5 years history in China, but its operating network has been growing up to 7000 km, the national express railway network will be preliminarily concluded in 2012 and will reach 13,000 km with a speed between 200-350 km per hour. The Beijing Shanghai rail travel time will be cut to 5 hours from 12 hours in 2012.

Teachers and students,

As the Ambassador, every time I recall China's 30 years development, I feel very proud of the achievements my country has made. However, I fully understand the complicacy of China and the severe challenges it's facing. Every achievement could look negligible while being divided by a 1.3 billion population, any problem could become a huge headache while being multiplied by 1.3 billion. China is still a big developing country. The GDP per capita only ranks around world's No. 100, like Albania, and only 1/17 of Ireland. According to the UN standard, China still has over 150 million people living under poverty. We are also facing huge pressure of employment. China's labour force totals 800 million, every year 12 million more jobs should be created, as of 3 times of the population of Ireland. At the same time, the people's livelihood desperately needs improvement. If you follow the news in China, you will find that employment, housing, health, pension and environment protection are the headlines. In addition, economic restructuring is a big challenge. Though China is big in trade and manufacturing, it stays at the lower end of the world industrial chain, and our technology very much relies on the outside world. Plus, a great extent of our development has been gained through sacrificing environment, energy and cheap labour, and is not sustainable. For example, Christmas is coming. Many big international brand toys and clothes are made in China. But, do you know, for a Barbie doll, the American company could make a profit of 20 us dollars through patent and marketing, and the Chinese manufacturer could only make 35 cents. There is another vivid comparison; China need export 800 million shirts for buying a Boeing jet. So optimizing economic structure and removing the development imbalance are the two major directions of the Chinese economy. This is also the core of the guideline for China's 12th Five Year Plan announced last month, which targets two problems, namely how to increase people's wealth and promote fairness and justice. For reaching these two goals, we need fasten the changes of economic growth mode, play more potential of domestic market; conform to the trend of global science and technology revolution and emerging industry adjustment and build up a competitive industrial system. We need improve people's livelihood more robustly, further income distribution and social security system so as to have the growth benefit all the people. We need continue reform and opening up, handle global issues with the international community and share the opportunities of development.

Teachers and students,

I hope what I mentioned above could help you have an objective understanding of China. Then the question comes, what would this China mean to Ireland? For you, it is probably a question of concern. From my perspective, in a time of globalization, a country's development cannot go without cooperation and exchanges with others. Work together and develop together is a consensus of many countries, and is demonstrated by the 31 years China Ireland relations. China and Ireland, two countries of different size, social system and development period, have made a great example of developing bilateral relations. Particularly in recent years, we have seen the enhancement of mutual trust and the increase of high level visits. President McAleese and Foreign Minister Martin visited China this year, and Mr. Li Changchun, standing member of the political bureau of the CCCPC visited Ireland. Our economic and trade cooperation keep expanding, China has been Ireland's biggest trading partner in Asia for last 5 years. Our trade volume increased from 1979's 5.15 million USD to 2009's 520 million, an over 1000 times increase. Though impaired by financial crisis, the Irish export to China maintained a 17.6% growth last year, making Ireland the only other EU member taking surplus with China beside Germany. There are over 135 Irish companies in China and ICBC, Bank of China have started their businesses in Ireland. We have also achieved very productive educational and cultural collaboration. Now UCC and UCD Confucius Institutes and a number of Confucius Classrooms are working better and better, and have achieved quality progress. They have played an irreplaceable role in promoting the Chinese language teaching in Ireland. Irish culture also goes into many Chinese homes via Riverdance and U2 and beyond. Both of us benefit a lot from each other's development and progress. I think that is the fundamental reason upholding a stable and sustainable development of our bilateral relations.

The global financial crisis has brought severe challenges to both of our two countries. For Ireland, there is banking crisis, public expenditure reduction, and lack of domestic demand. For China, there is transforming economic growth mode and advancing structure reform. Crisis has created new opportunities for developing our bilateral relations as well. Because we all need to consider how to make a long term and sustainable development. This year, Irish export to China is continuing in growth with a 10 percent rise for first 9 month amounting to 2.55 billion Euro and the surplus is further expanded. Besides these, we could discuss how to explore the potential cooperation in many new sectors such as low carbon, renewable energy and biological technology.

Dear students, you master Ireland's future development. In the past decades, Ireland has created a Celtic Tiger miracle, transforming from a traditional agricultural economy to a knowledge economy. I believe, Ireland will go out of the bottom and materialize another boom via open and flexible policies and high quality human resources.

Dear students, you also master the future of China Ireland relations. Both of the two countries are known for great history and splendid culture, and for creating economic boom miracles. Let's join hands and push forward our two countries' developments.

Thank you.


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