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Remarks by H.E. Dr. Yue Xiaoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, at reception Marking 67th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China and the Ambassador's Assumption of office
(2016-09-25)

Hon. Minister Mme. Regina Doherty,
Hon. Lord Mayor Brendan Carr,
Hon. Ceann Comhairle Mr. Seán Ó Fearghaíl,
Excellencies ,
My Dear Country Fellows,
Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening and Failte.

Thank you for joining me and my Embassy colleagues in celebrating the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. I am proud and honored to say also this is the first grand reception I have hosted since I commenced my duties in June as China's Ambassador to Ireland.

There are so many good things that I want to talk about today but I have to be selective. The past 67 years witnessed remarkable achievements in our national development and modernization drive. Our people's livelihood has been improved by a margin bigger than anyone could have expected. Since China embarked on reform and opening-up in 1978, as many as over 800 million of our people have been lifted out of poverty, and China's GDP per capita has grown from several hundred US dollars to around 8,000 dollars. Our country has become the 2nd largest economy by size, the 2nd largest trader by value and the 3rd largest investor in essence in the world. While making efforts to integrate China into the global system, the Chinese people have over the years made major contributions to the general growth and development of the world economy as a whole. According to Mr. Jose Graziano Da Silva, DG of WFAO, China succeeded in providing food security for 20% of the world's population with only 10% of global tillable land and 6% of the fresh water on earth.

As President Xi Jinping noted in his keynote speech during the very successful G20 Summit in Hangzhou this month, China has reached another historical scratch line -- a new starting point for deepening reform across the board and foster fresh engines of economic and social development. We are going to do so by adapting decisively our economy to a new normal and transforming the way in generating growth so as to further put our national economy into the global market and open wider to the rest of the world.

May I happily report here that in the first half of this year, our economy grew by 6.7%, with tertiary industry accounting for 54.1% of total GDP, and over 7 million new jobs created. The prospects are bright and there is considerable potential for growth which remains untapped. As our President Xi Jinping put it: "We have the confidence and ability to maintain medium-high rate of growth and deliver more opportunities to the world while ensuring our own development."

Looking westwards across the Eurasian landmass towards the tip of the Atlantic Ocean, the China-Ireland relationship is also very encouraging. It is one that is very strong, very dynamic, very promising and impressively fruitful. Our bilateral trade amounted to 7.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, increasing by 8.8% and successfully reaching 2008 pre-Crisis levels. In total more than 100 Irish firms have invested over 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in over 300 projects or programs in China. Trade missions to China in recent years, led by Irish Ministers, have helped to showcase high-quality Irish products. In the first 7 months of 2016, our bilateral trade was over 4.2billion U.S. dollars, with a 12.8% increase, compared with the same period of last year. Meanwhile, a growing number of Chinese companies and institutions have shown interest in Ireland for opportunities in trade, investment, tourism, education, innovation or cultural cultivation.

Since my arrival in Dublin in early June, as messenger and bridge builder, I have had the great pleasure and privilege to meet Irish leaders from all walks of life. Very good working relationships and personal friendship have been forged with political, economic, business, cultural, educational or academic circles. Your confidence in and enthusiasm about the future of China-Ireland ties and substantial cooperation has really impressed and encouraged me and my team.

Since 2012, China has enjoyed a strategic partnership with Ireland. Both of our Governments are firmly committed, based on mutual respect and benefit, to creating more opportunities for real and result-oriented cooperation. All that is leading, I am sure, to an even more promising and closer partnership in the years to come.

The core of the strength of our ties lies in the visionary guidance and leadership of the top leaders from both sides. In December 2014, H.E. President Higgins visited China and had a very friendly meeting with President Xi. Our Premier Li Keqiang visited Ireland in May 2015. More recently, Minister Michael Creed has concluded his successful visit to Beijing and Shanghai. Minister Richard Bruton and Minister Eoghan Murphy are going to visit China in the coming weeks. In addition, our Ministry of Science and Technology has expected this autumn for Mme. Mary Mitchell-O'Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, conceived visit to China in near future this year. Over a dozen Chinese Ministerial delegations, including ministers, provincial governors and city mayors, have come to Ireland this year, with still more scheduled to come. Senior officials in charge of trade have had constructive discussions on a wide range of issues in Beijing in this year's Joint Economic Commission, which took place on 28th of June.

I as Ambassador have enjoyed my own visits to many headquarters, universities, innovation hubs, counties, cities and beautiful towns. A visit to Mr. Seamus Laffan's dairy farm in the beautiful Boher townland in county Limerick was a real education for me. It is one of many which produces quality milk for the Kerry Group. This group has set up a strong and beneficial partnership with the Chinese dairy producer Beingmate. They jointly supply China's market with the finest milk products and provide many new jobs for Ireland.

Success stories such as Beingmate are being replicated in Huawei, Hainan Airlines, ICBC aircraft leasing and many other Chinese companies with their partners in Ireland. Total jobs Chinese firms here have created in Ireland by September this year reached 2200, higher than any time in history and it keeps growing. Unremitting joint efforts have been enabling our bilateral cooperation to bear bumper harvests to the benefits of both sides.

In addition to all that, the Irish people are well-known for being hardworking, pioneering, innovative and open to the world. Over 3 decades ago, Chinese people drew far-sighted wisdom from Ireland's bold experiments, visionary reforms and successful policies. In the same and equally admirable spirit of entrepreneurship, people in China have carried out our own reforms and transformation successfully over the past nearly 40 years. Facing new challenges of today's global situation, peoples of China and Ireland as well as those of the whole Europe have even more to learn from each other and more reasons to join hands in obtaining a greater sustainable shared development and common prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2016 marks the beginning of China's 13th Five-Year Plan on National Economic and Social Development. During these 5 years up till 2020, China will pursue five ideas in pushing forward our economic growth and social advancement, i.e. innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and sharing. This plan is going to, among other things, generate gigantic domestic demand and will be a sustainable and socially balanced development for all of our communities.

Let me put it in another way, with that plan, we in China, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, will be focusing on the two centenary goals. Goal No. 1 is to double the 2010 GDP per capita income and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020. We aim to also eradicate all the poverty by that year, the top priority of our current development agenda.We are going to celebrate by that year the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party by presenting China as an upper middle-income country. Beyond that plan with 30 more years to go, our Goal No. 2 aims to build our country into "a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country" and bring into being the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation by 2049, or the 100th birthday of the People's Republic of China.

That is what we call the Chinese Dream. It is a dream for our people, and also a dream for the rest of the world. We remain ready to share our opportunities with the lovely Irish people as well as the peoples of other countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With full confidence and support of my most capable colleagues, I will work closely with you and all friends to push the already very friendly relations between China and Ireland onto an even higher plateau, with brightest ideas, greatest efforts and best results.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in a toast,

To the 67th birthday of the People's Republic of China,

To the friendly and fruitful relations between Ireland and China,

And to the good health of all.

Sláinte! Cheers! 干杯!

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