|Speech by Ambassador Zou Xiaoli at the Reception in Celebration of the 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China and the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Greece|
Your Excellency, Mr. Anastasios Kourakis, First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Greece-China Friendship Group of the Hellenic Parliament,
Distinguished ministers, ambassadors and guests,
This year marks the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. China is an ancient and yet, a young country. It is ancient, for it is a huge Eastern nation with several thousand years of civilization. It is also young, for New China has been in existence for only 68 years, while its reform and opening up process started just 39 years ago. After many trials and tribulations, China has found the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. It has become the second largest economy in the world and succeeded in hugely improving the living standards of the Chinese people. Following the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, under the guidance of the central leadership with President Xi Jinping at the core, great efforts have been made to comprehensively deepen reforms, especially in pressing ahead with supply-side structural changes, with remarkable results achieved. Over the past 5 years, China’s GDP has been growing at an average of 7.2%, contributing 31.6% to world economic growth, thus becoming the most important driver of the global economy. GNI per capita has increased from US $5,940 to US $8,000, attaining the average of countries above the median income level. No fewer than 66 million people have been lifted out of poverty, and 64 million jobs have been created. At the same time, China has been actively pursuing a policy of opening up, and is committed to a new type of international relations of win-win cooperation, aimed at building a human community of shared future. The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping, has been warmly received by over 100 countries and international organizations. Furthermore, China has entered into 85 inter-governmental cooperation agreements with 69 countries and international organizations under this initiative. It must be emphasized that the Belt and Road Initiative is not a geopolitical tool, but rather a platform for practical cooperation. It is not a foreign aid plan, but a development-oriented initiative that involves joint consultation, collaboration, and shared benefit. It will surely inject new vigor into the world economy, prompting growth and development for all.
On October 18, the Communist Party of China will hold its 19th National Congress. It will be a crucial meeting at the winning stage of efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and a key juncture for developing Socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is certain that after the Conference, China will be at the centerstage of world politics with more confidence and enterprise, making more substantial contributions to world peace and development.
This year also marks 45 years of diplomatic relations between China and Greece. China and Greece have always respected each other, treated each other as equals and accommodated one another’s major concerns. In 2006, our two countries established comprehensive and strategic partnership. In May this year, Prime Minister Tsipras attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, where he reached important consensus with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqing on aligning development strategies of the two countries. Currently, political trust between China and Greece continues to grow stronger, with great progress in bilateral exchanges in various fields. The Piraeus Port project has yielded fruitful results. State Grid of China has successfully acquired a stake in ADMIE. In July, a fleet of PLA Navy visited Greece, further boosting mutual understanding and friendly relations between the two militaries. A few days ago, China participated in the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair as the Honoured Country with great success, and was warmly welcomed by Greece and countries in the wider region. On September 30, Air China will launch a direct flight connecting Beijing and Athens. 2017 has also been celebrated as the Year of China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation with many interesting events, several of which are still to come. Internationally, China and Greece co-hosted the first ministerial meeting of Ancient Civilization Forum, aiming at addressing global challenges through dialogue and cultural exchanges. Internationally, China and Greece co-hosted the first ministerial meeting of Ancient Civilization Forum, aiming at addressing global challenges through dialogue and cultural exchanges. All these reflect the ever-closer ties between China and Greece. China regards Greece as a long-term and reliable strategic partner, values the important role Greece plays in promoting regional stability and prosperity, and welcomes an even more substantial role for Greece in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
2017 is a year of bumper harvest for China-Greece relations and a milestone for our blossoming bilateral ties. China stands ready to work with Greece on a new starting point, expend every effort to deepen friendship and cooperation between the two peoples, step up relations between China and Europe, and improve connectivity between China and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Finally, I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to friends from various Greek communities, members of the diplomatic corps in Greece, and representatives of the Chinese diaspora. I hope you will continue to follow closely and support the development of China and the growth of China-Greece relations.
I would like to propose a toast to the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PRC and Sino-Hellenic cooperation! Cheers!