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Speech by Ambassador Zhang Qiyue at the Reception in Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China (abridged)

Honorable President of the Hellenic Parliament, Your Excellency, Constantine Tassoulas,

Honorable Vice President of Government, Your Excellency, Panagiotis Pikrammenos,

Honorable Ministers, MPs, elected officials, fellow ambassadors,

Distinguished guests and friends,

It is with great honor and pleasure that I welcome you here this evening to join us in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Your presence warms our hearts. And it speaks a lot about the state of our relations and the friendship of our two great peoples.

China, like Greece, is an ancient country with long history and culture. Yet, it is also new, with the People’s Republic of China founded 70 years ago. Over the past decades, China has gone through tremendous changes. It has transformed itself from one of the most underdeveloped and impoverished country to the second largest economy in the world. In this process, about 800 million Chinese people were lifted out of absolute poverty, making the greatest contribution to the efforts of the world to eliminate poverty and deprivation.

Our goal is to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious. Given the size of the country and a large population, there is still a long way to go. Today, rapid and profound changes are still taking place in China. It is shifting from a country relying heavily on investment, export and manufacture to an economy that will be driven by innovation. The idea is to achieve sustainable development. Just to give you one example, E-Commerce has swept the country and even reached the most outlandish places. More than 800 million people are internet users in China and 600 million people regularly shop online. In 2018, the total value of e-commerce sales rose to 4.41 trillion dollars, about 40% of global electronic trade. In the same year, the total volume of digital economy accounted for 34.8% of the GDP. With these technological advancement and a strong commitment to go digital, the quality of life will be greatly enhanced, and the fruits of development better enjoyed by all.

China, today, is one of the most important engines of global growth. We are keenly aware of the responsibilities of a major world player and are determined to contribute further to world peace and development. The One Belt and One Road Initiative, proposed by President Xi sixth years ago, is a good example of the kind of public good that China can offer to the world and share its benefit with all countries. And the China International Import Expo, which will be held every November in Shanghai, Greece being designated as one of the “country of honor” this year, is a clear signal that China will further integrate into the world economy and bring more opportunities of trade, business and investment for all countries. For we firmly believe in partnership and in building a world community of shared future.

China attaches high importance and gives priority to promoting relations with Greece. We see Greece as a trusted and time-honored friend and a comprehensive strategic partner. Our relations are built on mutual respect and the sharing of similar values and views, culture and tradition. And our cooperation has proven to be mutually beneficial. Today, in our common pursuit of economic development and national rejuvenation, we face even greater opportunities. More tangible results are not only possible but achievable. Let us renew our commitment and usher in a new era in the relations between the PRC and the Hellenic Republic.

Thank you.

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