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Speech by Consul General Mr. Liu Yantao at the National Day Reception for the 59th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

2008-10-03

Speech by Consul General Mr. Liu Yantao

at the National Day Reception for the 59th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

ICC Durban

2008/9/27

Distinguished MEC for Education Mrs. Ina Cronje,

Distinguished MEC for Sports and Recreation Mr. Rajbansi,

Distinguished Deputy Mayor Mr. Logie Naidoo,

Distinguished colleagues of Durban Consular Corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good Evening!

Today, we get together to celebrate the 59th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China. On behalf of the Consulate-General in Durban, I'd like to send my warmest wishes to all the overseas Chinese in KZN at this holy season, and extend my sincere thanks to all South African friends present today and all friends who support China's modernization.

During the past 30 years since China reformed and opened up, the Chinese economy and society has witnessed tremendous changes, and the country's achievements have captured world attention. The past 30 years is a period of the country's quickest development of productive forces, fastest growth of overall strength, and fastest improvement of people's living standard. The Chinese government raised the concept of "the Scientific Outlook on Development", which is a clear guideline for China's development. It in general means putting people first and striving for a society of comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development in all aspects. It emphasizes the overall consideration of the balance of urban and rural development, the relations between developing economy and reducing the consumption of resources and protecting the environment, and building a harmonious society. It is a scientific summary of the development concepts and models during China's 30 years of reform and opening up.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This year is an extremely special year for China, and we encountered various challenges. At the beginning of this year, the southern region of China was stricken by rare snow disasters, and then the Sichuang region was hit by a strong earthquake. Under the effective leadership of Chinese Central government, all Chinese people are of one mind with the strength of unity, combated the natural disasters and reduced the losses to the least. This fully demonstrates that the Chinese government exercises governance for the people and puts people first, and greatly shows the unity of the nation to overcome all difficulties. During the earthquake relief work, China received great support and help from International society including South Africa, and we want to express our heartfelt appreciation for that.

Meanwhile, this year is the Olympic year for China and the whole world. The century-old dream of the Chinese nation to host the Olympic Games has become a reality. Under international support, China successfully hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, which carried forward the Olympic spirit, and left precious cultural and historic heritage to the world people and the sports undertakings. As the President of IOC Mr. Rogge says, the Beijing Games are truly exceptional Games. Through these Games, the world learned more about China, and China learned more about the world. After hosting the Beijing Games, China successfully launched the Shenzhou 7 Manned Space Craft, showing China's new achievement in astronautics technology.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This year, China continuously plays a constructive role in international affairs. China positively pushes the resolve of several hot issues in Africa, carries out the 8 policy measures to benefit African countries raised in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and endeavors to build a harmonious world. China pays more attention to agricultural cooperation with African countries and supports Africa's poverty relief action. The China-Africa strategic partnership has been continuously enriched.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This year is the 10th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic relations. During the past 10 years, bilateral political relations have witnessed an all-round and sound development. The two countries have held the third session of the Bi-National Commission and sectoral committee meetings on foreign affairs, economy and trade, technology, national defense and education. High-level visits have been conducted frequently. In January, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi visited South Africa and met with President Mbeki; In April, South Africa Foreign Minister Zuma visited China and met with Chinese Vice-president Xi Jinping; In July, President Hu Jintao met with President Mbeki when attending the Group of Eight Summit in Japan.

In economic and trade cooperation, the economic structures of China and South Africa are highly complementary and there is great potential for cooperation. South Africa is China's biggest trade partner in Africa, while China is one of South Africa's top five trade partners. In 2007, the bilateral trade volume reached 14.04 billion USD, 8 times more than that of the year 1998. Meanwhile, enterprises of both sides have great desire to cooperate, and bilateral investment has been continuously enlarged. Some famous South African companies such as Anglo American, Sesol, Millers and so on have been doing business in China for a long period. The research between Sesol and China's Shenhua Group in setting up large-scale oil refinery in Shanxi and Ningxia of China is going on pretty well.

In cultural and educational cooperation, the two sides plan to hold 24 events to celebrate the 10th anniversary. South Africa has held a South African Week in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and will organize an Art delegation to China. China hosted an exhibition called Treasures of China in South Africa. Recently, the Chongqing Acrobatic Group successfully preformed in major cities of South Africa and received warm welcome from our South African friends.

In foreign affairs, China and South Africa set up strategic dialogue for the first time in April, which enhanced mutual understanding and trust, increased the two sides' dialogue and cooperation on major issues, and has positive significance to deepening two countries' strategic partnership and building a harmonious world. Bilateral visits between parties have been frequently conducted. This year, ANC President Jacob Zuma, General Secretary of South Africa Communist Party Nzimande, and President of IFP Buthelezi all visited China.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The friendly cooperative relationship between KZN and China has continuously developed. By now, 6 sister provinces and cities and one sister ports have been established between the two sides. In July, the KZN government hosted a China-South Africa Breakfast Seminar, which provides a platform for two countries' entrepreneurs to exchange and cooperate. In August, the Juncao Mushroom Base in Cedara by Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University was officially launched. The base will bring more benefit to local farmers, and become a model of China-South Africa cooperation. There are frequent visits between KZN and China. MEC for education Mrs. Ina Cronje and MEC for Art, Culture and Tourism Mrs. Thusi have visited China. The Mayor Cllr. Mlaba and other municipal officials of EThekwini were invited to observe the Beijing Games. In November Last year, the Vice-Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference successfully visited KZN. Next month, Chairman of Shanghai People's Political Consultative Conference will visit KZN, and attend the Shanghai-KZN Economic & Trade Cooperation Seminar.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I believe, by working together, the cooperative relations and traditional friendship between China and South Africa will definitely be reinforced and developed, and bear more fruits. I am very confident towards the future.

Now, I'd like to propose a toast:

To the 59th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China,

To the friendship and cooperation between peoples of China and South Africa,

To the health of all guests and friends,

Cheers!

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