(12 August 2013, Canberra)
Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP
Hon Julie Bishop MP
Hon Peter Slipper MP
General David Hurley, Chief of the Australian Defense Force
Thank you for joining me today. At the time of departure, and touched by your warm words and greetings, a lot of things in the past three years are running through my mind.
I remember a photo I gave to the Australian athlete Kurt Fearnley as a gift. With the title "Leap", the photo was an action shot of Fearnley during a wheelchair race at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. From the spark in his eyes, the tense muscles in his arms, and the posture ready for a leap, I saw the spirit of Australia. And the photo also reminds me of the fast growing China-Australia relations in the past three years.
The interests of China and Australia have never been so intertwined. And the destinies of the two countries have never been so closely connected. Someone once told me that as Ambassador of China to Australia, I might be able to influence the Australian stock market. I replied that if that were the case, I hope the S&P/ASX200 index could rise to 10,000 points. It is just a joke of course, but it reflects the fact that China and Australia, though far apart, are closely linked today.
Three years ago in this hall, I outlined the China-Australia relationship in three dimensions at my welcome reception. Today, I am happy to see that bilateral ties have truly realized a three-dimensional development over the past three years. And the joy it gives me is just as great as when I first arrived.
We have reached a new historic height. As the best tribute to the 40th anniversary of bilateral ties, this year, the two countries established strategic partnership and leaders' annual meeting mechanism, setting off to build a new type of country-to-country relations. I remember Australian Ambassador to China Ms Frances Adamson said that as ambassador and witness of that historic moment, she felt more proud than ever. I couldn't agree more. Thanks to the joint efforts of the two sides, China-Australia relations can and will continue to be a frontrunner among the ties between China and the West.
We have reached a new depth. In the past three years, bilateral trade grew by 57%, 1300 times that of 40 years ago. One day's trade volume is equivalent to that of the first three years of our diplomatic ties. Half of China's iron ore import comes from Australia. Many buildings and infrastructure across China are built with Australian iron. On the other hand, many plazas in Australia are paved with marble from China. People of the two countries are shopping in each other's country using their own currency. Many commodities in Australian supermarkets and malls are made in China, and Australian wines and cheese are put on the dinner tables of the Chinese people.
We have reached amazing breadth. In the past three years, mutual visits by two peoples have doubled, reaching 1.37 million trips in all. Every year, 160,000 Chinese students and 620,000 tourists create 3.3 billion and 4.2 billion dollars for Australia respectively. What's more, the two countries held Culture years successfully for the first time. Bilateral scientific and technological cooperation has made significant progress. Mutual visits by military personnel and fleets have become the norm. Friendship and cooperation have been deeply rooted in the hearts of both peoples. I know personally that the daughter of an Australian stewardess went to China to learn Mandarin and the son of a Chinese chef is here for university degree.
All these achievements have been made thanks to the care and outstanding contribution by Chinese and Australian leaders as well as people from political, economic, cultural, educational, scientific, academic and media circles. These achievements are the reward to our work and will always be a source of our joy and memory. They will be with us for the whole life.
As I say goodbye to you, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to all the government departments of Australia for your support and help to myself and the Chinese Embassy as a whole. I also want to thank the Australian parliament, different political parties, social sectors and diplomatic corps for your support. My thanks also go to my colleagues in the Chinese Embassy for working with me shoulder to shoulder. My special thanks go to my wife, Ms. Bai Xiaomei. It is her dedication that makes my work here in Canberra more meaningful and enjoyable.
As leaders of the two countries have said, China-Australia friendship, cooperation and strategic partnership serve the fundamental and long-term interests of both countries and peoples. My three years in Canberra are three years of devotion to the national interests of China and China-Australia friendly and cooperative relations. It has become a most valuable asset for my diplomatic career and I will always cherish the memory.
"Long distance separates no bosom friends". This world is both big and small. I hope our paths cross again in the future and look forward to meeting with you soon.