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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at 66th National Day Reception
2015/09/17

Distinguished Guests,

Representatives from the Chinese communities,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the reception. We are here today to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. In Chinese culture, "6" is a lucky number. And "66" has two "6"s and is even a luckier number, this doubles the good luck that I would like to wish all of you.

Over the past 66 years, particularly since the reform and opening up, we have witnessed great changes in China. China's GDP has exceeded 10 trillion US$. More than 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty since the 1980s. In the first half of this year, more than 7 million new urban jobs were created. The lives of the Chinese people have never been better.

Despite a weak world economic recovery, the Chinese economy is growing at a moderate speed and moving in a positive direction. And the 7% growth China achieved in the first half of the year is among the highest of the world's major economies. More importantly, China has become a major source of global growth and contributed 30% to world economic growth. We have every confidence and capability to maintain a sustainable economic growth and make greater contribution to the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China is a peace-loving nation. As I speak, nearly 3000 Chinese peacekeepers are performing duty all over the world. Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced the downsizing of the Chinese troops by 300,000. China's commitment to peaceful development is firm and unshakeable.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since the landmark visit to this country by H.E. President Xi Jinping last November, we have made remarkable progress in building our comprehensive strategic partnership.

I am quite proud to say that China has been Australia's largest partner in many areas. China is Australia's largest trading partner, largest export market, largest source of import and trade surplus, largest export market of agricultural produce, and largest source of foreign investment. It only shows how close and productive our relationship has been.

The signing of ChAFTA and Australia joining the AIIB offers precious opportunities and lends a fresh impetus to our mutually beneficial cooperation.

It is also worth mentioning that China is carrying out the "One Belt, One Road" initiative in partnership with Australia. I am very glad to see that both of us are committed to building the Maritime Silk Road.

China-Australia relationship is well beyond business. This relationship is growing on a solid basis of people-to-people links. By May 2015, there has been over one million Chinese tourist visiting Australia. More than 240,000 Chinese students are studying in Australia. Under the New Colombo Plan, more than 500 Australian students are sent to study in China this year. This figure will increase to 900 next year.

Today we are very pleased to have with us members of the Asialink Leaders Program. This program shows how enthusiastic Australia is to increase its link with Asia and China.

China-Australia mil-to-mil exchanges are also growing rapidly. Again we are happy to have here the Chinese and Australian soldiers who just finished the "Panderoo" joint exercise. They could share with you the story on how military engagement could help build our mutual trust. .

Before conclusion, I would like to acknowledge a special guest present today - Mr. Rodolfo M. Gomez. I was deeply impressed and touched by receiving a letter from Mr. Gomez expressing sympathies to the tragic Tianjin explosion and making generous donations to the victims. We are also grateful for the sympathies expressed by the Australian government and public. We see nothing but a strong desire to deepen friendship with China.

Looking into the future, we have every reason to believe that with our joint efforts, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia will usher in a bright future.

Thank you.

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