Speech by HE Ambassador Zhang Junsai at the University of Western Australia
Perth, 25 October 2007
Distinguished Professor Doug McEachern,
Distinguished Dr. James Ross,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before I came here this evening, I visited the Confucius Institute at the University of Western Australia. I was glad to learn that, all cooperative programs under the framework of the Confucius Institute have been going well and have achieved good results, thanks to the efforts and support of the University of Western Australia.
I believe the Confucius Institute in the University of Western Australia will play an increasingly important role in promoting cultural exchange and educational cooperation between China and Australia, and between China and Western Australia.
The Confucius Institute of the University of Western Australia is the first of its kind to be established in Australia. However, just 12 months later, we see three Confucius Institutes here in Australia. At present, quite a few universities in New South Wales and Queensland are very keen to establish the Confucius Institute on their campuses.
Such a phenomenon has also happened in other countries. Up to now, the total number of Confucius Institutes established overseas has exceeded 150.
Why are Confucius Institutes in such a demand all over the world? The prime reason is that with China's comprehensive and fast development in the fields of economy, and in society, the world wishes to know more about China, especially China's deep and profound cultural traditions.
China has made remarkable achievements in its development. Since it adopted the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, China has kept its fast economic growth for 29 consecutive years, with a growth rate reaching 9.5% per year. Especially since 2003, China's economy has maintained more than a 10% growth for 4 consecutive years. As a result, China has become the world's forth-largest economy and its GDP per capita exceeds 2000 US dollars. According to the World Bank's standard, China has now turned from a low-income country into a mid-income country.
The scale of China's major industries has steadily expanded. In 2006, China's outputs of grain, meat, cotton, peanut, fruits, tea, steel, coal, cement, television and cloth continue to be No. 1 in the world. The ratio of China's service industry in the national economy has reached over 40%.
The extent of China's integration into the global economic and trade system has deepened. Last year, China's import and export trade volume stood at 1.76 trillion US dollars, ranking third in the world. China's actual use of foreign direct investment amounted to 63 billion US dollars, among the top three in the world. China's overseas direct investment also adds up to 17.6 billion US dollars.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China has chosen its own path of development. Its core goal is to build a harmonious society domestically and a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity externally.
This determines that China's development will definitely become a positive driving force for the world's overall development. This has been increasingly proven true and is acknowledged worldwide.
According to the recent report by the IMF and the World Bank, China has played an increasingly stronger role in the growth of the world economy, and in 2007 China's contribution to the growth of the world economy is as much as 25%. China, therefore, has become the country which has contributed most in this regard.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization also points out that, due to its fast economic growth, China has successfully fed 20% of the world population, and has sharply reduced the number of its population living in poverty. It concludes that China has made huge contributions to world poverty alleviation and food safety promotion.
China's development provides an important opportunity for Australia and the China-Australia relationship as well. Prime Minister John Howard has rightly said quite a few times in recent years that China's development is good for the world and good for Australia.
First, the rapid development of China's industrialization promotes bilateral cooperation in the areas of energy and resources. Australia has abundant resources. Those such as iron ore, natural gas, aluminium, and uranium are all that China needs in huge volumes. Nowadays, China's importation of resources from Australia accounts for 60% of Australia's total imports.
Last year, China's importation of iron ore from Australia amounted to 127 million tons alone, making up 38.9% of its total imports of iron ore. Australia has become China's biggest supplier of iron ore and aluminium, the second and forth supplier of coal and copper respectively.
Second, the growth of China's national income has brought more and more profits to Australia's tourism and education sector. In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists and overseas students to Australia has increased rapidly, reaching more than 300 thousand and 70 thousand respectively last year. Statistics show that the consumption per capita by Chinese tourists' was about 5000 AU dollars.
That means 300 thousand Chinese tourists spent 1.5 billion AU dollars in total. It is expected that there will be 1.2 million Chinese tourists coming to Australia by 2012 and their estimated consumption will be 6 billion AU dollars even if the current per capita consumption remains the same.
The annual expenditure of one Chinese student in Australia is 40,000 AU dollars in total, with 20,000 AU dollars for student fees and another 20,000 AU dollars for living costs.
In 2006, there were 70,000 Chinese students in Australia. If we presume they study here for 4 years on average, they will contribute 11.2 billion AU dollars to the Australian economy in total.
Third, China's development in science and technology, finance, energy conservation and emission reduction creates new opportunities for China-Australia cooperation. The two countries are enhancing their collaboration in these areas and exploring more and more new projects, which generates new momentum for the China-Australia relationship. The China-Australia Research Institute for Earth Evolution and Resources (CARRIER),sponsored by the UWA Geoscience Foundation, is a very significant cooperative program, providing an important platform for joint research between Chinese and Australian geoscientists.
Western Australia is an important state for energy resource production and export in Australia. It plays a key role in the China-Australia economic and trade relationship. As early as the 1970's, China started to import iron ore from Western Australia. The Channar joint Iron Ore project in the 1980's was one of the biggest overseas investments by China.
In recent years, the trade and economic cooperation between China and Western Australia has been advancing rapidly.
According to Australian statistics, exports to China from Western Australia have increased 340 per cent since 2003, reaching 13.8 billion AU dollars last year. China has become Western Australia's biggest trading partner.
The two-way trade was 15.3 billion AU dollars last year. Among that, export from Western Australia is 13.8 billion AU dollars, accounting for 60% of all Australian exports to China. Western Australia has become China's major supplier of resources and minerals.
China is Western Australia's biggest export destination for iron ore, the second biggest for petroleum and gas, the third biggest for aluminium and the forth biggest for nickel.
Meanwhile, due to Western Australia's strength in the fields of investment, scientific research, tourism education, China and Western Australia have also expanded their cooperation. Currently, there are more than 100 thousand overseas Chinese and more than 4000 Chinese students in Western Australia.
Not long ago, the Chinese President Mr. Hu Jintao visited Australia. He chose Western Australia as his first stop in Australia.
During the visit, the two countries announced the establishment of a strategic dialogue mechanism, issued a joint declaration on climate change and energy, and signed a number of agreements and contracts in the fields of trade, energy, justice and culture, which have raised our mutually-beneficial and practical cooperation to a new level.
Among the contracts, the LNG key terms agreement signed by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Woodside Energy Ltd is worth 45 billion AU dollars, and is the biggest single export contract in Australia's history. All the LNG under this agreement will come from Western Australia.
All in all, China's development will bring more opportunities and benefits to Australia, including Western Australia, and bring a strong and sustainable momentum into the China-Australia relationship.