|Consul General Zhao's Speech at the Reception Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China|
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to tonight's reception and join us in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The People's Republic of China was founded on October 1, 1949. Over the past 70 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have traveled an extraordinary journey in national development, making remarkable achievements along the way.
It has been 70 years of the Chinese people striving to create a better life with diligence and wisdom. In 70 years, China has grown from a backward agricultural country to the world's second largest economy, supporting 22% of the world's population with only 7% of the world' arable land. The average life expectancy in China has risen from 35 to 77 years, and its per capita GDP jumped from US$27 to nearly US$10,000. Seventy years ago, four out of five Chinese were illiterate. Today, China's gross enrollment ratio in tertiary education has exceeded 45%. Thanks to four decades of reform and opening up, more than 700 million rural Chinese have been taken out of poverty, and a middle-income group of over 400 million has emerged.
It has been 70 years of China actively promoting mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries and making ever more contributions to world peace and development. China is firmly committed to the independent foreign policy of peace. The number of countries with diplomatic relations with China has increased from 18 to 180, and we have established 110 partnerships of various kinds worldwide.
Taking an active part in global economic cooperation, China has deeply integrated itself into the process of economic globalization. It is now the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions and the fastest growing major export market for many countries.
China has also worked in partnership with other countries in addressing global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, communicable diseases, environmental pollution and transnational crimes, and has become the second largest contributor to the UN dues and the largest provider of UN peacekeepers among the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
We owe these achievements to the leadership of the Communist Party of China who has led us in forging a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics suitable to our national conditions. As we celebrate the 70th birthday of the P.R.C, China's development has entered a new historical stage. We will continue to follow the people-centered development philosophy, deepen reform and open wider to the outside world to meet the people's growing demand for a better life. We will continue our effort in building a modern socialist country that is strong, prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful, and stride forward toward the goal of great national rejuvenation.
We also owe these achievements to our commitment to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening up. Having contributed over 30% of the global economic growth for many years in a row, China has become one of the most important engines of global economic growth. We are committed to upholding the existing international order and systems, promoting globalization and trade liberalization, and working with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
We will continue to improve business environment for domestic and foreign investors and engage in exchanges, mutual learning and practical cooperation with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit in pursuit of common development. Going forward, China will have lower tariffs, a shorter negative list, easier market access and greater transparency in market rules. A more open China will create more opportunities for the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. Over the past 40 years, the Sino-U.S. relations have gone through a lot and made enormous progress unimaginable 40 years ago, bringing huge benefits to our two peoples and contributing significantly to world peace, stability and prosperity.
When we established diplomatic ties 70 years ago, bilateral trade was less than US$2.5 billion with mutual investment virtually nonexistent. In 2018, our two-way trade in goods surpassed US$630 billion, and the cumulative amount of mutual investment neared US$240 billion. The trade and investment relations between China and the U.S. have created a large number of jobs in each of our two countries.
Now, more than 5 million people travel between China and the United States annually, and every 17 minutes there is a flight traveling between the two sides. The number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. has exceeded 360,000, and about 20,000 American students are studying in China. We have also established 277 pairs of friendly province-state and sister-city relationships.
On top of that, we have carried out fruitful coordination and cooperation on regional and international issues. From tackling regional hot-spot issues to counter-terrorism and nonproliferation, from addressing international financial crisis and climate change to disease prevention and control and moon exploration, the list of areas of China-U.S. cooperation is getting longer and longer.
Both China and the U.S. are great nations. Friendly cooperation between us is a blessing not only to the people of our two countries but also to the world at large. Although we do not see eye to eye on all issues, our common interests far outweigh differences. It is important that we have dialogue and cooperation rather than confrontation and frictions, for engagement makes us both better-off than estrangement. At the end of the day, to find a mutually acceptable solution to the China-U.S. trade frictions, we must engage in dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We would be ill-advised to fall into the so-called trap of conflict and confrontation. As President Xi Jinping and President Trump have agreed, our two sides need to work together to advance the China-U.S. relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability.
The Midwestern states, including Illinois, are important industrial, agricultural and innovation bases in the U.S. that have played an important and unique role in the development of China-U.S. relations. Many enterprises from this region have been deeply involved in China's modernization process, while more and more Chinese enterprises have come here to make investment. Such local exchanges between the Midwest and China, particularly those between friendly states and provinces and cities, have been instrumental in promoting our practical cooperation, enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between our people and reinforcing the basis for friendly relations between China and the U.S.
I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank friends from all walks of life in the Midwest, including those from the local Chinese community, for your strong support for China-U.S. relations over the years. I believe that with our joint efforts, the exchanges and cooperation between the Midwestern U.S. and China will make even greater progress to the benefit of our people and inject more positive energy into the development of Sino-U.S. relations.
Let me conclude by wishing the China-U.S. relations sound and stable development and the friendship between our two peoples everlasting.