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Remarks by Consul General Zhao Weiping At the Reception Marking the Assumption of Office

The Peninsula Chicago, 20 February, 2013

Honorable Jesse White, Secretary of State of Illinois,
Mr. Daniel Goff, Representative of Governor Quinn,
Ms. Jenny Cizner, Representative of Mayor Emanuel,
Mr. Mike Frerichs, State Senator of Illinois,
Mr. Leo Melamed, Chairman Emeritus of Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group,
Mr. Tony Hu, President of the Chinese American Association of Greater Chicago,
Colleagues from the Consular Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

It is my great pleasure and privilege to welcome you to the reception this evening. I wish to express my sincere thanks for your gracious presence.

In particular, I wish to thank Secretary White, Mr. Goff, Ms. Cizner, Senator Frerichs, Mr. Melamed and Mr. Hu for their warm remarks.

I feel deeply honored to serve as the Chinese Consul General to Chicago.

Chicago and the Midwest not only carry a significant weight in the politics, economy, finance and culture of the United States, but also play a crucial role in promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between the United States and China.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping have both visited the Midwest in recent years, which is a full testimony to the great importance China attaches to expanding friendly relations and cooperation with this region.

China is a key partner of the Midwest today. About 15% of China's trade with the United States comes from this region. And China is also a major export market for the states and cities in the Midwest. According to the latest statistics by the US Commerce Department, in 2012, export to China by America's Midwest reached 15.99 billion US dollars, growing 13.37% from the previous year. More and more Chinese companies have chosen this region as the gateway for their investment in the United States, and created tens of thousands of jobs for the local communities. The Midwest is also a magnet for Chinese students, with the total number reaching close to 50,000.

More encouragingly, there remains a huge potential to be tapped in China's cooperation with the Midwest. The potential comes from the fact that China and the United States are the two largest economies in the world. It comes from the continued growth of China-US relations, the strong support for bilateral relations from our governments at various levels, and most importantly, the complementarities of our two economies and the passion of our public for even closer China-US cooperation.

As Chinese Consul General to Chicago, my mission is to unleash the potential and further promote the friendly relations and cooperation between China and the Midwest region. It is my hope and belief that both sides will produce more ideas and take more actions so as to bring about more tangible benefits through our cooperation.

Also, as Chinese Consul General to Chicago, I will do everything I can to serve the Chinese communities here in the consular district and work for closer consular relations between China and the Midwest.

I sincerely hope that friends from all walks of life in the Midwest will continue to extend their kind support and assistance to the work of the Chinese Consulate and myself.

Now, may I propose a toast,

To the continuous development of exchanges and cooperation between China and America's Midwest,

To the everlasting friendship between our two peoples,

To the health of all our guests present,

Cheers! Thank you.

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