Remarks by Ambassador Jiang Jiang at New Year Reception

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Good evening and welcome to this new year reception. As we are about to ring out the year 2018, I have to say that for us, 2018 is not just another year.

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Forty years ago this month, the Communist Party of China held the third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee in Beijing and made the decision to launch reform and opening-up in China. Since then, under the leadership of the Communist Party, the Chinese people have forged ahead, fearless and determined, and found a path of development suited to China's own conditions. This is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Following this path, we have written a splendid chapter in the history of the Chinese nation.

    Reform and opening-up has brought enormous change to China. This, I believe, is felt by each and every one of us no matter where we are. Between 1978 and 2017, China's GDP soared from $175 billion to $12 trillion at an average annual growth rate of 9.5%. Per capita disposable income rose by 22.8 times. Seven hundred and forty million people have been lifted out of abject poverty, accounting for more than 70% of global poverty alleviation during the same period. We have achieved free nine-year compulsory education for all and established the world's biggest social safety net. Thanks to these accomplishments, our people have a stronger sense of fulfillment and greater happiness and feel safer and more secure. Today, China is shifting from a recipient of technology transfer to a country driven by innovation and beginning to lead in some frontier areas. The Shenzhou Space Mission, the deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, the FAST (Five-hundred-meter aperture spherical telescope) and Beidou navigation satellite system are just but a few examples of China's advancement in science and technology. Forty years ago, we had to buy things by using ration coupons. Today, we do global online shopping by using the smart phone. Forty years ago, it took me more than fifteen hours to travel to Beijing from my hometown in the Northeast. With the completion of a new railway line next year, it is going to take me only two hours.

    Reform and opening-up has also had a profound impact on the world. For many years now, China has contributed over 30% of global economic growth, and has played a major part in tackling both the Asian financial crisis and the international financial crisis. That is why China is seen as a stabilizer and an engine of the world economy. Since the 18th National Congress of CPC, China has become more active on the diplomatic front, contributing Chinese wisdom to meeting global challenges. As a responsible major country, China advocates a free and open global economy and is deeply involved in the reform of the international financial system. We have firmly upheld the authority of the United Nations, fulfilled our international responsibilities and obligations and honored our commitment to tackling global climate change. We are actively working with other countries to pursue Belt and Road cooperation and build a community with a shared future for mankind. With its concrete actions, China has demonstrated to the world that it is a force for world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order.

    This year has been a fruitful one for China-Malta relations. The two countries have maintained close exchanges at the top and all other levels and achieved good progress in practical cooperation. In early November, the Hon. Prime Minister Muscat attended the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, and the two governments signed an MOU on Belt and Road cooperation. This document will serve as a blueprint for broader and deeper cooperation between our two countries in the new era. Going forward, the two sides will work closely together to translate this document into concrete action and deliver tangible benefits to people in both countries.

    As an old saying goes, grains of soil piled up can make a mountain, and drops of water can converge into a mighty river. The steady growth of China-Malta relations would not be possible without the unremitting effort of people from both countries, including all the friends present here. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to you all.

    In the coming year, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China will stay committed to reform and opening-up and work for a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. The Chinese Embassy will work closely with people from all sectors in Malta to seize the opportunity provided by the MOU on the Belt and Road cooperation and elevate our relations and cooperation to a higher level. To the representatives of the local Chinese community, I want to say that we will continue to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and enterprises, and serve our compatriots traveling to Malta. China is always by your side and you can always count on the assistance of the Embassy in times of need.

    Now I would like to propose a toast,

    to the friendship between the people of our two countries and to a happy and prosperous new year.

    Thank you.

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