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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Cheng Jingye at the 2018 ACBC Canberra Networking Day Opening Event
(Canberra, 19 June 2018)

I have the great pleasure to be with you this morning for this year's ACBC Canberra Networking Day. Although it's already winter, it makes me feel warm to see so many familiar faces and people from the business circle, who have been committed to a stronger China-Australia relations over the years. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to President John Brumby and all of you for your contributions to promoting cooperation between China and Australia.

You might know yesterday was a Chinese traditional festival, i.e. "Dragon Boat Festival". People across the country and the overseas Chinese community celebrated the day with dragon boat racing and eating zongzi, Chinese rice dumplings. The festival is to commemorate a well-known patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who lived over two thousand years ago. His patriotism and poems have become an integral part of Chinese heritage inspiring the people over the years. In April this year, I attended an event named "Tmall Go Global" held by Alibaba Australia. At the event, a well-decorated dragon boat purchased on the Tmall website was displayed at the Cockle Bay, Darling Harbor. It was really fantastic.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. Reform and opening up has both profoundly changed China and greatly influenced the world. The achievements in the past four decades are comprehensive. Not only miracles were created in China's economic development, with its GDP being averaged an annual growth rate of around 9.5%, and more than 700 million people being lifted out of poverty. Huge progresses were also made across the political, social, cultural areas as well as rule of law and human rights. China has thus successfully blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Meanwhile, reform and opening up has spurred on China's interaction and integration with the rest of the world. By actively embracing globalization, China has capitalized or drawn on overseas fund, market, technology and management experiences, while kept expanding business cooperation with other countries. All these has helped boost China's development. In other words, China's development benefited a lot from the international society.

On the other hand, reform and opening up has enabled China to make more contributions to the world. It has taken an active part in the UN peacekeeping operations, standing now as the largest peacekeeping contributor among the Permanent Five. China has made its important share to the solutions of regional and international conflicts or disputes, such as addressing the Iranian nuclear issue and the denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. China made significant contribution to mitigating the global financial crisis, and has contributed over 30% of global growth in recent years. And China has firmly upholded the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, strongly supported multilateral trading system and global governance on climate change.

With 40 years' of reform and opening up, China has made tremendous progress on its journey to modernization. But we still have a long way to go. Though China being the second largest economy, it remains a developing country.

The 19th CPC Congress held last October drew a grand blueprint for China's future development. It's a three-step strategy. By 2020, we will accomplish the task of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By 2035, we will basically realize socialist modernization, and by the middle of this century, we will turn China into a great modern socialist country .

Based on past experience and in light of future challenges, for China to realize the above-mentioned goals, we must adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. We must stay on our own development path guided by the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. And we must keep reforming and opening up.

Now China has entered a new era, namely the new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the future, we will devote greater energy to addressing imbalances and inadequacies in our development to meet the people's increasing needs for a better life. To this end, we will continue to advance reform across the board which includes deepening the supply side structural reform. We will follow the new development vision, pay more attention to the quality of development rather than the speed of economic growth. Meanwhile, we will fight three major battles. The first is to forestall and defuse major risks, especially to forestall systemic financial risks. The second is to carry out targeted poverty alleviation, with over 10 million of poor rural population to be reduced this year. And the third is to make further progress in addressing pollution and building a "Beautiful China".

China in the future will make new ground in opening up on all fronts. At this year's Boao Forum for Asia, President Xi Jinping emphasized that China's door of opening-up will open even wider. We will significantly broaden market access, further opening up service industry, especially financial services. We will create a more attractive investment environment. We will strengthen protection of intellectual property rights. And we will take the initiative to expand imports. This November, China will host the first International Import Expo. We welcome Trade Minister Ciobo to lead the Australian delegation to the Expo. We also look forward to more Australian businesses taking an active part in it.

Equally importantly, China will join efforts with other countries and international organizations in forwarding the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initiative is aimed at promoting mutual beneficial cooperation among countries through enhanced connectivity. The BRI is China's idea, but its opportunities and outcomes are going to benefit the world. The BRI is open, transparent and inclusive. China has no geopolitical calculations, does not seek exclusionary blocs and will not impose business deals on others. Since it was put forward five years ago, the initiative has been supported and participated in by a growing number of countries and international organizations. As long as all parties stick to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI can be surely made into the broadest platform for international cooperation to the greater benefit of all our peoples.

While pursuing our national development, the Chinese people will continue to work together with the rest of the world, and make more contribution to humanity. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, and actively develop global partnerships. China will firmly support multilateralism, and take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, with a view to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

As has been stressed repeatedly, no matter how much progress it has made in its development, China will not threaten anyone, attempt to overturn the existing international system, or seek any spheres of influence. China will stay as determined as ever to promote world peace, contribute to global prosperity and uphold the international order.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As I just mentioned, everyone present here supports and cares the future of China-Australia cooperation. I understand this year's ACBC Networking Day is about "strengthening people-to-people exchange between our two nations with a large focus on services". Trade in service requires deep relationship and mutual understanding, which I believe is very relevant at the current state of affairs of our relations.

It is right to say, that since China and Australia established diplomatic ties in 1972, especially since the beginning of the new century, huge progress has been made in exchanges and cooperation in various areas between the two countries, against the expectation of many people. These progresses have not only robustly spurred economic growth of both countries, but also delivered real benefits to the two peoples. Of course, the development of our bilateral relations has not been always smooth. Sometimes there be clouds, even wind and rain.

China and Australia are in the same region. Both our economies are highly complementary. We have many shared interests. The potential for further cooperation is huge, including trade in service. And we both stand for free trade and open economy. There is no reason for us not to develop a better relationship with each other based on mutual benefits and mutual trust.

Nowadays, countries are becoming increasingly interdependent, but populism and protectionism are on the rise. The new round of technological and industrial revolution has brought to human society with new opportunities. It has presented unprecedented challenges as well. Staying open and inclusive, enhancing communication and mutual learning are in the trend of human development. I remember at the New Colombo Plan 2017 Scholarship Awards Dinner in late 2016, a young recipient spoke of the need to build more bridges that connect people and less barriers that separate people. His remarks were quite impressive. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, at that event, also stressed the value of the connections, networks, friendships and relationship made by the Australia undergraduates in the destination countries with the help of the "New Colombo Plan" .

Last year, in her remarks at this occasion, Minister Bishop shared with us the story of "ATN Huawei Seeds for the Future Project". Under this program, 75 "New Colombo Plan" students will have the chance to work in Huawei's world-class R&D and manufacturing facilities starting from 2017.

Recently, in his meeting with Minister Bishop, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi outlined China's development path and its visions on developing relations with other countries. He pointed out that China follows a development path that is completely different from that of traditional major powers. China never interferes in the internal affairs of other countries, let alone carry out the so-called infiltration of other countries. China's idea is to carry out equal cooperation with all countries including Australia to achieve mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. He also expressed China's willingness to communicate with Australia on how to practically improve bilateral relations.

It's my belief that in order to dispel the clouds and achieve sustained and sound development in our bilateral relations, the two countries need to have more interactions and inclusiveness, with less bias and bigotry. We need to see each others' development and policy intentions from a more positive perspective, with less cold war mentality. We need to build more mutual trust, with less misunderstanding. We need to develop more connections between our two countries and two peoples, with less barriers. And we need to respect each others' core interests and major concerns, while manage the differences in a constructive manner.

Business circle is a major force that promotes China-Australia relationship. I hope and believe your discussions today will help deepen the practical cooperation and enhance political mutual trust between the two countries.

Thank you.

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