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Remarks by Consul-General Dong Zhihua at the Chung Wah Chinese New Year Ball

(1 Feburary 2020, Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth)

Honorable Minister Peter Tinley MLA,

Honorable Liza Harvey MLA, Leader of the Opposition,

President Mr. Chen Ting, of Chung Wah Association,

Dear Friends,

First of all, I wish to send my New Year's Greetings to you all! As the first of the 12 zodiac animals, rat symbolizes shrewdness, cleverness and vitality. With these auspicious promises, I wish all of you a happy and prosperous Year of the Rat!

Currently the Chinese people are going all out to fight against the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Acting with openness, transparency and a high sense of responsibility, the Chinese government keeps the international community well-informed with timely updates and shared relevant data.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. Many countries have offered China support in various means. During the past days, the Chinese Consulate and myself received many phone-calls and messages from associations and members of WA Chinese Community, who are doing their utmost in seeking procurement of urgently needed medical materials or providing donations.

Adversity makes one stronger just as polishing makes jade finer. The Chinese nation is known for its perseverence and resilience. We have every confidence that with the resolute leadership of the Chinese government, the enormous strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the strong support from the international community, the Chinese people and our overseas compatriots, fighting with one heart and mind, will overcome any difficulty lying ahead and ultimately win the battle against the outbreak.

I also wish to thank the WA State Government for a rational assessment of risks and taking a responsible and precautionary attitude so far, which we should not take for granted. We could not have been able to gather here and celebrate the New Year as scheduled if otherwise.

Even though WHO has declared the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern, WHO Director-General clearly said that WHO continues to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak. There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. WHO doesn't recommend limiting trade and human movement.

Under current circumstances, solidarity is what the world needs. We should remain calm and confident. I am committed to working closely with Minister Tinley and the State Government to minimize the impact on our bilateral cooperation and exchanges while always putting people's safety and health first.

Dear friends,

All countries live in the global village. Our destinies are inter-connected. We should stand by one another, through thick and thin.

As we venture into the Lunar New Year of the Rat with bushfires and epidemic warnings, I sincerely wish you all good health, good fortune, great happiness and prosperity.

I thank you!

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