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Speech by Chinese Consul General Lei Kezhong at His Welcome Reception(April 28, 2016 Perth)
2016/04/29

Honourable Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia,

Honourable Mark McGowan MLA, Leader of the Opposition,

Honourable Liza Harvey MLA, Deputy Premier and Minister for Police, Road Safety,Training and Workforce Development,

Honourable Dr Mike Nahan MLA, Treasurer, Minister for Energy, Citizenship and Multicultural Interests,

Mrs Andrea Gleason, State Office Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

Dear Colleagues from the Consular Corps ,

Representatives of the Chinese communities, Chinese students and Chinese companies,

Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening! Thank you for joining us tonight.

Ten years ago when I was the Deputy Mayor of Pingyao County in Shanxi Province, I visited Sydney and Brisbane in the Eastern Coast of Australia. The beautiful Darling Harbour and the Gold Coast left a good impression on me. Ten years later, I have the honour to be posted here in Western Australia, and feel very much at home with the blue sky, the green land, the clean air , the stunning swan river , the diversified culture and the warm and friendly people here.

Consul General Lei Kezhong Delivers a Speech at His Welcome Reception

I’m duly aware of my responsibilities as the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China. I am not here to run away from the smog that has plagued Beijing occasionally, but to enhance the understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and Australia; not to appreciate the beautiful scenery of Western Australia, but to push forward the exchanges and cooperation between China and Western Australia; not to enjoy the ideal livable environment of Perth, but to promote the development of friendly and cooperative ties between China and Australia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As two great nations in the Asia Pacific Region, China-Australia friendly ties date back to centuries ago and the two countries are highly complementary in terms of natural resources and economic structure. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, bilateral cooperation in various areas has been expanding and deepening. In November 2014, President Xi Jinping visited Australia and uplifted China-Australia relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, steering our bilateral cooperation onto the fast track. In 2015, China became Australia’s largest trading partner, largest export market and largest source of imports.

China-Australian Free Trade Agreement officially entered into force at the end of 2015, giving fresh and strong impetus to the development of bilateral ties. Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid a successful visit to China, and the two sides agreed to speed up the alignment of our development strategies, that is to align China's Belt and Road initiative with Australia’s “Northern Development” plan , as well as to promote the synergy between China's innovation-driven development strategy and Australia's National Innovation and Science Agenda. It’s fair to say that China-Australia relations have never been better, and the two sides enjoy a bright future for cooperation in various fields.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Currently, Chinese economy is undergoing profound transformation and upgrading. Although the economic growth slows down to 6.5% and above, the structure, quality and efficiency keep improving. China will adhere to a path of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. We strongly believe that China will bring to the world a larger market, more diversified opportunities and broader space for cooperation.

As the pioneer of friendly cooperation between China and Australia, WA is rich in energy and mining, agriculture, tourism and education resources and enjoys a sound foundation of exchanges and cooperation with China, and the potential for bilateral cooperation in various areas is tremendous. China became Western Australia’s biggest export market 10 years ago, and last year, China accounted for more than 50% of Western Australia’s export volume. Meanwhile, China is the biggest source of imports of Western Australia with quite a number of locomotive and other mechanical and electrical equipment exporting to Western Australia.

The Chinese Consulate General is ready to make concerted efforts with Western Australia to give full play to the complementary advantages of both economies, and to promote the friendly exchanges and cooperation in such fields as agriculture, food, mining and clean energy, marine science, environment protection, infrastructure construction , equipment manufacturing, e-commerce, education and tourism, as well as friendly exchanges between sister states and sister cities, and to uplift our practical cooperation to a new level, so as to benefit the two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today China-Australia relations are at a new starting point, facing unprecedented historic opportunities. There is a famous saying in China , “Friendship knows no distance, a thousand miles is but a heartbeat away” and there is also an Australian saying "Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows". Although China and Australia are in many ways different from each other, I am convinced that as long as we work in the same direction , based on the principle of mutual understanding and mutual trust, we can brave the wind and waves and move forward towards a brighter future for our cooperation.

In closing, I’d like to propose a toast,

To the development of friendly relations between China and Australia,

To the expansion and deepening of bilateral cooperation between China and Western Australia,

And to the health and happiness of all the guests present here,

Cheers!

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