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Consul-General Lei Kezhong's Remarks at WACCC 2017 Chinese New Year Ball
4 February 2017

Hon Dr Mike Nahan, MLA, Treasurer, Minister for energy, Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, Western Australia

Hon Sue Ellery, MLC, Shadow Minister for Education, representing the Leader of the Opposition,

Mr Khoon Tan, President of Western Australian Chinese Chamber of Commerce,

Mr Steve Irons, MP, Federal Member for Swan

Mr Tim Hammond, MP, Federal Member for Perth

Indonesian Consul General Mr Ade Sarwono,

Distinguished Guests,

Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening!

It's a great pleasure for me to join all of you here to celebrate the Lunar Chinese New Year - the Year of the Rooster.

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Perth, I'd like to thank Mr Tan and WA Chinese Chamber of Commerce for organizing this event and and also for your efforts in promoting China-Australia economic and trade relations.

In the past two weeks, thanks to the efforts by the State government, various parties concerned, as well as the Chinese communities in WA, we have had a series of colorful Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Western Australia. This not only showcases the inclusiveness of our both culture, but also reflects the close relationship between our two sides.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2017 will be a crucial year in China's development. In the latter half of this year, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held. And China's 13th Five-Year Plan will be in full swing. In terms of our diplomatic agenda, in May this year, China will host in Beijing the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which aims to enhance the complementarity of our development strategies and push for more cooperation projects to add robust impetus to global economy. The Ninth BRICS Summit will be held in Xiamen later this year where the BRICS countries will plan for its future development, deepen solidarity and cooperation with emerging markets and developing countries. In the mean time, serving the people is the very purpose of China's diplomacy and we will remain true to this mission.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Both China and Australia are important countries in the world and in particular, in the Asia-Pacific Region. Our relations and friendly cooperation dates back to centuries ago. And what's more, Australia is a major country on the route of China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and also an important share-holder of the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank. There is broad room for our cooperation opportunities in Asia.

Since the establishment of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, and the implementation of the Free Trade agreement between our two countries, as well as the alignment of China's Belt and Road initiative with the Vision on Developing North Australia, exchanges and cooperation between our two sides have been strengthened significantly.

Just to give you some examples: in terms of international tourists, China is Australia's most rapidly growing source of origin, with an annual growth rate of 20%. In 2016, the total Chinese tourists to Australia is 1.21 million, accounting for 21.9% of Australia's total international tourists. In terms of international students studying in Australia, China is also the biggest source of origin. Up to Oct 2016, there are about 189,000 Chinese students in Australia, accounting for 28% of Australia's total number of international students.

Dear friends,

Western Australia has been playing a leading role in China-Australia cooperation. For many years, China has been WA's largest trading partner, No 1 source of import and export market. From 2015 to 2016, our bilateral trade volume stood at $58.4 billion. About 82 per cent of WA's iron ore export went to China, with a total volume of 633 million tons. Meanwhile, bilateral exchanges and cooperation between us in agriculture, education, culture, tourism and innovation have been increasingly strengthened. Hereby, I'd would like to thank our friends in WA as well as the local Chinese communities in WA for their efforts and contributions in connection with the development of our bilateral relations. I'm looking forward to working with our friends from all sectors of WA to further promote our relations.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia, and is at the same time the year of Tourism between our two countries. We have every reason to believe that by working together, we can usher in a great chapter of our bilateral relations in 2017.

Finally, I'd like to extend my best wishes to all of you for the Chinese New year!

Thank you!

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