Posted: 16-Apr-2020 04:27 PM
Remarks at the Reception Celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival
H. E. CAO Xiaolin, Chinese Ambassador to the Kingdom of Tonga
（16th January 2020）
The Spring Festival is drawing near, which falls on 25th January of this year. It is the most important traditional festival of the Chinese nation. Today, the Chinese Embassy hosts this reception to celebrate the Spring Festival, in order to increase the understanding on the Chinese culture, and promote the friendship between China and Tonga.
The Chinese people have a long history of celebrating Spring Festival, and it has become a fixed custom. According to Chinese lunar calendar, every 12 years fulfill a cycle and we use 12 animals to mark each year, which is known as the Chinese zodiac. Year 2020 is the year of the rat. Rat is the head of the 12 zodiac, it represents spirituality and vitality, and it is an omen of auspicious happiness.
During the Spring Festival, every Chinese household will do Spring Festival shopping, put up couplets, eat Spring Festival feast, pay a new-year call on relatives and friends, play fireworks, visit temple fairs and hold various celebration activities. What’s more important is that, by celebrating Spring Festival, the Chinese people inherit and carry forward the ideology, belief, aspiration, way of life and cultural customs of the Chinese nation.
In recent years, more and more countries and regions are celebrating this festival, together with the Chinese community all around the world. This fully indicates that the Spring Festival is not only a festival of the Chinese nation, but also becoming a festival jointly celebrated by people from many other countries in the world.
The year 2019 is an extraordinary one in the Chinese history. Chinese people celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and applauded its remarkable achievements. The GDP of China is reaching nearly 100 trillion Yuan, and GDP per capita is about to enter the threshold of US$10,000. New progress has been made regarding poverty elimination with more than 10 million people lifted out of poverty. New breakthroughs have been made in science and technology with Chang ‘e-4 landed on the far side of the moon for the first time in human history, and the commercial use of 5G has been accelerated. Defence capacity building has been advanced steadily with the first domestically built aircraft carrier officially commissioned, which strengthened our power to safeguard world peace. China’s exchanges and cooperation with foreign countries have become closer, we successfully held the Second Belt and Road Forum for International cooperation, provided more and more public products for international community and established diplomatic relations with some more countries. Yesterday, China and US signed the Phase One trade agreement, which will not only benefit both China and US, but also benefit all the other countries including Tonga. Facts have proven that a better China will lead to a better world.
I arrived and assumed my position here in the Chinese Embassy on the very first day of 2020. In 1998, right after the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Tonga, I was posted here in the embassy as a junior diplomat. My out-posting diplomatic life started here in Tonga. And I’m also the witness of the rapid all-round development of China-Tonga relations. Over the past two decades, China-Tonga relations have enjoyed a very sound and comprehensive development. The results of our cooperation are tangible, which mainly shows in the following aspects:
First, our mutual trust has been continuously deepened. Trust is the foundation of friendly exchanges between countries. Both China and Tonga respect each other’s right to choose the development path suitable for our national conditions, and we have established a comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development. China views Tonga as an equal member of the international community as well as an important cooperation partner. The Royal family of Tonga and the Tongan government firmly adhere to the one-China Principle, and support China’s position on Taiwan issue and some other issues concerning China’s core interests, to which I would like to express my high appreciation.
Second, the cooperation between China and Tonga has been more fruitful. The exchanges and cooperation in various fields such as infrastructure, economy and trade, agriculture, fishery, health, education and culture have tightened the close ties between our two peoples, boosted economic development, improved people’s livelihood and brought tangible benefits to them. The aid provided by China within its capacity to Tonga is sincere and selfless. The Chinese community here actively fit into the Tongan society and played a very important role in promoting our cooperation in economy and trade, agriculture and tourism. Their contributions are laudable.
Third, China and Tonga are like-minded partners in the international affairs. We share similar positions on many regional and international issues, and support each other on many important matters. As a permanent member of the UN security council, China speaks for Tonga and other developing countries with a view to safeguarding our common interests.
China is the largest developing country in the world, and Tonga is a very important country in the Pacific island region. China-Tonga relations have become a role model for the international community on equal treatment, friendly cooperation and common development. We have every reason to be proud of the accomplishments achieved in our bilateral relations so far.
20 years later when I came back again, I noticed with admiration that Tonga has gone through many positive changes. Tonga is more beautiful, not only beautiful in the country itself, but also beautiful in its people. Tonga is more prosperous, with a rapid developing economy and better standard of living of the people. Tonga is much safer, with a stable and peaceful society, which entitles it to be one of the safest countries in the world. We would like to express our sincere congratulations to the Royal family of Tonga and the Tongan government for the great accomplishments achieved in the social and economic development.
Year 2020 will be very significant for China. China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and fulfill its first centenary goal. In the meantime, China will also realize the goal of lifting all poor population in the rural areas out of poverty under present criteria, and make its new contributions to the cause of peaceful development of the world.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to China-Tonga relations. Our relations in 2020 will open a new chapter for the China-Tonga relations in the third decade of the 21st century.
China is committed to further enhancing our political mutual trust with Tonga, by strengthening our mutual understanding and cooperation on issues concerning our core interests and major concern. China is fully convinced that Tonga will continue to uphold one-China Principle and will not conduct any official exchanges with Taiwan in any form.
China is committed to striving for win-win cooperation economically with Tonga through exchanges and cooperation in various areas under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, in order to better benefit our two peoples. China will also continue to provide economic aid within our capacity to Tonga.
China would like to promote bilateral cooperation in science and technology by supporting the Tongan side to explore new ways of development so as to transform its advantages in labor, marine and tourism resources into advantages in development, which will help Tonga become more competitive in social and economic development.
China is committed to strengthening our cultural exchanges and cooperation with Tonga. We will set up Confucius Institute in Tonga in a timely manner, in order to help more Tongan youth to learn Chinese language and culture, to promote the people-to-people bond and pass on the friendship between China and Tonga.
The Spring Festival is the beginning of the new lunar calendar year, and it also indicates the beginning of a bright future. I wish China and Tonga as well as the people of our two countries all have a wonderful future, and all of you present here have a wonderful work and life in the coming new year.
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