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Speech by Consul General Han Tao at the Chinese New Year Reception
2019/02/07

Honourable Minister Mary Ng,

Honoured representatives from the three levels of the Canadian government,

Dear friends from the Chinese community and the media,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good evening!

With Spring just around the corner, all life prepares to be reinvigorated. In four days' time, we will celebrate China's most important traditional festival, the Spring Festival. On this occasion, we are happy to gather here to bid farewell to the passing year and embrace the Year of the Pig.

First of all, on behalf of all my colleagues at the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all of you present here today.

The past year of 2018 marked the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, and also the fifth anniversary of the "Belt and Road Initiative." Facing the complicated and ever-changing international situation, China has followed the world's development trend, firmly adhered to the reform and opening up policy, and made a series of new achievements.

In 2018, China's GDP reached 90.03 trillion RMB yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 6.6%. The total import and export volume of goods reached 30.5 trillion RMB yuan, with a year-on-year jump of 9.7%. 13.61 million new jobs were created, more than 13 million new jobs were maintained every year for six consecutive years. 10 million people were lifted out of poverty, achieving the goal of reducing poverty by 10 million people per year for six consecutive years.

In 2018, the Chang'e-4 probe achieved a complete success, realizing the first soft landing on the moon's far side. The Beidou Satellite System officially provided global navigation services. Also in 2018 the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was completed and opened to traffic, and the first China International Import Expo was successfully held. The Chinese people continue to make strides on the historic journey to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

China's development achievements are inseparable from the support of the vast number of overseas Chinese. In the past year, the Chinese community in our consular district have actively contributed to the local society, boosted local economic and social development and multiculturalism, and have employed their own advantages to serve as the bridge between China and Canada. They are an important driving force for the development of relations between our consular district and China. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the local Chinese community for their hard work.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The pace of China's reform will not stall, and the door of opening-up will open wider and wider. China will host the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the 2nd China International Import Expo. China's development cannot be separated from the world, while the prosperity of the world also needs China. China's further opening up will surely bring more development opportunities to other countries around the world.

At the beginning of the new year, President Xi Jinping attended a gathering to commemorate the 40th anniversary of issuing the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan and delivered an important speech. He put forward five proposals on promoting the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and realizing the national reunification:

First, work together to promote national rejuvenation and achieve the goal of peaceful reunification;

Second, seek solutions to the Taiwan issue under the "one country, two systems" principle and enrich the practice of peaceful reunification;

Third, adhere to the one-China principle and maintain the prospects for peaceful reunification;

Fourth, deepen cross-strait integrated development, and consolidate the foundation of peaceful reunification;

Fifth, realize the spiritual harmony of the compatriots, and enhance the identification with peaceful reunification.

It is my sincere hope that the Chinese community in our consular district will continue to contribute to the great cause of the peaceful reunification of China in the new year.

The year 2018 witnessed both positive results and serious setbacks in China-Canada relations. In the new year, we hope to strengthen communication with the Canadian side and remove obstacles to bring China-Canada relations back to the right track.

In the new year, the Chinese Consulate General in Toronto is ready to work together with people from all walks of life in our consular district to promote new progress in the relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the consular district and China, and enhance understanding and friendship among our peoples. We will continue to implement the concept of "putting people's interests first and conducting diplomacy for the people", and provide higher-quality and more efficient service for Chinese citizens and institutions in the consular district.

Finally, I would like to offer my best wishes for the New Year. May you all be happy, healthy, and prosperous in the Year of the Pig.

Thank you!

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