May I start by paying my respect to H.M. King Letsie III, and
the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane,
All other protocols observe.
Hon. Tseliso Mokhosi, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, and Minister of Communications and Science and Technology,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we are happily gathering here to celebrate the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Embassy, to extend the warmest welcome to our Basotho and international friends from all walks of life for your presence. I also would like to take this opportunity to extend my festival greetings and best wishes to all our fellow countrymen of the local Chinese communities, the Chinese companies, the Chinese Medical Team and to our compatriots from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
On 1st October, 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded after persistent struggle of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. It opened up a new epoch of emancipation, peace, stability, social harmony and ethnic equality which is unprecedented throughout Chinese history. For the past 64 years, particularly since the reform and opening-up, China has scored enormous socio-economic progress, making a lot of economic miracles that greatly improved people's livelihood, enhanced overall national strength and elevated its international status. The Chinese people have never before enjoyed a better and happier live than that of the present. With the fast economic development, China, at the same time, has made greater contributions to the growth of the world economy. Statistics from IMF show that China has contributed to nearly one fourth of the global economic growth since the outbreak of the latest global financial crisis, providing massive opportunities for the development of other countries.
This year has witnessed new achievements and development in China. We have successfully and smoothly elected the new central leadership that is committed to carry on policies of maintaining stability, pursuing reform and innovation, and optimizing the structure for the sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese economy. China is now paying more attention to higher economic quality and efficiency by putting emphasis on resource conservation and environment protection, on technological innovation and advance, to ensure the fruits of reform and development be shared by all Chinese citizens. With the set goal of "controlled slowdown", Chinese economy is moving forward in steady way. Her GDP in the first half of 2013 increased by 7.6%. During the same period, the per capita income for the rural population increased at 9.2%. And in urban areas, over 7 million more jobs have been created. In addition to these economic achievements, in June, China successfully launched Shenzhou 10 spacecraft carrying 3 astronauts to dock with Tiangong-1 Spacelab, which marked new progress of China's top-end technology. China's Chang'e-3 lunar probe is expected to be launched at the end of this year to land on the moon. We wish it will also be a great success!
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
While the Chinese people are encouraged by the goals of completely building an all-round well-off society at the centennial of the Communist Party of China, and a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized and harmonious socialist modernized country at the centennial of the People's Republic, the new leadership led by President Xi Jinping put forward the important thinking of the Chinese dream, which has become the strongest inspiration for the 1.3 billion Chinese people.
What is the Chinese Dream? It is, in essence, the dream of national renewal, a dream of building a strong and prosperous state, a dream of bringing happiness in lives of the Chinese people. It is a dream of the Nation, as well as every Chinese people, a dream of peace and development. Peaceful development and win-win cooperation is the direction of the Chinese people in pursuit of their dream, which is in line with the common interests and desire of the peoples of the world for lasting peace and common prosperity. China cannot realize her dream without peace, prosperity and harmony of the rest of the world. We believe that inclusiveness, cooperation and mutual benefit are the right approaches for mankind to embrace the opportunities as well as challenges in the future. As you may remember, the theme slogan for 2008 Beijing Olympics is "One World One Dream". The Chinese dream resonates with the dream of the world, including the dreams of African countries.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
China attaches great importance to promoting and strengthening friendly relations and cooperation with African countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping's choice of Africa as the destination of his first foreign trip in March this year is a good embodiment, which has set a precedent for a Chinese head-of-state to visit Africa during his first overseas trip. During the visit, he promised to assist Africa to enhance its capability for independent and sustainable development. Just a few days ago, the Third Round of Political Consultations between Chinese and African Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly was successfully held in New York. Both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on strengthening coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, on seeking win-win cooperation between China and Africa, and reached many consensus. As the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi rightly pointed out in the talks that China and Africa have all along been "a community of shared destiny". China's development can not be separated with Africa and Africa's development also needs China. This is a true portrayal of China-Africa relations. As the statistics show that in 2012, the total trade volume between China and Africa reached nearly USD200 billion, an increase by 19% compare with that of the year before, and almost double compare with that of 2008, setting up a new record. In the first six months this year, it has for the first time surpassed USD$100 billion in half a year. Up to the end of 2012, China's total direct investment in Africa reached more than USD20 billion, increase by 4 times compare with that of 2008. There are more than 2000 Chinese companies investing and doing business in Africa, playing a positive role in helping African countries build up their capacity for independent development and promoting common development.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
China-Lesotho relations have enjoyed a sound momentum for development. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries, and next year will be 20th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations. Since the resumption in 1994, the friendly relationship has been moving forward smoothly in all fields. Now, we have become true friends and reliable partners.
This year has also witnessed new progress in our friendly and cooperative relations. We maintain frequent high-level exchanges of visit. Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Metsing and several other Cabinet Ministers of Lesotho paid their visits to China. The two Foreign Ministries and Police Departments held consultations and talks with each other, which further enhanced the mutual understanding, trust and support between the two sides.
On bilateral trade and investment, the bilateral trade volume increased by 23.93% to USD$99.79 million last year. In April, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Ministry of Trade and Industry of Lesotho and the Chinese Embassy cosponsored the first Lesotho-China Business Forum, which set up a platform for Basotho and Chinese businessmen to communicate with each other and explore opportunities for cooperation.
On economic and technical cooperation, we successfully completed 3 economic and technical cooperation projects last year. At the same time, we are starting or launching several new projects. Further more, we have been actively consulting with Lesotho sides in exploring new area for priority development under the framework of FOCAC.
We also have conducted fruitful people-to-people exchanges. In the area of human resources development, this year till now, more than 50 government officials,technical professionals and LDF officers from Lesotho have participated in various training courses in China. Besides, 14 Basotho students have been awarded full Chinese Government Scholarship to pursue bachelor, master or doctor degrees of different subjects. One thing is well worth mentioning is that in mid-July, to share the joys of the Basotho people in celebrating His Majesty's 50th birthday, China sent the Shanghai University Students Arts Troupe to visit Lesotho and give a wonderful performance here, which reflected the goodwill and profound friendship between our two peoples.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Chinese medical teams' arrival in the African continent. For Lesotho, the first medical team came in 1996. Last week, the 8th Chinese Medical Team completed their task in Motebang Hospital of Leribe and went back to China. During their two years' stay here, they worked tirelessly and dedicated themselves to providing good medical service to the Basotho people. They treated more than 45,000 patients, conducted 1133 operations, rescued 109 severely ill patients, and helped train more than 100 medical personnel, doing an admirable job in close cooperation with their local colleagues in curing diseases and relieving pains of Basotho patients, and have won appreciation and respect from the local people. They have left behind a lot of moving stories. Now, the newly arrived 9th Chinese Medical Team, with 6 gentlemen and 2 ladies, led by Doctor Xiao Yi is among us here today. Let's give them a big hand of warm welcome and wish them good time and wonderful stay here in Lesotho.
In international affairs, China and Lesotho share similar or identical views on many issues and have maintained sound coordination and cooperation in safeguarding the common interests of developing countries. The Chinese government highly appreciates the positions of the Government of Lesotho on issues concerning China's national interest and particularly her position of adhering to the One-China policy and her support for China's peaceful reunification.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are happy to see the Kingdom of Lesotho continues to enjoy social stability, national unity and economic development since the coalition government came to power. We highly commend and appreciate Lesotho Government's endeavours in developing the economy and improving people's livelihood, and Lesotho's positive contributions to promoting peace, development and integration process of Africa. I do hope Lesotho will steadily move forward in its pursuit of social economic development by realizing the goals set in the National Strategic Development Plan, Vision 2020 and also that of Millennium Development Goal. As I just talked about the Chinese Dream, I need to point out that it has so much in common with the African dream and the Basotho Dream. As every Basotho proudly sings their National Anthem, they will always remember to end with the national motto of three promising words: Khotso, Pula, Nala. This motto, perhaps, gives the best and fullest expression of what the Basotho dream is all about.
Before concluding, I'd like to extend my sincere gratitude to my Basotho friends and my fellow countrymen for their positive contributions to the development of China-Lesotho relations and the friendship between our two peoples.
Finally, I wish to propose a toast:
To the 64th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China;
To the bright future of China-Lesotho relations;
And to the health of H.M. King Letsie III and the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane and all friends present here today,
Thank you .