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Opening Remarks at the Spring Festival Reception for the Press in Singapore
2018/01/25

By Mr. Fang Xinwen, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of

The Chinese Embassy in Singapore

January 24, 2018

Friends from the Press,

Welcome to the Chinese Embassy in Singapore. The year of 2018 arrived 3 weeks ago, and in another 3 weeks’ time, the Year of Dog will chase away the Year of Rooster and has its days.

At this gathering to see off the old and ring in the new, I want to convey my best New Year greetings to you, and wish you and your family a great year of health, happiness and success.

You are all old friends to the Embassy. Our diplomats are your loyal readers and faithful audience. Over the last year, you have made positive reports on China and China-Singapore relations, like the 19th CPC Congress, PM Lee’s visit to China as well as the events held by the Embassy.

It is with your work, your voice and your cameras that people of China and Singapore are knowing each other better and our cooperation are growing in a more friendly atmosphere.

As such, I want to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, our sincere thanks to you for promoting China-Singapore friendship and cooperation.

At the turn of the year, retrospect and outlook are always the themes, so what can we say when we look back on 2017?

To China-Singapore relations, 2017 is both memorable and fruitful. I believe we can use three keywords to summarize: forward, fruitful and friendly.

Forward means progressing with the times, which brings life to China-Singapore relations.

China and Singapore are all industrious nations. In China, we held the 19th CPC Congress. During which, we put forward the Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which charted the historic course of China’s growth and led China into a new stage of development.

However, China is still in the primary stage of socialism and will remain as the largest developing country in the world. We will never waver from the policy of good-neighborliness, friendship and cooperation.

Last year, President Xi Jinping met PM Lee Hsien Loong in Beijing and Hamburg. They reached a series of important consensus and laid out the blueprint for our relations in a new era. I firmly believe that this new era will further enrich the content of our All-Round Cooperative Partnership Progressing with the Times, move our relations forward and push it to scale new heights.

Fruitful describes the high-level of our cooperation, which serves the common development of both China and Singapore.

By the Singapore river, there stands the commemorative marker of Mr Deng Xiaoping, and on its back is a famous quote by Mr Deng, “Development is of overriding importance”. I believe it is an inspiring statement that motivates our two countries to further deepen the cooperation.

In 2017, the cooperation between China and Singapore has contributed greatly to the development in both countries. China remains as the largest trading partner of Singapore with bilateral trade volume reaching 79.2 billion US dollars. Singapore, as a country, remains as China’s largest foreign investor and the third largest investment destination. We have deepened cooperation on the Belt and Road initiative and advanced the building of three major platforms of connectivity, financial support and third-party cooperation. It has benefited our two countries and the region beyond. Last year, China’s economy grew by 6.9%, and Singapore by 3.5%. We will not be able to achieve such good results without our fruitful cooperation.

Friendly describes the close link between China and Singapore, which embodies the affinity between our two peoples.

As close and friendly neighbours, the emotional bond between our two countries acts as a strong driving force for people-to-people exchanges.

Let me put it in numbers. For the first 10 months of 2017, Chinese tourists made up to 2.73 million trips to Singapore, making China the top source of tourists for Singapore. On average, over 10,000 trips are made between China and Singapore every day. With more than 700 flights between our two countries per week, yet it is still difficult to buy a ticket in the peak season, especially during the Spring Festival.

China and Singapore are not only close to each other in a geographical sense, but also in terms of sentiments. In both countries, we can taste the flavor of the Spring Festival and feel the warmth of home.

Friends from the Press,

The year 2018 holds abundant opportunities and great promise. It marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, as well as Mr Deng Xiaoping’s visit to Singapore.

In the past four decades, Singapore has been deeply involved in China’s reform and opening-up endeavor, and China has benefited a great deal from Singapore’s development experience. Through this shared journey, we learned to cherish our friendship and cooperation even more. We can only accomplish our mission if we remember why we started. Today, China stands ready to work together with Singapore for greater development in our bilateral relations in a new era.

In 2018, Singapore once again assumes the ASEAN chairmanship. It is also the country coordinator for China-ASEAN relations for the first half of the year. China firmly supports the building of the ASEAN Community. We will also support Singapore in its dual roles as the ASEAN chair and the country coordinator for China-ASEAN relations. It is our hope that with joint efforts, we could further advance China-ASEAN relations and East Asia cooperation.

The 2018 calendar is marked with important and auspicious events. As always, we count on your continued attention and support. China-Singapore relations call for more encouragement and confidence. We hope you will continue the comprehensive and objective coverage of the real China, and do justice to the efforts and progress in our bilateral relations. China-Singapore relations also call for good advice and wise counsel. We will keep an open mind and listen to constructive suggestions. We look forward to your continued support for China-Singapore friendship and to the work of our Embassy. Let’s make the year 2018 another journey of shared growth and progress.

Thank you.

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