Remarks by the Chinese Ambassador H.E. Mr. Zhang Jiming at the Reception Celebrating the 67th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China



    Hon. Ministers,

    Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and 

    Members of the Diplomatic and ConsularCorps and Representatives of International Organizations,

    Distinguished Guests,

    Dear compatriots and members of the Chinese community in The Gambia ,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    It is a great pleasure and my honourindeed to welcome youall here tonight to celebratethe 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This is the first Chinese National Day Celebrations hosted by the Chinese Embassy in The Gambia since the People’s Republic China and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia resumed the diplomatic ties in March this year.

    I would take the opportunity to expressourappreciation and thanks to The Gambian governmentand the friends from all walks of life for the commitment and effortsin promoting the friendly relations between China and The Gambia and for thegenerous support and kind assistance in the process of our establishing the Chinese Diplomatic mission here.

    Hon. Ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

    67 years ago, on 1 October 1949, the Chinese nation after over a century-long arduous struggleachieved completeindependence and national liberation. The founding of the People’s Republic of China marks a historic turning point in the modern history of China, and has its significance throughout the world.

    67 years on and especially over the past 38 years of reform and opening up, China has made tremendous progress thanks to the leadership of CPC and the tenacity and hard work of the Chinese people of one generation after another.

    The recent history of China, as President Xi Jinping said, is a course of blazing a new trail, a course of delivering tangible outcomes, a course of achieving common prosperity and a course of China and the world embracing each other.

    Modernizing a big country with a population of more than 1.3 billion is an endeavour never undertaken in the history of mankind, and this means China must pursue its own path of development.

    The path we have tracked is socialism with distinctive Chinese features. Along this path, and pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and a fundamental policy of opening-up, China has, with merely 7% of the world’s arable land, managed to feed its people and make life markedly better for the whole population, which is 22% of the world’s total; China has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty which accounts for over 70% of the global poverty reduction efforts; China has lifted its per capita GDP from merely 35 US dollars in 1949 to nearly 8,000 US dollars today. China has succeeded in turning itself into the world’s second largest economy, the second largest direct overseas investor and the biggest trader of goods. China now is the largest trading partner for nearly 130 countries, including The Gambia. Even in the first half of this year, against the backdrop of a sluggish global economy, Chinaachieved a 6.7% growth of its economy, contributing 39% to the global economic growth. As the largest developing country in the world, China has in just a few decades accomplished what has taken many countries several hundred years to achieve.

    China is sharing with the world its development opportunities through the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Forum on China-Africa Cooperationframework and contributing Chinese wisdom to the improvement of global governance. The recent G20 Hangzhou Summit has for the first time put the issue of development at the core of the global macro policy framework, formulated the first action plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and for the first time, cooperation is being carried out to support African countries and LDCs in their industrialization. All these are moves of pioneering significance.

    China has reached a new historical starting point. Going forward, China will focus on development as the top priority and pursue a new approach to development. Early this year, China drew up the outlines of the 13th five-year plan for economic and social development for the period of 2016-2020. These outlines call for implementing the new concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, to address head on the acute challenges of uneven, uncoordinated and unsustainable development.

    China will steadfastly deepen reform in an all-round way, pursue an innovation-driven development strategy, promote green development, promote equity and sharing of development outcomes, and open up wider to the rest of the world. China has the confidence and ability to maintain medium-high rate of growth and deliver more development opportunities to the world while ensuring its own development.

    Hon. Ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

    The Chinese people hold dear the realization of the Chinese Dream which is the great renewal of the Chinese nation, a dream cherished and pursued by all Chinese since modern times. For that, we have set Two Centenary Goals: realizing a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by the centenary of the CPC in 2021, and turning China into a prosperous modern socialist country by the centenary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

    The Chinese Dream is shared by both sides of the Taiwan Straits. People on the two sides are but one family with shared blood, culture, and common destiny. There is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. Though not yet united, China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been severed. One China Principle is the political foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and an international consensus. On the issue of safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, China is adamant in its determination and consistent in its attitude.

    China is committed to the path of peaceful development. The logic that a strong country is bound to seek hegemony no longer applies. China seeks to build a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and partnership. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, must treat each other as equals. China will continue to fulfill its international obligations and serve as the builder and defender of world peace and the contributor and promoter of common development.

    Hon. Ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

    As an old Chinese saying goes, ‘Nothing, not even mountains and seas, can separate people with common goals and ideals’. Similar historical experience, common development tasks and shared strategic interests bind China and Africa together yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    In 2013, at Tanzania during President Xi’s first overseas visit after taking office, he put forth the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and upholding the values of friendship, justice and shared interests as China’s guiding policy on Africa.

    In 2015, China-Africa Cooperation was lifted to a new high with the success of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), where President Xi announced that China would implement ten cooperation plans with Africa in the coming three years, and would provide $60 billion financial support accordingly.

    2016 is the first year for China and Africa to implement the outcomes of the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit. As manifested by the recent Coordinators’ Meeting at Beijing, rapid progress has been achieved on the follow-up actions of the Johannesburg Summit. China is keeping its promises and suiting the action to the word.

    Committed to the new cooperative concepts, i.e., common, intensive, green, secure and open development, China and Africa are taking advantage of the two major distinctive strengths of our relations, namely the political mutual trust and economic mutual complementarity, and conform with the needs of each other, draw on their respective strengths, and make joint efforts to promote industrialization and agricultural modernization in Africa through industry alignment, transfer of technology and human resources capacity development.China and Africa are marching forward through win-win cooperation for common development .

    Hon. Ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

    China welcomes The Gambia joining the FOCAC family. The normalization of our relations serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and peoples.

    Ours is a relationship of friends, brothers and partners, one that is based on equality, mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefitand common development. China-Gambia bilateral relations now enjoy a dynamic momentum of development. Our mutual understanding is deepening, our economic and commercial cooperation is expanding, our people-to-people exchanges are lively, our coordination and cooperation on international and regional issues is strong.

    A lot have been achieved in just six months. We have agreed to launch an International Conference Center project as the flagship of our cooperation priorities. The first group of Gambian students on Chinese Government Scholarships have started their study in China. Nanning city and Banjul have renewed their sister links and carried out the exchange of visits. And there are morebeing worked outand implemented which I believe will soon come to fruition for the benefit of our two countries and peoples.

    Under the leadership of H.E. The President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and his government, The Gambian people are striving for the Vision 2016, Vision 2020 and Vision 2025. China applauds The Gambia’s achievements and sincerely wishes The Gambia greater success on all fronts of national development. China will stand by The Gambia and be supportive of its efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and advancesocial-economic development.

    As H.E. The President says, big China and small Gambia can partner and be an example. China likewise attaches great importance to its ties with Gambia. I have all the confidence in China-Gambia partnership and in its huge potential.

    Hon. Ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

    I am hugely honoured to be appointed first Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia after the resumption of the diplomatic ties. Since my arrival in April, I have been overwhelmed by the beauty and friendliness of this country. I come to realize why The Gambia is called the ‘Smiling Coast of Africa’. Yes, The Gambia is very small, but it’s green and clean with sunshine, sea and sand, its people is renowned for their openness and friendly outlook. It is a small community but a big and caring family indeed. It is a small part of Africa but with a very large heart.

    I come to learn first-hand that our bond and friendship run deep in history and tradition. During my visit to Bansang Hospital CRR, I was shown to a small courtyard called the China Quarters where the Chinese medical doctors used to reside and the local people still remember clearly how much the Chinese doctors did for thepeople there decades ago; I was also very much impressed with the scene and scale of harvest at a paddy rice field near Sapu CRR. There are some fields still being called the Chinese rice fields; I was told by H.E. the Gambian Ambassador to China that there is even a place called ‘China Town’ here. It is near the Independence Stadium where the Chinese workers lived during the construction of the Stadium in early 1980’s. I was so happily surprised and I’m sure that this China Town in the Gambia must be unique worldwide for its residential only function. The then Chinese contractor and its successor GICEC has been based there since.

    What’s more, quite a number of Chinese companies and business people, many of whom are represented here, have long set up business or made investment in The Gambia. They helped strengthen the links between our two countries and brought real benefits to both peoples. It is gratifying to note that more Chinese are coming, that the peace-loving, law abiding and respectful Gambians and Chinese get along well. I would take the opportunity to extend to all my compatriots and members of the Chinese community in The Gambia my warmest greetings and best wishes on this auspicious occasion of National Day Celebrations!

    Hon. Ministers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

    ‘AMBASSADOR’ in Chinese is called DA SHI, literally means ‘big mission’. I am keenly aware the big mission I am entrusted with. I therefore humbly call for your support and input and joining hands to promote mutual understanding and friendship among our peoples and expand the mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields. I am convinced that by working together, China and The Gambia and all of us will embrace a better world and a brighter future.

    Thank you! Jelijef! Abarlaka!


    Now may I propose a toast:

    To the prosperity of the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia,

    To the friendship and cooperation between China and The Gambia,

    To the health of H.E. the President of the People’s Republic of China and H.E. the President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia and all the distinguished guests,