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Remarks by Ambassador Xu Erwen at Happy Chinese New Year Performance

(Jan.8th, 2020, Gervais, City of Opatija)

Dami I Gospodo Dobra večer!Sretan Novo Godina

Your Excellency, Former President Mr. Mesic,

Respected Chairman of SDP, Mr.Bernardić,

Respected State Secretaries from Croatian Ministries,

Respected Mayor of Opatija, Mr.Ivo Dujmic,

Respected Former Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Simonić,

Your Excellencies, Ambassadors of Diplomatic Corps,

Overseas Chinese compatriots, Ladies and gentlemen, My dear friends,

Good evening.

It is my great pleasure to be here tonight to co-host the Happy Chinese New Year show with Mayor Dujmic. This is the first time the performance to be held in Opatia. The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important traditional festival of the Chinese nation, marking the beginning of the Lunar New Year and symbolizing unity and prosperity. At this joyful and auspicious moment, I wish to extend my best wishes to the distinguished guests and audience present here tonight and all the friends in Croatia for a very happy lunar new year, wish the New Year bring you good health, peace, prosperity and good luck!

I am very happy to see so many Croatia friends interested in Chinese culture and willing to share the joy of the festival with the Chinese people. Tonight, artists from Gansu province of China will present you a wonderful feast of Chinese culture. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Government of Gansu for its support. And also my special thanks to the Opatija city government, Mr. Mayor for the commitment with an unrivaled venue and various assistance to the event. I also wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Croatia government and people for their support to China and the promotion of China and Croatia relationship.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Spring festival is a time to review the past year and look forward to happy and prosperous new year! The past year has been a remarkable year for China and China and Croatia relations. It marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past 7 decades, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, have worked hard to turn a poor and weak country that suffered from foreign aggression and chaos into the second largest economy in the world , and one of the most secure countries recognized by the world community, creating miracles in the history of human development. The last year has been a year of steady growth for Chinese economy. In the face of mounting downward pressure on the global economy, we pursued innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, overcame various risks and challenges, and achieved 6.2% economic growth in the first three quarters, and continued to contribute more than 30 % to the world economic growth. The last year was also a year that China has deepened reform and furthered opening-up to the outside world. The 4th Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC was held successfully, focusing on the issue of upholding and improving the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and promoting the modernization of China's governance system and capacity. China announced that we will further greatly relax control of market access, strengthen IPR and expand imports. China’s reform will not stall, and the door will not be closed but open even wider to the rest of the world. China will continue its peaceful development road and work together with other countries including Croatia to build a community with shared future for mankind. China will continue to be the builder of the world peace, contributor to the world growth and defender of the world order.

The past year was also a big year for the development of China-Croatian relations. We kept close exchanges of high level visits with our mutual political trust depended and co-operations extended to all areas. Last April, Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Croatia and attended the 8th summit of Heads of Governments of China and Central and Eastern European Countries. Last November, Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Mr. Jandroković visited China, met his counterpart in Beijing and attended the 2nd China International Import Expo. Greater achievements were made in the economic cooperation between our two countries. The construction of the Pelješac Bridge has been progressing steadily. Cultural exchanges between our two countries have also been splendid. We organized a series of exchange activities within the framework of the Year of Culture and Tourism, which promoted mutual understanding and friendship between the two sides and narrowed the distance between the peoples of our two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The year of 2020 is the Chinese Lunar Year of the Rat. Rat ranks the 1st in the Chinese 12 zodiac culture. It not only marks a new beginning of reincarnation, but also symbolizes wisdom, intelligence and vitality, which just foresees the bright future of our two countries and bilateral relations. This year, we will embrace the 15th anniversary of China-Croatia Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership and we believe that the two countries will make a series of new breakthroughs in various fields including political exchanges, pragmatic cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Ladies and gentlemen,

State-to-state relations are based on the affections of the peoples. Cultural exchanges play important role in forging the diamond-like friendship between China and Croatia, and serve as a significant part of the joint promotion of the “Belt and Road Initiative” and China+17 Cooperation. Today’s Chinese traditional orchestra comes from Gansu, a province which has a special role in Chinese history and culture as well as in the “Belt and Road” construction. During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Gansu last year, he made a field trip to the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang - the world’s largest treasure house of Buddhist culture and arts with the longest history. He pointed out that “Dunhuang is a crucial hub in history, with the gathering and blending of various cultures which have shaped the unique charm of its culture.” Dunhuang, a city of Gangsu was an important station in ancient silk road where Marco Polo who was born in Korcula, Croatia travelled more than 700 years ago and introduced the oriental to the west. There are a lot of Silk Road and Dunhuang cultural elements in today's programme and also many beautiful sceneries of west part of China including Xinjiang’s economic development, ethnic unity and harmony as well as cultural prosperity. I hope you will enjoy. I also believe that through today's activities and cultural exchange, the mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two countries will be further deepened, and China's traditional culture will be welcomed by more and more Croatian people.

In the end, I wish you all a happy new year and all the best! Hvala!

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