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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Qiyue on the 61st Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China

October 1st this year marks the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere greetings and heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported China's development and promoted the friendship and cooperation between our two great nations.

The past 61 years have witnessed rapid development in China especially since China embarked on the reform and opening-up policy 32 years ago. Between 1978 and 2009, Chinese economy has grown at an average annual rate of 9.8% while its per capita GDP has increased from US$ 226 to US$ 3700. With less than 10% of world arable land, China has succeeded in feeding over 20% of the world population, thus making a major contribution to world food security. The policy of reform and openness has helped lift over 240 million people out of abject poverty. For years, China suffered from a shortage economy. Today, China is one of the key production bases for world products ranging from machinery to toys.

One remarkable feature of contemporary China is her ever speeding pace.The country has built the world's largest high-speed railway network. The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railroad will be completed next year; with a speed of 350 kilometres per hour, it will take only five hours rather than the previously 20-odd hours to travel between the two world-known metropolises. 30 years ago in China, motorway was something unheard of for the people on the street. Now China has built 65,000 kilometres, ranking second in the world in cumulative motorway length.

Also noteworthy is the speed with which China is building her own information superhighway. It was a common sight in the past that villagers would gather before a single nine-inch black-and-white TV set to watch the China Central Television channel, the only one available to them at that time. Now large-screen LCD TV sets become a household appliance for ordinary Chinese, and people are spoiled for choice with hundreds of channels. The netizenry in China has topped 400 million with 230 million people having access to internet through mobile phones, and 3G communication network has covered almost the whole country.

Nonetheless, China's development is by no means free from challenges and difficulties. This year, the global financial crisis is still looming large; natural disasters hit many regions, affecting more than 250 million people. However, the adversities have not frightened us. With our hard efforts, we have scored remarkable achievements in the first half of this year: our GDP totaled US$2.55 trillion, representing an 11.1% growth over the same period last year; our grain output was the third largest since the founding of New China; over five million new jobs have been created in urban and rural areas; foreign trade has increased 43.1% year-on-year to a volume of US$ 1.35 trillion. The sound performance of Chinese economy has contributed much to economic recovery in the region as a whole and beyond.

China is characterized by openness and responsibility. China has been faithfully fulfilling her international responsibilities and contributed to the settlement of hotspot issues. We have dispatched in thousands UN peacekeeping personnel. Their professionalism and dedication has won acknowledgment worldwide. China, herself a member of the developing world, never hesitates in lending her helping hand to other countries. China has rendered economic aids to over 120 developing countries, and canceled the debts of 49 highly-indebted and least developed countries. On African continent and in other places in the world, Chinese medical teams are seen rescuing the wounded and treating the sick, and Chinese volunteers are found helping those in danger and relieving those in need.

The Chinese people are eager to learn more about the outside world and enhance understanding with other countries. The Beijing Olympic Games, the Shanghai World Expo, and the forthcoming Guangzhou Asian Games to be held in November, have served and will continue to serve that purpose. Culture, sports and expectations for a better tomorrow link China with the rest of the world. World Expo 2010 Shanghai has up to now attracted over 550 million visitors, and one out of ten has set foot in the Indonesian pavilion. 47.66 million tourists from Chinese mainland traveled to other countries and regions last year, and over four million of them made Southeast Asia their tourist destination.

Recently, phrases like "China becoming NO.2 world economy" hit the headlines of international papers. However, what concerns China is how to bring a more respectable and dignified life to its 1.3 billion people and how the economic fruits can be shared by all. Let there be no doubt that China is confronted with huge challenges in that respect. According to the World Bank World Development Report 2010, China's per capita income ranks 130th in the world. By the UN standards, there are still 150 million people living in poverty in China. Each year 12 million jobs have to be created for those who newly join the labour force. China still lags far behind developed nations in terms of inputs in healthcare, education as well as science and technology. Still on the downstream of global industrial chain, China faces the daunting task of achieving economic development and environmental protection at the same time.

In pursuit of solution to the said problems, we are engaged in the transformation of economic development pattern and economic restructuring, and try to accelerate the reform of income distribution regime with a view to building a more equitable and just society in which people can afford medicate, the old will be provided for, and children of the poor families have equal access to education. We will spare no effort to push ahead with energy conservation, emission reduction and environmental preservation. We prioritize the development of clean energy, and China now leads the world in exploiting hydro electricity, nuclear power, solar energy and wind energy.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Indonesia diplomatic relations and the Friendship Year between the two countries. Bilateral relations have advanced quickly in recent years with frequent exchange of visits at the highest level, the setting up of various dialogue mechanisms, and cooperation in various sectors including business, culture, science and technology and education. Bilateral trade topped US$ 30 billion in 2008 and is expected to reach US$ 40 billion this year. In the near future, it is quite likely to reach the more ambitious target of US$ 50 billion.

Also impressive is cultural and people-to-people exchanges between our two nations. This year both sides have organized many events such as Wushu show, musical performance, cultural and religious exhibition, seminars and media exchanges. Through those exchanges, we find that our common points far outweigh our differences. As two major developing countries, China and Indonesia are key to development of Asia and the world. The good cooperation between the two sides would have very positive impact on economic development, food security, health and environment.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue partnership, and Indonesia will assume the chair of ASEAN. In the past two decades, China-ASEAN cooperation has weathered major tests such as two financial crises and severe natural disasters. China consistently supports ASEAN Integration Initiative and ASEAN's central role in regional cooperation. It is our common pursuit to nurture an Asia that is peaceful, harmonious and prosperous. The future of China-ASEAN relations are in the hands of the young generation.

To conclude, I wish to express my best wishes to my country on this anniversary and wish the Sino-Indonesia friendship grow stronger everyday.

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