Remarks by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui At Reception Commemorating the 45th Anniversary of China-Canada Diplomatic Relations
Ottawa, 27 January 2016
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a big day today. I am delighted to welcome Mr. Prime Minister and so many friends here to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Canada.
Today’s event reminds us of a great statesman, Pierre Trudeau, one of the founders of diplomatic ties between our two countries. With strategic vision and political courage, he made historic contribution to our relations.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Foreign Minister and all our friends for your consistent support to a stronger relationship between China and Canada. I want to thank colleagues from the Embassy and Foreign Ministry for your efforts to make today’s event possible. I also want to thank China CEFC for their generous sponsorship.
Forty-five years may be a brief moment in human history, but they represent one big leap for our relations.
Every photo on display today tells us how remarkable the progress of our relations has been.
Now more than 3,000 people travel to and from China and Canada every day, but 45 years ago, the annual figure was only 3,000.
Our two-way trade volume was 60 billion US dollars last year. But 45 years ago, the volume was only 150 million US dollars.
What have we learnt from the 45 years of our bilateral ties?
I think our relations have been supported by four pillars: great leadership, growing economic and trade cooperation, close cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and the efforts to accommodate each other’s concerns.
Having gone through an extraordinary journey in the past 45 years, our relations are embarking on a sunny way.
A new start has been made since the new Canadian government took office. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Mr. Prime Minister on the sidelines of G20 summit in Turkey. The two leaders reached a broad consensus and charted the way forward for growing China-Canada relations.
To implement the leaders’ consensus and push forward our relations, I would like to share with you my thoughts on what we should do next.
First, it is important to create new areas and highlights in our practical cooperation.
We can connect China’s initiative of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road with Canada’s Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.
We can start the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement, and expand cooperation in clean energy, infrastructure development, finance and agriculture.
We can deepen people-to-people exchanges in sports, tourism and culture.
We can enhance cooperation on regional and global issues, such as climate change, UN reform, G20 and APEC.
Second, it is important to change our way of thinking. One does not need to be too sensitive to any issue related to China. It is true that we have some differences, but such differences could be managed properly.
It is also important to foster public opinions favourable to the development of our relations. We should strengthen communication with media and focus on cooperation, to let people feel and share the benefits of cooperation.
Third, a growing China is an opportunity for Canada and rest of the world.
Last year China’s economy grew at 6.9%. China’s middle-income population is over 100 million. The process of urbanisation is creating a huge domestic demand for economic development.
For most Chinese, the first thing that comes to their mind when they wake up is to make more money and make life better. The Chinese dream is a dream of the people for a more prosperous life.
Canada had been a forerunner among Western nations in developing relations with China. We need to walk the walk instead of talking the talk, to make our relations come back as a forerunner again.
Mr. Prime Minister, your presence today sends a positive signal to the Chinese people. As you may know, you have a lot of fans in China. Chinese leaders and people look forward to welcoming you in China. A Chinese leader will also come to visit Canada.
I am very hopeful that with our joint efforts, China-Canada relations will grow stronger in the year of the Monkey and have a brighter future.