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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhan Yongxin on the Inaugural Israel's China Policy Conference

Your Excellency Ambassador Matan Vilnai,

Mr. Yossi Katribas, Senior Deputy Director General of PMO,

Prof. Alex Mintz, Director of IPS, IDC Herzliya,

Ms. Carice Witte, Executive Director of SIGNAL,

Prof. Cui Xiliang, President of Beijing Language and Culture University,

Ladies and gentleman,

Dear Friends,

Shalom! Bokov tov!(Good morning!)

It is a great pleasure for me to attend this Seminar today. First of all, on behalf of the Embassy of China in Israel, I’d like to extend warm welcome to all distinguished guests and express heartfelt appreciation to SIGNAL, IDC and IPS for your thoughtful arrangements of this event.

“For friends, what is precious is mutual understanding; for mutual understanding, what is precious is knowing the heart.” Academic study is endowed with the task of enlightening the public. Academic exchange is of great significance for enhancing cooperation between countries. As the 25th Anniversary of China-Israel diplomatic relations is approaching, it is fitting to gather together people of vision from both countries to review the past, look into the future and discuss important matters we care. My Embassy is more than happy to participate and give some support. I believe this seminar will benefit both China and Israel a lot.

As a big country with 1.3 billion people that enjoys sustained and fast growth, China is now standing under the limelight of the world. How can China ensure the continued growth of economy? What kind of role will China play in global affairs and what impacts will it have on the world and this region in particular? Not only is the world interested in these questions, China is also thinking about and exploring these questions. As Chinese Ambassador, I would like to share with you some of my views.

First, how should we look at the Chinese economy? Against the overall global economic backdrop, many countries have encountered difficulties and China is no exception. But if we look at it from a broader perspective, I believe there are more positive factors than negative ones for the Chinese economy.

In the first half of this year, China's GDP grew by 6.7%, a bit slower than in the past, but still one of the fastest among the major economies and contributed 26.3% to the world growth.

In the first half of this year, China’s industrial upgrading and structural adjustment picked up pace. The service sector outweighed manufacturing and took up 54.1% of GDP. The final consumption expenditure contributed 73.4% to GDP. As household income increased steadily, energy intensity and the discharge of main pollutants went down. Moreover, employment figures were excellent. 7.17 million urban jobs were created, completing 71% of the annual target. All indicated that the quality of economic growth is getting better.

China is now the world’s second largest economy, but its per capita GDP is still at the middle level in the world. There is both a gap to fill and a potential to tap. Especially in central and west part of China, we see huge space and room for development. China is now in the process of industrialization and urbanization. There is strong impetus for reform and much space for expanding domestic demand. All these will continue to inject new energy into the economy.

Against complex situation facing the world economy, no country can resolve problems solely on its own. China is ready at all times to make accurate assessment and give right prescriptions with others. In the early of September, China hosted the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, during which the G20 Leaders' Communiqué and 28 specific outcome documents were issued. Chinese President Xi Jinping raised the initiative of jointly building an innovative, open, interconnected and inclusive world economy and pointed out that global economic governance should be based on equality, embrace openness, driven by cooperation and be a mechanism of sharing.

Dear friends,

As China is on the road to development and prosperity, sometimes we have taken note of the claim that a stronger country is bound to follow the beaten path to seek hegemony and pose a so-called “threat” to other countries. I think this logic works on some other countries, not China.

Chinese people love peace. Our ancestors taught us that “the strong should not oppress the weak and the rich should not bully the poor”, “a war-prone state, however big it may be, will eventually perish.”

Actions speak louder than words. Regarding territorial or maritime disputes, China always advocates resolutions through dialogues and opposes unilateral actions that might complicate disputes. Thanks to that, China has successfully resolved land boundary disputes with twelve out of its fourteen neighbors, and generally maintains the South China Sea peaceful. In past decades, China has also become the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. Last year, when commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of the World Anti-Fascist War, China announced to reduce its troops by 300,000.

China pursues win-win cooperation. 2000 years ago, Confucius said:“we must help others achieve success if we want to achieve success ourselves.” His axiom has been imprinted into our genes.

In 2013, China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative to share its development opportunities with countries along the routes. It’s neither a zero-sum game nor a one-man show. Rather, it’s an invitation of development and prosperity open to all.

We believe that without peace, there will be no development and without cooperation, there will be no lasting prosperity. Today, countries have become increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent. China stays committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a win-win strategy of opening-up, which is not out of convenience, but a strategic decision as well as a solemn pledge to the world.

Dear friends,

There is an old saying in China that “when a sesame stalk blossoms, it grows notch by notch, higher and higher”. That is absolutely how China-Israel friendship develops in recent years. Our political mutual trust is strengthening, while pragmatic cooperation in various fields expanding.

Frequent high level visits are best demonstrations. Within 6 months, our two vice premiers visited Israel respectively. Your Speaker of Knesset H.E. Mr.Adelstein paid his visit to China successfully in this April. Just a few days ago, Chairman of Standing Committee of National People’s Congress of China, H.E. Mr. Zhang Dejiang, visited Israel,which is the highest-level visit by Chinese leader since the year of 2000.

Economic and technical cooperation are shining-spots. China has outstanding manufacturing power and broad market, while Israel has strong technology and innovation. Our economy are highly complementary. As China is implementing the innovation-driven development strategy, our cooperation have greater potentials. Now China is Israel's largest Asian trading partner. Its total investment here surpasses $6 billion. The Intergovernmental Mechanism of Economic and Technological Cooperation and the Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation work well, and we are discussing the FTA.

People-to-people exchanges are driving forces. This year, we signed an agreement to issue each other’s applicants multiple-entry visa valid for 10 years. In April, Chinese Hainan Airline opened Beijing-Tel Aviv direct flight. It is said that the overall number of Chinese tourists to Israel has risen 53% since January.

Next year will mark the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Israel. I am expecting to push forward bilateral relations into a new height.

Dear friends,

As China and Israel relations getting closer and the Belt and Road Initiative implementing smoothly, it’s natural for Israeli friends to raise curiosity about China’s Middle East Policy. Here, let me assure you that, instead of looking for a proxy here, we promote peace talks; instead of seeking sphere of influence, we call on all parties to join the circle of friends for the Belt and Road Initiative; instead of attempting to fill the “vacuum”, we build a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes. In a word, we are willing to be builders of peace, promoters of development, and partners of people-to-people exchanges in this region.

The Middle East is now sadly plagued by war. However, it is still a land of hope. The use of force offers no solution to problems. The key is to accelerate development. Only when people here are able to live a prosperous life with dignity through development can they voluntarily reject violence, extremist ideologies and terrorism.

Dear friends,

Chinese people say that “more friends make the journey easier.” I sincerely hope everyone present today can continue to play your very special role in promoting the exchanges and cooperation between our two countries and two peoples.

To conclude, I wish this seminar a complete success.

Toda raba! (Thank you!)

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