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Address by H.E. Ambassador Xu Hong at the Reception Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Establishment of theChina-Barbados Diplomatic Relations and His Assumption of Office

Hon. Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism, the Representative of the Prime Minister,

Hon. Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade,

Hon. Members of Parliament,

Hon. Ministers, Permanent Secretaries,

Distinguished Representatives of Diplomatic Corps,

Friends from Media,

Specially Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I wish to extend our warm welcome to all of you. Thank you very much for being here with us at this gathering celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and Barbados .

On this special occasion, congratulatory messages have been exchanged between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and between Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Barbadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean. Their messages speak highly of what we have achieved in the past 35 years and draw the blueprint for the future development of the China-Barbados relations.

Barbados is among the first countries in the Caribbean to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and our two peoples enjoy a time-honored friendship. Tonight, let us share the joy and pride for the remarkable achievements we've gained during the past 35 years.

Our relations in the past 35 years is a relationship of sincerity and friendship. The leadership of both countries attach great importance to the solidarity and cooperation between us. We have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges, enhanced mutual understanding and greater mutual trust. The Embassy of Barbados in Beijing, which officially opened in 2010, is the only embassy of Barbados in Asia. Equality and sincerity have been the prevailing spirit of our relations, as we firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity and respect each other’s core interests and concerns. We have been cooperating closely in regional and international affairs and making joint efforts in upholding the interests of the developing countries, so as to promote peace and development of the world and contribute to the building of a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity.

Our relations in the past 35 years is a relationship of mutually beneficial cooperation and win-win outcome. Barbados has now become an important trading partner of China in the Caribbean, with our bilateral trade volume reaching 151 million US dollars in 2011, doubling that of the previous year. The Garfield Sobers Gymnasium and the Cheapside Market, built jointly by our two countries, have become the symbol of our friendship. We have also signed a number of important bilateral agreements, covering various areas including economic and technological cooperation, investment promotion and protection, double-taxation avoidance, as well as cooperation in culture, education, tourism and civil aviation. It is fair to say that such cooperation has indeed brought tangible benefit to our two peoples.

Our relations in the past 35 years is also a relationship of ever-deepening cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Cooperation in culture, sports and education has been dynamic and productive. Barbados has sent delegations to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 Shanghai EXPO, while many Chinese sports, acrobatics and art troupes have visited Barbados. Dozens of Barbadian students have got the chance to study in China, and a teacher from China was assigned here to offer Chinese language course. We are now witnessing regular exchanges between the political parties and civil societies of our two countries, and tourism cooperation is on the rise. All such engagements have made us more attractive to each other, enhanced the friendly sentiments between the two peoples, and at the same time, greatly boosted the further development of our relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As an ancient Chinese poet wrote, “Distance can not separate true friends, since we are close at heart even thousands of miles apart.” Between China and Barbados, geographic distance has never stood in the way of our relations, and different culture and national condition have never been the barrier. We can say with greatest pride that the past 35 years is the best proof to the partnership of mutual benefit and friendship of mutual trust between China and Barbados.

I am fully aware that these achievements would not be possible without efforts from the Barbadian government and people of all walks of life, especially friends present tonight. I wish to thank every one of you from the bottom of my heart.

Confucius once said, “A man in his thirties should be established.” After 35 years of development, China-Barbados relations now stand at a new starting point. We are at similar stages of development and we share similar tasks of developing the economy and improving people’s livelihood. This offers us large room for further cooperation. Economic globalization and the advancement of information technology also enable closer collaboration. Looking into the future, we have every reason to believe that with solidarity, concerted efforts and pragmatic cooperation, we can lift the China-Barbados relations to a new high to better benefit our two countries and peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am greatly honored to be appointed as the 12th Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Barbados to witness this memorable occasion. Ever since the moment I set foot on this land, I have been greatly impressed by your beautiful scenery, your unique culture and your passionate, friendly and wise people. This month, I have had the honor to meet with Governor-General Elliot Belgrave, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, and Senator Maxine McClean, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, as well as many other friends. I'm touched by the importance they have attached to our bilateral relations and the support they have rendered to the Chinese Embassy and to me personally. I am fully aware of the responsibility on my shoulders and I will spare no effort in working with all of you to push forward the China-Barbados relationship.

Thank you and please join me in a toast,

To the 35th Anniversary of the establishment of China-Barbados diplomatic relations,

To the Prosperity and development of our two countries,

To the everlasting friendship between our two peoples, and

To the health of all the distinguished guests.


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