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Toast by H.E. Xi Jinping President of the People's Republic of China At Welcome Dinner of the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
2014/11/11

Beijing, 10 November 2014

Distinguished Colleagues,
Dear Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Good evening! You have traveled long distances to Beijing, making this reunion possible on the eve of the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. The Chinese people believe in destiny. In a sense, we are destined to meet here tonight.

On behalf of the Chinese government and people, on behalf of my wife and in my own name, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to every one of you, my distinguished guests!

When I greeted you a moment ago at the entrance, I saw that you were all dressed in Chinese attire. With both Chinese cultural elements and a modern touch, the attire brings us much closer together. The Chinese people will be delighted to see you in local-style dress and see you as friends and neighbors coming to visit us at home. Let me mention the ladies especially. Gaily dressed in a riot of colors, you are particularly glamorous tonight. Your presence has lit up this banquet hall. The place we're at is called the "Water Cube"; across the street is the National Stadium, better known as the "Bird's Nest". The one has a square exterior, the other is round in shape. Ancient Chinese saw earth as square and heaven as round. These two structures, standing next to each other, are a perfect illustration of balance and harmony. The Water Cube served as the National Aquatics Center during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Forty-four gold medals were awarded here, and this place saw the creation of 25 new world records. Many athletes from the economies you represent excelled in the competition and created one sporting miracle after another. Some of the APEC Economic Leaders present tonight also attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

These days, the first thing I do in the morning is to check the air quality in Beijing, hoping that the smog won't be too bad, so that our distinguished guests will be more comfortable while you're here. Fortunately with the efforts of our people and the cooperation of the weather, air quality in Beijing in the recent couple of days is much better than before. Well, this may be a premature conclusion, but I do hope and pray the weather tomorrow will turn out just fine! The improved air quality, which is not easy to secure, is the result of the combined efforts of nearby provinces and cities and relevant government agencies. Here I want to say "thank you" to all those who have helped to make it a reality. And I want to thank the APEC meeting for prompting us to be even more determined to protect the environment. We will do a better job at protecting the environment in the future. Some people call the clear Beijing sky these days "the APEC blue" and say it is beautiful but temporary, and it will be gone soon after the APEC meeting. I hope and believe that, with persistent efforts, the APEC blue will be here to stay.

My government is making an unprecedented, all-out effort to clean up pollution. My hope is that every day we will see a blue sky, green mountains and clear rivers not just in Beijing, but all across China, so that our children will live in an enjoyable environment. This is a very important part of the Chinese Dream.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

We have chosen the Water Cube as the venue for this dinner because water has great symbolism in Chinese culture. Over 2,000 years ago, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu noted that "The supreme good is like water, which benefits all of creation without trying to compete with it." True, water nourishes all things without them realizing it. We, APEC member economies, are brought together by the water of the Pacific Ocean. We have a shared responsibility to make the Pacific an ocean of peace, friendship and cooperation, an ocean that brings peace, development, prosperity and progress to the Asia-Pacific region.

Tonight is an occasion of great significance. We meet here with the common purpose of sustaining the dynamic development of our region. We should use the APEC meeting as an opportunity to outline a long-term vision for the Asia-Pacific and chart the course for cooperation in our region. Tomorrow, we will meet by Yanqi Lake at the foot of Yanshan Mountains to kick off this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. Confucius, another ancient Chinese philosopher, observed that "The visionary find joy in water and the wise find joy in mountains." Our meeting-place tomorrow has both water and mountain. I hope you will all share your vision and wisdom on the future development of the Asia-Pacific and the prospects of our cooperation.

Now please join me in a toast:

To the prosperity and progress of the Asia-Pacific region;

To the dynamic growth of APEC;

To the crowning success of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting;

and

To the health of every one of you and your family.

Cheers!

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