Dragon-Elephant Tango: An Infinite Opportunity-- Remarks by Ambassador Sun Weidong at the Chinese New Year Reception hosted by the Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata

(January 12, 2020)

Distinguished guests and my fellow compatriots,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

It's a great pleasure for me and my wife to visit Kolkata and attend the Chinese New Year reception hosted by the Consulate General. On behalf of the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in India, I would like to wish you all happiness and good luck in the new year.

2019 was an extraordinary year for China. We celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and successfully convened the fourth plenary session of the 19th CPC central committee. China's economy has sustained high-quality and steady growth. In 2019, China's GDP is expected to edge close to 100 trillion yuan with the per capita figure nearing 10,000 U.S. dollars. The reform continued to deepen, and a host of pilot free trade zones including Hainan Free Trade Zone, have been established. Remarkable progress has been made in poverty reduction, which lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty.

China stays committed the path of peaceful development, firmly oppose unilateralism and hegemonism, and uphold international equity and justice. We advocate openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and will push for the building a community with shared future for mankind. China's diplomacy has made its due contribution to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as well as to the world's peace, development and prosperity.

Dear friends,

2019 was also a remarkable year for China-India relations, where the leaders of the two countries provided guidance throughout the year. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met four times on bilateral and multilateral occasions. The two sides agreed that China and India offer to each other opportunities for development and remain factors of stability in the international landscape. The two countries should help each other to accomplish their respective goals and "brighten up" each other.

China-India economic and trade cooperation embraced new opportunities. The two sides agreed to set up a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism, and also establish a manufacturing partnership. India was the guest of honor at the second China International Import Expo, and a breakthrough was made in the number of Indian exhibitors and their turnover. The two sides also held the second meeting of China-India High-level People-to-people and Cultural Exchanges Mechanism to chart the course for people-to-people exchanges in the future.

China and India strengthened communication and coordination under multilateral mechanisms such as G20, BRICS and SCO to jointly uphold multilateralism and free trade and address global challenges such as climate change. The two sides also properly handled sensitive issues, in a joint effort to prevent differences from becoming disputes and create a sound atmosphere for China-India relations.

The continuous progress of China-India relations could not have been achieved without the support of people from all walks of life of our two countries. Here, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all friends for their efforts and contributions.

Dear friends,

2020 is a milestone year for us. China will complete the building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realize the first centenary goal. China will win the battle against poverty and eliminate absolute poverty for the first time in thousands of years.

The year 2020 will also be a year for China-India relations to forge ahead. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and India. Over the past 70 years, China-India relations have been moving forward despite ups and downs, rain or shine. In recent years, under the guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China-India relations have entered a new stage of sound development. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two informal summits. China and India, both as developing countries and emerging markets, are the only two with a population of over one billion in the world. If China and India join hands, it will not only boost each others' development, but also contribute to the process of multi-polarity and economic globalization, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

The world today is facing profound changes unseen in a century. Both China and India are at a critical stage of national development and rejuvenation. China-India relations go beyond the bilateral scope, and have important and far-reaching strategic significance. As I see it, the only correct choice for the two sides is the "Dragon-Elephant Tango". The two sides should adopt a positive, open and inclusive attitude, properly analyze and view each other's intentions, firmly steer the general direction and mainstream of bilateral relations. China and India should be good neighbors living in harmony and sincere partners going hand in hand.

In the New Year, we shall take the important consensus reached by the two leaders as a guide, transmit the consensus to all levels, and work together to make the third informal summit a success.

We need to focus on cooperation, make the cake of cooperation even bigger and promote convergence of interests. We should go beyond difference-management and take the initiative to shape our bilateral relations so as to accumulate more positive energy for the development of China-India relations.

We will hold 70 events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties. We should take the China-India Year of Cultural and People-to-People Exchange as an opportunity to further enhance mutual understanding and friendship and create a favorable atmosphere for bilateral relations.

I am convinced that China and India have foresight and wisdom to jointly blaze a new path for two neighboring emerging economies to enjoy peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, common development and win-win cooperation.

Dear friends,

As an economic, cultural and educational center in eastern India, West Bengal has taken the lead in cooperation with China. The eminent Chinese monks Fa Xian and Xuan Zang visited West Bengal in ancient times. Rabindranath Tagore's works have left a profound impact on China. His Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan and Institute of Chinese Language and Culture are the pioneer of India's systematic study of China, which have been admired by many Chinese scholars. In recent years, West Bengal has gained more geographical advantages in China-India cooperation. The K2K cooperation between Kolkata and Kunming in Yunnan province is a great success. The Bengal Global Business Summit has attracted the attention of many Chinese enterprises, including ones from Yunnan .

The Chinese New Year is around the corner. Hereby, I wish West Bengal would further seize the opportunity of bilateral cooperation, and expand cooperation with China in the areas of economy, trade, investment, culture and education. I also wish substantial progress could be made in the building of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM), and make new contributions to the inter-connectivity of East Asia and South Asia.

Finally, I would like to propose a toast to the peace and prosperity of China and India, to the happiness and well-being of our peoples, and to the everlasting friendship between our two countries.

Thank you!

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