Ambassador Li's Speech on the 10th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Commonwealth of Dominica

H.E. Charles Angelo Savarin, President of the Commonwealth of Dominica, and Mrs. Savarin,

Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Skerrit,

Hon. Alix Boyd-Knights, Speaker of the House of Assembly,

H.E. Dr. Nicolas Liverpool and Mrs. Liverpool,

H.E. Eliud Williams and Mrs. Williams,

Hon. Ministers of the Cabinet,

Hon. Parliament Representatives,

Members of the diplomatic corps,

Members of the media,

My fellow Chinese friends,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today I am honored to be with you here in this magnificent hall to jointly commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Ten years ago tomorrow, the 23rd of March, 2004, our two countries made a decision, a decision that set our relationship on a new journey, a new journey that has built a strong friendship between two nations, although we are vastly different and far apart, a new journey that has opened door to wide range of exchanges and cooperation, a new journey that has brought tangible benefits to our two countries and peoples, a new journey that's both steady and quick-paced, that can be seen with good reason as 10 times longer and maturer.

Allow me to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who have cared for, nurtured and supported this relationship over the past ten years. Thank you all very much.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Frequent high level visits and meetings between leaders enhance understanding, build trust, help form shared vision and chart course for the future of the relationship. From the Chinese side, the Vice-Chairman and Vice-Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress have visited Dominica. On the Dominican side, the President, Prime Minister and Speaker of the house of Assembly have visited China. (I'v left out ministerial visits all together, sorry to the Hon. Ministers present.) But allow me to point out one thing, last year, in a period of a month and half, the Hon. R. Skerrit met with President Xi and Premier Li, on separate occasions.

Wide ranging pragmatic cooperation and mutual support between our two countries strengthen mutual trust in the relationship, and bring tangible benefits to social economic development. Over the past 10 years, fruitful cooperation ranged from infrastructure, agriculture to health and more. A couple of weeks ago, I attended the first Spring Commencement Ceremony at the State College. The College President announced that while a few years back it had problems enrolling students, now it has expanded enrollment and will continue to do so. Greater and better educational opportunities afforded by the new facilities can play an important role in the future development here and in the region. At the same time, we highly appreciate the firm commitment by the government of Dominica to the One-China policy. We highly value the mutual understanding and support between our two countries in international and regional affairs.

People-to-people exchanges have increased rapidly, especially in the area of education and human resource development. Ten years ago we knew very little of each other. Now I have met people who spoke fluent Chinese at this year's Carnival. St. John's Academy in Portsmouth added Chinese to its current language programs last year. The Orion Academy is planning to do so. Each year 10 young people here go to China to pursue tertiary education on full government scholarships. Series of seminars and workshops in China welcome professionals and decision-makers from all around the world, including Dominica, each year, to discuss matters of interest with experts and exchange views. At the same time, more and more Chinese get to know about Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean, from internet and media reports, including some info posted by this Embassy's staff. We can expect that more and more of them will want to come here as tourists to see for themselves.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today we mark an important milestone in the bilateral relationship. We have a lot to celebrate and reflect upon looking forward. We learn from the experiences of the past and use them as guide for the future. In my view the basis of the our success has been built on a few principles both of us hold dear to, including mutual respect for each other's sovereignty, independence, equality and mutual benefit as well as mutual understanding and support.

Today we also mark a point in history of our bilateral relations as a new beginning, the beginning of the 2nd decade and beyond. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the China-Dominica relations and would like to join hands with the Dominican side in pursuing greater development of our bilateral relationship. My colleagues and I at the Embassy would like to work with you closely to deepen our friendship and mutual trust, enhance mutual understanding, and expand pragmatic cooperation in the months and years to come.

(Now, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to propose a toast,

To the prosperity of our two countries, and happiness of our two peoples,

To the ever-lasting friendship between China and Dominica,

To the good health of all present this evening,


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