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Remarks by Ambassador Luo Zhaohui at Reception Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Canada

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,

The Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's a beautiful day today. I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and so many friends here to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada.

Today's event reminds us of a great statesman, the late Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, one of the founders of diplomatic ties between our two countries. With his strategic vision and political courage, he made historic contribution to our relations.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Foreign Minister and all our friends for your consistent support to a stronger relationship between China and Canada.

I want to thank my colleagues from Global Affairs Canada and the Chinese Embassy for your great efforts which have made today's event possible. I also want to thank China CEFC for their generous sponsorship.

Forty-five years may be a brief moment in human history, but they represent one giant leap for our relations.

Every photo on display today tells us how remarkable the progress of our relations has been.

Now more than 3,000 people travel to and from China and Canada every day. But 45 years ago, the annual figure was a mere 3,000.

Our two-way trade volume reached 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. But 45 years ago, the volume was only 150 million U.S. dollars.

What have we learnt from the 45 years of our diplomatic relations?

I think our bilateral relations have been supported by four pillars: great leadership, growing trade and economic cooperation, close cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and the efforts to accommodate each other's concerns.

Having gone through an extraordinary journey in the past 45 years, our relations are embarking on a sunny path.

A new start has been made since the new Canadian government took office. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of G-20 summit in Turkey. The two leaders reached a broad consensus and charted the way forward for growing China-Canada relations.

To implement our leaders' consensus and advance our relations, I would like to share with you my thoughts on what we should do next.

First, it is important to identify and create new areas and new bright spots in our practical cooperation.

We can develop and maximise synergies between China's initiative of the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road and Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

We can start the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement, and expand cooperation in clean energy, infrastructure development, finance and agriculture.

We can deepen people-to-people exchanges in sports, tourism and culture.

We can enhance coordination and cooperation on regional and global issues, such as climate change, UN reform, at the United Nations, G-20, APEC and other multilateral mechanisms.

Second, it is important to change our way of thinking. One does not need to be too sensitive to any issue related to China. It is true that we have some differences, but such differences could be managed properly.

It is also important to foster a public opinion favourable to the development of our relations. We should strengthen communication with media and focus on cooperation, to let people feel and share the benefits of cooperation.

Third, it is important to have a better understanding of China. A growing China is an opportunity for Canada and the rest of the world.

Last year China's economy grew at 6.9 per cent. China's middle-income population is over 100 million. The process of urbanisation is creating a huge domestic demand for economic development.

For most Chinese, the first thing that comes to their mind when they wake up is to make more money and make life better. The Chinese dream is a dream of the people for a more prosperous life.

Dear friends,

Canada had been a forerunner among Western nations in developing relations with China. We need to walk the walk instead of talking the talk, and make our relations come back as a forerunner again.

Mr. Prime Minister, your presence today sends a positive signal to the Chinese people. As you may know, you have a lot of fans in China. Chinese leaders and people look forward to welcoming you in China. A Chinese leader will also come to visit Canada.

I am hopeful and confident that with our joint efforts, China-Canada relations will grow stronger in the Year of the Monkey and have a brighter future.

Thank you.

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