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Speech at Reception Banquet by Chen Laiping

2007-04-29

Your Excellency Under Secretary Francisco L. Benedicto

Hon. Governor Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.,

Hon. Michael V. Farinas,

Madam Imelda,

Other distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends

Today, we enjoy our wonderful time in Laoag city and the municipality of San Nicolas as we hold and witness the opening ceremony of the consulate of the People's Republic of China in Laoag. This afternoon, the Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Philippines, His Excellency Li Jinjun has declared the official opening of the Consulate. On this delightful occasion, I am greatly honored and excited, as the first Consul & Head of Mission, to work in Laoag, a key place in Northwest Luzon.

At the outset, please allow me to express my heartfelt appreciation and sincere respects to all officials from central and local governments of the Philippines, overseas Chinese or Filipino-Chinese and friends from other circles for their valuable supports and beneficial assistance during the preparation of the establishment of the consulate. I also wish to extend my warm welcome and wholehearted gratitude to all of you for your presence today at the opening ceremony. Moreover, special thanks must be conveyed to friends from Filipino-Chinese community and Fort Ilocandia Resort for their meticulous and thoughtful arrangements and their endeavors for the opening ceremony.

Last January, my colleagues and I arrived in your great country and Laoag city, which is famous for its picturesque landscape. Immediately upon our arrival, we were warmly welcomed by local people. During the preparation for the establishment of the consulate in the past several months, we received special care and assistance from various government offices of Ilocos Norte, Laoag City, Municipality of San Nicolas and others. We highly appreciate these. In addition, we have also been deeply impressed by the local people for their hospitality, kindness and friendship, which will linger lifelong in my mind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors, and the peoples of the two countries enjoy a tradition of friendly exchange which has lasted for a long time, dating back to Chinese's Tang Dynasty and even earlier. In recent years, Sino-Philippine relations have been gradually developing. The high-level exchanges and contacts have been maintained frequently, the mutual trust in politics has been obviously enhanced. The economic and trade cooperation has been increasingly expanded and the cultural and people-to-people exchanges are also growing day by day. The mutual relationship has entered a golden era of all-round development. Noteworthy to mention is a part of the joint statement issued by China and the Philippines in April 2005, which states as follows: to strengthen links between southern China and northern Luzon---both sides acknowledge to gradually develop economic and trade ties and to give support to exchanges between businessmen and people. In this statement, the Philippines welcome the opening of a Chinese Consulate in Laoag, which is taken as a positive step towards the attainment of the above-mentioned co-operation.

The consular district of this Consulate covers Regions 1, 2 and the Cordillera Administrative Region, totaling 15 provinces. Facing China across the sea, the three administrative regions are endowed with abundant natural resources and advantageous geological location. Province of Ilocos Norte, Laoag City and Banguio City in the Province of Benguet within the consular district have all established relationship of sister provinces or sister cities with Shangdong Province, Laibin City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Hangzhou City of Zhejiang Province in China respectively. The three administrative regions are also nationwide-renowned belts featured by profound basis of agriculture and fishery, developed infrastructure of tourism, long history and colourful cultures, hard-working and industriousness of their people.

This Consulate, my colleagues and myself will try our utmost and serve as bridge between the two sides so as to deeply tighten links with all provinces within its consular district, to further promote the Sino-Philippine friendly relations, to actively enhance mutual understanding and friendship of our two peoples, to push forward the cooperative relations between China and Northern Luzon in the fields of agriculture, economy, trade, commerce and tourism etc. and to facilitate business and people exchanges. We have sufficient reasons to believe that the future cooperation between China and Northern Luzon do enjoy potential and bright prospects. We are fully convinced that through concerted efforts this cooperation is bound to yield fruitful results on the basis of mutual benefits, which will surely do good for peoples of our two countries.

Distinguished guests, please allow me to take this opportunity to introduce other consular officers of this Consulate: Mr. Zheng Xin, born in 1979 in Fujian Province, Consular Attache and his wife Jiang Ying; Mr. Yu Shuang, born in 1983 in Jiangsu Province, also Consular Attache.

In conclusion, may I propose a toast,

To the good-neighborly friendship between China and the Philippines,

To the bright future and prosperity of all provinces in the consular district,

To the health of all guests,

Cheers.

Thank you.

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