Your Excellency President U Win Myint,
Your Excellency State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mingalaba! (Nice to meet you!)
This is the start of the new year. Myanmar has just celebrated its Independence Day and China will soon have its Spring Festival. It warms my heart to visit Myanmar at such an auspicious time and join all of you in this delightful gathering tonight. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, let me first extend our best regards and new year greetings to people from across sectors in Myanmar.
Just now, we have heard the warm and gracious remarks from President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In a moment, we will jointly launch celebrations for the 70th anniversary of China-Myanmar diplomatic relations and for the China-Myanmar Year of Culture and Tourism. This is an important landmark in the long history of our friendly exchanges, one that will be celebrated with great festivity by our two peoples. I am truly delighted to join you in witnessing this historic moment.
China and Myanmar are neighbors connected by shared mountains and rivers, and our people have enjoyed friendly ties for thousands of years. About 2,000 years ago during China's Qin and Han Dynasties, the two sides traded with each other along the southern Silk Road. At the heyday of the Tang Dynasty in the early 9th century, the Prince of Pyu led a dancing and music troupe to China and became an emissary of China-Myanmar friendship. In the last century, the two sides fought shoulder to shoulder against colonialism and imperialism. These examples reflect the profound friendship between us and testify to our great tradition of sharing weal and woe.
Both Chinese and Myanmar cultures cherish the belief in a "shared bond". Our two countries are geographically linked, our peoples are connected by kinship and our cultures enjoy a natural affinity. Our millennia-old, time-tested "pauk-phaw" friendship is as strong as ever; it is the driving force and source of strength behind China-Myanmar relations. By celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties, the two sides may increase mutual learning as civilizations, expand people-to-people exchanges, and deliver solid results and real benefits to our peoples. This will engage more people in China and Myanmar who will become stakeholders, beneficiaries and supporters of China-Myanmar friendship, thus cementing public support for our friendly ties.
Culture and people make a country known to the world. My last visit to Myanmar was 11 years ago. The renowned Golden Pagoda in Yangon, the warmth and hospitality of the people, and the diverse cultures and customs all left me a fond memory. Coming back this time, I see that Nay Pyi Taw is as tranquil and serene, and is just as vibrant a city. With the launch of the China-Myanmar Year of Culture and Tourism, I am sure more and more Chinese will come to Myanmar and be amazed by the beauty of this millennia-old civilization.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
History moves on and takes us forward. To advance China-Myanmar relations in the new era, we need to build on past achievements, stay true to our shared ideals and blaze a new trail together. President U Win Myint and I have agreed that my visit shall mark the start of our joint endeavor to build a China-Myanmar community with a shared future. This important political consensus speaks volumes about the special bond between China and Myanmar, a bond as close as between lips and teeth. It gives vivid expression to the fraternal friendship between our peoples who have supported each other through thick and thin, and draws up a new and overarching blueprint for future growth of bilateral ties.
The year 2020 is of great significance for China, for Myanmar and for our relations. This year, China will become a moderately prosperous society in all respects and win victory over the battle against poverty; Myanmar will hold a general election and enter a new phase of national development. This year also marks the beginning of a new era for China-Myanmar relations. Guided by the shared vision of a China-Myanmar community with a shared future and by the fundamental interests of our peoples, we must pursue stronger political trust, broader practical cooperation and closer cultural exchanges, so that the two peoples will forever be good neighbors, good friends, good pauk-phaw and good partners.
A few moments ago, I watched a photo exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of China-Myanmar diplomatic relations. I was particularly struck by a photo of Premier Zhou Enlai visiting Myanmar from June 28 to 29 in 1954. In that visit to Myanmar and India, China and the two countries issued joint statements to initiate the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. These Five Principles have made a major contribution to the history of international relations.
The world today is undergoing deep changes not seen in a century. Countries are closely linked and are increasingly becoming a community with a shared future. Yet, the lack of equality and justice is still prominent in international relations. To safeguard world peace and promote common development remains a challenging goal. Under new circumstances, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are more relevant than ever before. China and Myanmar, working together, can set an example for advocating and applying the Five Principles and be role models in the handling of state-to-state relations. Together, we can encourage all to join the efforts for building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the 1960s, Marshal Chen Yi, once China's foreign minister, wrote that "deep are the feelings of pauk-phaw, just as long is the flow of our rivers." I am convinced that with joint efforts, the tide of China-Myanmar friendship and cooperation for common development will surge forward, like the Lancang and the Irrawaddy, coming from the same origin and rushing past mountains and shoals, in unstoppable flows.
Let me conclude with a wish from the bottom of my heart -
Long live China-Myanmar friendship!