Mr. Hakim Hajim, Chairman, Rawalpindi Overseas Chinese Association
Mr. Nasir Khan, President, Rawalpindi Overseas Chinese Association
Mr. Abdul Hakeem Majeed, Secretary, Gilgit Baltistan Overseas Chinese Association
Good evening and Assalam-o-Alaikum.
It is a great pleasure for me to host a dinner for all my friends and brothers who are in Rawalpindi as well as in Gilgit to celebrate the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha. This is the first time for us to host a dinner for our friends to celebrate this festival in the new Embassy.
First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy and all my colleagues here, I would like to extend our warmest welcome to all of you to this new compound of Chinese Embassy. As you know this is the largest compound among the Chinese Embassies in the world. It was accomplished in February this year and inaugurated on June 16. It is another symbol of China-Pakistan friendship.
Secondly, I would like to congratulate you all for the coming Eid festival. I know this festival means unity, solidarity, harmony, happiness and prosperity to all Muslims. So I wish all of you enjoy a very happy, harmonious, peaceful and prosperous life.
Thirdly, let me say that China-Pakistan relationship enjoys lots of progress and development in recent years, especially in April this year when Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping made a very successful visit to Pakistan. We have reached a lot of consensus on mutual cooperation and the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. We are collaborating and coordinating in all the fields like politics, economic, trade, cultural, science and technology, defense, security and people to people contact. This is all-round cooperation between China and Pakistan. It is now in a full momentum to move ahead so that I always say China-Pakistan relationship has entered into a golden era. With the development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC), the two countries will become even closer.
Recently, I went to Gilgit and Hunza together with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. We inaugurated the bypass project of Karakorum highway near Attabad Lake in Hunza. This is another milestone of our cooperation. The bypass project includes 5 tunnels and all together 24 kilometers long. Since 2010, the Attabad lake had blocked the Karakorum Highway. The trucks from Xinjiang had to stop at the bank of this lake and then took a ferry boat to go across the lake. From now on, there is no block or barrier on the Karakorum Highway, which means you can drive directly from Khunjerab to Gilgit within 5 to 6 hours. I think this is a good example of bilateral cooperation. This project was built by a Chinese company called China Road and Bridge Company. China will complete more projects like this in future for CPEC, which will bring huge opportunities of economic development to all the parts of Pakistan as well as to the region.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say that China is enjoying very rapid growth rate in recent years. Now China is the second-largest economy in the world and also the biggest investor in Pakistan. As you know, Xinjiang is enjoying even faster growth with the GDP growth rate of 10% in 2014. One month ago, I visited Urumqi, Karamay, Yili and many other cities in Xinjiang. Wherever I went, I found that the local economies develop so rapidly, as we have already seen in the eastern part of China. The buildings are growing just like bamboo shoots, and you can see construction is going on everywhere. People over there are so enthusiastic for economic growth that you could imagine that they will live in a better life in the near future. I am sure Pakistan and our friends here will definitely benefit from such rapid growth of the development of Xinjiang.
We say the word “country” in two Chinese characters, that is “Guo Jia”. You could hear two words, Guo and Jia. Guo means a Nation and Jia means a home, a family or a piece of homeland. We combine the two words to give the meaning of country, and that means if you are talking about a nation you must talk about a home as well. A nation is like a family and we are members of this big family. That means if the small family wants to enjoy prosperity, we must make the whole nation prosperous. If the nation is getting stronger, the individual home or family will also enjoy the best. That is the meaning of Guo and Jia, they are combined with each other that you can never separate. So my friends, you are here and you are members of the big family called Pakistan. I think you are very proud of that. We do hope that you can make great contribution to this nation Pakistan from every individual home. There is also a homeland of China at your back, which is your second home. So we will also look forward to your contribution to China-Pakistan friendship, and that will bring your two homes even closer. With the development of China as well as China-Pakistan friendship, all the friends present here will enjoy a better life.
I would like to take this opportunity to say few words about the support for the Overseas Chinese Associations from the Chinese Embassy in future. We will continuously work for all the friends here or who are not here as we did in past. We will do more to overcome your difficulties. Please allow me to announce something tonight. Firstly, we would like to invite some Chinese Language teachers from the Associations to go for training in China. Secondly, we will provide more chances for overseas Chinese youth to visit China for summer camp next year. Thirdly, we will provide additional scholarships for the overseas students to go to China for language study. Fourthly, we will continue to provide support for the two associations and to help the poor members of these associations. Fifthly, we will continue to facilitate you to go to China espacially to Xinjiang. The door of Xinjiang are always open to our friends.
At last, I sincerely hope all of you have a very happy Eid festival.
Thank you and Eid Mubarak!