Your Excellency Li Yuanchao, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, Your Excellency Chen Hao, Governor of the Yunnan Province, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is my pleasure to be here in picturesque Kunming – the Spring City, and China’s staging point for its ever-expanding travel and trade links with its South Asian and South East Asian neighbours and friends.
I thank Governor Li, who visited the Maldives recently, for inviting me to the inauguration of this year’s Fair, Expo and Business Forum. I am pleased to be given this opportunity to interact with so many corporate officials, traders, entrepreneurs and strategists whose are shaping the future of commercial ties between China and South Asia.
The China-South Asia Expo and its forerunner the Commodities Exhibition of South Asian Countries has served, over the years,to boost mutually beneficial cooperation between China and its South Asian neighbours. This year, with a record number of participants, exhibitors and buyers, the Expo will, undoubtedly, break new ground in realising the shared vision of economic transformation through enhanced trade, win-win cooperation in commerce, knowledge and technology sharing, and strengthened bilateral ties between China and all its neighbours and friends in South Asia, including my own country.
I am pleased to confirm that, in keeping with the rapid annual expansion of the China-South Asia Expo and its continued importance, the Maldives is represented at this 3rd Expo by major state-owned enterprises and a diversity of private businesses.
 Speaking in October 2013 on China’s Neighbourhood Diplomacy policy, President Xi Jinping said, and I quote:
“When dealing with neighbouring countries and related issues, we need a multi-dimensional perspective that extends beyond the immediate confines of time and space. Reviewing the situation, we can see that great changes have taken place in the general environment and in relationships with our neighbours. Our economic and trade ties with neighbouring countries are closer, with unprecedented levels of exchange between them and us.” End of quote.
China’s diplomacy with neighbouring countries is characterised by friendship, sincerity, reciprocity and inclusiveness, and President Xi has so eloquently confirmed this visionary policy in this and many other related remarks here in China and during his recent travels to South Asia, which included the Maldives.
Before proceeding further, may I extend heartfelt greetings and good wishes to President Xi Jinping, who celebrates his birthday on Monday.
My people had the honour and pleasure of welcoming President Xi and Madam Peng to the Maldives last year. The historic State Visit served to strengthen China-Maldives relations, and left lasting memories of happiness and friendship. My people join me in wishing President Xi a very happy birthday!
South Asia accounts for a quarter of the world’s population.
The region consists of over 2000 ethnic entities and a multitude of languages and faiths.
China, with approximately 1.4 billion people, is of course the world’s most populous country. It is the second largest country by size. It is also today the world’s largest economy, the largest exporter and second largest importer. China has 56 ethnic groups, 292 living languages and a multitude of religious beliefs.
These collective statistics make evident the limitless potential of enhanced development cooperation, as well as trade and investment ties between China and South Asia. The bold cooperation initiatives of recent months have coincided with dynamic leadership both here in China and across South Asia. South Asia is today blessed with governments with experience and drive to ensure that our region can and will fulfil its true potential.
I am a firm believer that trade and commerce lays at the very heart of economic prosperity, political stability and social harmony. Strategic partnerships between South Asia and China are not just “win-win” solutions; they are, in actual fact, what I call “win-win-win” solutions. China’s stated policies including the Two Centenary Goals, South Asia’s dream of becoming a global bloc of influence in commerce, as well as international goals for future prosperity,including the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals could all be achieved through good diplomacy and development cooperation between and among us.
I am confident that the China-South Asia Expo and the Kunming Import Export Commodities Fair will contribute towards the collective efforts underway to construct of the 21st Century Maritime Economic Silk Route.
After all, Yunnan Province was, to our South Asian forefathers, the most important Chinese region of trade and commodity exchanges on the Ancient Silk Road.
The annual Kunming Expo and Fair serve as important platforms for buyers and sellers, while showcasing the range of products and services that would form the bulk of import-export volume between China and our region.
I commend the Provincial Administration of Yunnan and MOFCOM for hosting these annual calendar events that promote China-South Asia cooperation.
The recurrent theme and message of good will that President Xi brought to the South Asian people during his recent visits charts the course for a future of prosperity and mutual respect.
President Xi emphasised that a peaceful, stable and prosperous South Asia conforms to China’s interests, and that China is willing to align its development strategies with those of South Asian countries to achieve mutually beneficial development and common prosperity.
Today, at this remarkable gathering, we see the Chinese administration implementing President Xi’s policy statement on South Asia.
I am hopeful that the future holds “win-win-win” solutions for us all. Asia’s true potential can, indeed, be realised. We have begun working in partnership towards the building of Asia’s future. The resurrection of the Belt and Road will serve as the foundation, while economics and commerce hold up the supporting columns of this Asian megastructure. Together, we can shape the destiny of nearly half of the world’s population.
Thank you Excellency!