Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
At this time of golden autumn, we are gathered here to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you, our heartfelt thanks to friends from all walks of life who have been caring for and supporting the development of China-Sweden relations for a long time, and our sincere greetings and best wishes to overseas Chinese in Sweden!
Over the past 74 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have united as one and made continuous efforts to make development achievements that have attracted worldwide attention. Since socialism with Chinese characteristics entered the New Era, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core led the Chinese people in overcoming great difficulties and challenges and forging ahead bravely. We have once and for all resolved the problem of absolute poverty in China, finished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects as scheduled, embarked on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects. Today, China is the world's second largest economy, the largest manufacturing country, the largest trading country in goods, and has the largest foreign exchange reserve. Economic, technological and comprehensive strength has reached a new level. China’s GDP per capita has risen up from 53 US dollars at the early stage of the founding of the PRC to 12,700 US dollars in 2022. Average life expectancy has risen form 35 to 78 years. Last October, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully convened. An ambitious blueprint has been drawn for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, sounding a clarion call of the times for us forging ahead on a new journey.
At Present, global economic recovery and sustainable development face enormous challenges. Various factors have caused more instability, uncertainty and unpredictability in the international market. The Chinese economy has withstood the pressure, steadily recovered its scale and improved its quality. New industries, new business forms and new commercial models have generated new drivers of growth. Economic vitality continues to be unleashed. Economic performance has picked up on the whole. According to recent IMF projections, China’s economy will expand 5.2% this year and is expected to contribute one third of global growth, remaining a key engine to the global economy. China enjoys several distinct advantages: a system of socialist market economy, a supersize market in terms of demand, a full-fledged industrial system in terms of supply, and abundant, high-caliber labor force and entrepreneurs in terms of human resources. The Chinese economy has strong resilience, tremendous potential and great vitality. The fundamentals sustaining China’s long-term growth will remain unchanged. It will continue to be an important support for world economic development and provide more opportunities for the development of other countries.
As the largest developing country in the world, based on its own national conditions and practice, China draws wisdom from the Chinese civilization with a history of more than 5,000 years, and adheres to the path of peaceful development. While achieving its own development, China has injected more positive energy into world peace and brought more new opportunities for global development. In the face of profound changes unseen in a century, we have contributed China's proposals and wisdom, actively promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, putting forward the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and making unremitting efforts to build a community with a shared future for mankind in the "global village". We have shared China's experience and opportunities, enhancing development vitality with high-level opening-up resolution, contributing to a new round of global scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation with high-level scientific innovation, promoting the cause of international sustainable development with high-level green development path, and making new and greater contributions to the progress of human civilization. We have demonstrated China's responsibility and sense of duty, actively participating in the reform and development of the global governance system, upholding true multilateralism, promoting greater democracy in international relations, and working to make global governance fairer and more equitable.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends
Sweden was the first western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and the first country to sign a bilateral investment protection agreement with China after China's reform and opening-up. For a long time, friendly exchanges and practical cooperation between the two sides have brought tangible benefits to the two countries and two peoples. Over the past year, China-Sweden relations have maintained steady development with fruitful cooperation in various fields and renewed vitality in people-to-people exchanges.
Economically, China and Sweden continue to be each other's largest trading partner in Asia and the Nordic region, with bilateral trade volume reaching 9.69 billion US dollars in the first half of this year, maintaining overall balance and stability. Enterprises from both sides are enthusiastic about investment and cooperation. Chinese investment in Sweden has reached 410 million US dollars in the first half of this year, up 50.1% year-on-year. Sweden's investment in China has reached 390 million US dollars, maintaining a sound momentum of steady growth. In science and technology, the two sides have made continuous progress in science and innovation cooperation, achieved remarkable results in environmental protection, health, bio-medicine, information technology and other fields, and seen increasingly active scientific and technological exchanges at all levels. In terms of education, the number of Chinese students studying in Sweden has increased to more than 8,500, basically returning to the levels before the Covid-19. In the field of culture, we have held a series of traditional Chinese cultural experience activities, such as the Chinese Food Festival, Happy Chinese New Year 2023, Spring Tea Reception and Tea for Harmony Yaji Cultural Salon, being much favored by local people.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends
Although China and Sweden have their own characteristics in history, culture and social environment, the two sides share common interests in promoting global economic recovery and safeguarding world peace and stability. In the era of globalization when countries are increasingly interdependent, a longer and more comprehensive perspective and way of thinking are needed to view and handle bilateral relations. As China enters a new stage of high-quality development, the feature that the Chinese and Swedish economies are highly complementary will become more prominent, and there is huge potential for practical cooperation between the two sides in scientific and technological innovation, green and low carbon development, and digital economy. On the basis of equality and mutual benefit, China is willing to make joint efforts with Sweden to carry forward traditional friendship, enhance mutual trust, deepen our cooperation in various fields and our exchanges and mutual learning of civilizations, promote common development and prosperity of the two countries, and bring more benefits to the two peoples.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express special thanks to the art troupe from China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. They have travelled all the way from China and will present a song and dance performance "Ode to the Grassland", which contains rich Chinese characteristics and ethnic customs. We hope it’ll bring you the enjoyment of culture and art.
Let me conclude by wishing our great motherland thriving and prosperous! Continuous development of China-Sweden relations and a better life for the two peoples! Good health to all of you and success in all your endeavors!