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Remarks by Consul General Zhang Ping at the Farewell Reception
2022-12-15 22:15

Time flies. It has been five years since I came to Los Angeles. Now, it is time to say goodbye.

I clearly remember that five years ago on December 13, at exactly the same place, I hosted the reception for my assumption of office as Consul General, and I was accorded with the warm welcome by Angelenos. I felt the warmth and hospitality of the City of Angels. Today, five years later, I can still feel that warmth. What is different this time is that along with this feeling of warmth, there is also a mixed emotion of profound gratitude for your sincere friendship, which makes it difficult for me to say goodbye.

In the past five years, my wife and I visited many places in our consular district. We paid visits to state and municipal government institutions and legislatures, enterprises and farms, universities and think tanks, cultural institutions and media outlets, friendship groups and Chinese communities and organizations. We engaged in in-depth exchanges with local officials, business leaders, experts and scholars, media reporters, Chinese community leaders, students, enterprise employees and the general public.

We attended all sorts of events, ranging from economic and trade forums to film and television forums, from food festivals to the Chinese American Film/TV Festival, from holiday celebrations to anniversary commemorations, from the Golden Dragon Parade to the Rose Parade and the Hollywood Christmas Parade, from Panda Diplomacy to Ping Pong Diplomacy, from commemorating Flying Tigers to promoting youth exchanges, just to name a few. We were also amazed and impressed by many big events such as the National Day and Spring Festival celebrations held by the Chinese community groups. Their grand scales and magnificent performances demonstrated the cohesion and unity of the communities and their extraordinary ability in event organizing. These engagements and interactions deepened our understanding of American society and enabled us to experience the diversity and vitality of American society, and the goodwill of the American people. They also helped us to gain a better knowledge of the breadth and depth of the China-US sub-national exchanges and cooperation. More importantly, they let us to make a lot of friends and develop intimate friendship. We feel keen that there still exists a profound friendship between our two peoples and there is a sincere and strong aspiration from people of different walks of life to see a better China-US relationship.

Over the past five years, China-US relations have gone through a tough time, encountering the most serious difficulties since the establishment of our diplomatic ties. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted upon our economy and society and posed serious threats to people’s lives. We will never forget that during those though times, many individuals and friendly groups have expressed their unwavering support for China-US relations and made tremendous efforts to promote China-US friendship and deepen sub-national exchanges and cooperation. We will never forget, at the critical moment when Chinese people were fighting hard against the pandemic, many of our friends extended their helping hands to the Chinese people. The beautiful melody of the music, Love of the Angels, written and performed by the young musicians of Los Angeles still lingers in my mind. The scenes that the Chinese communities, students and enterprise employees rushed to donate money and medical supplies to the motherland still move me. We will never forget the significant contribution that overseas Chinese have made to promoting Chinese culture, supporting national reunification, deepening China-US friendship and strengthening sub-national cooperation. Your sincere friendship warmed our hearts and your care and support for the China-US relationship inspired us, motivating us to work harder and bolstering our confidence in the prospects of China-US relations.

China-US relationship has now come to a critical juncture, faced with serious challenges. The current situation is neither in the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples, nor what the international community expects.

A month ago, President Xi Jinping and President Biden met in Bali, Indonesia. The two presidents reached a series of common understandings, which provides important strategic guidance to the development of our bilateral relations in the next stage. The meeting helped to ease the tension in the relationship and was conducive for the two major countries to manage differences properly and avoid misperceptions or fierce competition from veering into confrontation or conflict. It has played an important role in identifying the right direction for China-US relations. China-US relationship should not be a zero-sum game. China and the US should be friends and partners rather than rivals. We need cooperation rather than confrontation. This is the common aspiration of both Chinese and American people. Mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation is the right way for our two countries to get along with each other. This should also be the right direction for the development of our relationship.

China has accomplished its First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and has entered a new phase of development, embarking on a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects. The recent 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China set a great vision for China’s future development. China’s ultimate goal and strategic intention is clear and transparent, that is, to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization and to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life. China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, and strive to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China’s development will bring more opportunities to countries around the world including the United States.

Sub-national exchange and cooperation is the foundation of China-US relationship. Our consular district, especially southern California, has very close ties with China. There are many favorable conditions and unique advantages for us to strengthen such ties. The potential is great and the prospect is bright. We must uphold the spirit of friendship, maintain the good momentum of sub-national exchange and cooperation and continue to expand and deepen such relations to bring more benefits to our people. We need to make unremitting efforts to bring China-US relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.

Life has been busy and fulfilling for me over the past five years. It is an unforgettable experience. Standing here, my heart is filled with gratitude. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartiest thanks to the state, county and city government and legislatures in our consular district, the business community, academic and cultural institutions, friendship associations, media and Chinese community groups for their invaluable support for the work of mine and that of the Consulate and for their endeavors and contributions to China-US relations and sub-national cooperation. Thank you, our friends, for your hospitality and friendship. I will forever cherish the friendship that we have forged over the years. Thank you, my colleagues, for your hard work.

I know what I have done over the past five years is far from enough and may fall short of your expectation. I am sure my successor will do a better job. I hope our friends will give my successor your continued support and assistance. I believe, with concerted efforts, the China-US sub-national exchange and cooperation will embrace a more promising future.

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