Dear Bob Mcleod, Premier of the Northwest Territories,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s my first visit to the Northwest Territories. I would like to express my thanks for the kind hospitality and sound arrangements by the local governments and Bob, my respected friend. Just as Bob said, I indeed feel honored to be the first Ambassador of China to Canada who pays a solo official visit to your Territories.
The Northwest Territories is a God-blessed area, which be with many unique advantages. My wife and I have been deeply impressed by the stunning natural beauty, vast territory, colorful trees, sporadic rocks, abundant resources, good protection of the aboriginal culture and tradition. The unique aurora experience we enjoyed last night has been deeply imprinted in my mind. I knew the economy of the Northwest Territories grew 6.8% last year, which is much higher than the average level of the rest of Canada. This is really a successful story.
I first met Bob on the 55th Annual Premiers Conference held in Prince Edward Island last year. When Bob visited Ottawa in January this year, I had the privilege to host Bob a dinner in my official residence. I always enjoy talking with Bob, especially in terms of the development of relations between China and Canada, as well as the potential cooperation between China’s provinces and the Northwest Territories. Bob, you have visited China for five times, and made tremendous efforts to facilitate our mutual understanding and all-aspect’s exchanges and cooperation. Your hard work is fruitful, and is really appreciated by both countries and peoples. I sincerely invite you to visit China again.
This year marks the 45th Anniversary of China-Canada diplomatic relations and the 10th Anniversary of the China-Canada Strategic Partnership. Currently, the bilateral relationship is stable and going forward in a positive direction. Our interests are more closely connected and intertwined.
Last November, Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid his third fruitful visit to China, which characterized by the more than 20 consensus and agreements between our two leaderships. Our joint cooperative efforts following this visit have paid off: the first RMB Clearing Center of Northern America has been in full function in Toronto; the reciprocal 10 years valid visa is now well in place; the Beijing-Montreal direct flight will soon take off at the end of this month, and the Beijing-Calgary direct flight will hopefully start next year; Canadian cherry and beef are enjoying hot sale in Chinese market; the 2015-2016 China-Canada year of people-to-people and cultural exchanges has lifted its curtain; the second-track dialogues on FTA and the Environmentally Safe Maritime Energy Corridor are in positive progress. All above fruits has brought or will bring tangible benefits to our two countries and peoples.
Now, China has been the second largest economy and largest commodity trading nation. It’s estimated that, in 5 years, China will import over 10 trillion US dollar of goods, China’s outbound investment will increase by 500 billion US dollars, and the number of outbound Chinese tourists will exceed 500 million. These pose a great opportunity to Canada, especially the Northwest Territories. In order to seize it, I suggest our focus of cooperation could be emphasized on the following four areas:
First, strengthening tourism. With the middle class rises rapidly, traveling aboard is a growing fashion in China. Last year, there are more than 100 million outbound Chinese tourists, of which there are only 7 thousand Chinese tourists visiting NWT. We really should do more. Aurora, polar exploration and the Arctic landscape, unique in Northwest Territories, are attracting more and more Chinese people. We could join hands to further enhance our cooperation not only in marketing, but also in areas like tourism service and infrastructure building. Meanwhile, China opens arms to more and more Canadian tourists.
Secondly, expanding trade. China is the largest energy consumer, and the Northwest Territories is very rich of resources such as oil, LNG, renewable energy and various minerals, most notably, diamond. Our complimentary areas are significant and wide. China’s huge market could be an ideal destination of the Northwest Territories’ exports.
Thirdly, enhancing investment. There are sound bases of Chinese investments in the Northwest Territories. China CAMC Engineering Co., China Minmetals Co., Yunnan Chihong Zinc&Germanium are the pioneers in the investment area. But there are still huge potential to call us to do more. Mr. Bob told me that the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway, which will make Canada a real Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast nation, is under quick construction. And the blueprint of a deep sea port at Tuktoyaktuk has been in mind of Speaker Mr. Jackie Jacobson. Both could be the important parts of the China-Canada Maritime Energy Corridor. As soon as the above construction completed, the Chinese investors will save and earn more for convenient transportation infrastructure. And also, I think the infrastructure area will be a new hot investment area for Chinese entrepreneurs. The Chinese side also warmly welcomes the Northwest Territories’ investment.
Fourth, closing people to people exchange. Today I visited your Aurora College here. The Chinese side would like to provide some scholarships to local students who are willing to study in China, either for the tourist, history or language. We could continue to explore the possibilities of establishing sister provinces and cities between China and the Northwest Territories. I believe the 500 hard-working Chinese immigrants living in the Northwest Territories could play a role of golden bridge, contributing to the enduring friendship between our two peoples.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Both China and Canada are great countries. The Chinese side has been attaching importance to the China-Canada relationship. As we all know, the federal and Territories’ election are approaching. No matter what outcomes, China will always spare no effort to promote the relations and cooperation between China and Canada as well as the Northwest Territories. We are fully confident of the well-being and bright future of China-Canada strategic partnership.