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Speech by Consul General Zhang Ping at the Reception on Assumption of Office

Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to attend tonight's reception.

It gives great pleasure and honor to meet you here at this reception. First of all, I would like to extend my cordial greetings and best wishes to all the distinguished guests present here and, through you, to all the friends of different walks of life in the consular district of the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles. I also wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt sympathy to all those families who had to evacuate or lost their homes during the recent Southern California wildfire, and pay tribute to all the fire fighters who are still battling the ravaging wildfire on the front line.

As you may know, I used to work on the East Coast on two separate postings. I feel so privileged to be able to come back to the United States for a new leg of my career journey in this second largest metropolis of the United States, the City of Angel. Although LA is still very new to me, I have already felt the warmth and hospitality from the local government and people, including the Chinese community. Here I have also seen many scenes that I am familiar with, the shopping frenzy during the Thanksgiving holiday, the colorful Christmas lightings and decorations, the busy traffic on the city streets, which revive many fond memories of my time in New York City and Washington DC.

I can still recall those images of the hustles and bustles of NYC when I first came to the United States 25 years ago in 1992. Those images of the tall buildings, twinkling neon-lights, huge crowds and long lines of vehicle tail lights still remain vivid in my memory.

25 years later, similar kind of scene also appears in many of Chinese cities. China has undergone enormous changes. It has become the second largest economy in the world, contributing over 30 percent of the global economic growth. China's development has entered a new era. With the realization of the first Two Centenary Goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects coming in sight, China has embarked on a new journey toward the goal of fully building a modern socialist country.

It is just over the past 25 years that China-U.S. relations have achieved leap-forward progress. The development of the bilateral relationship is unprecedented both in breadth and depth. Two way trade and investments increased significantly. People to people ties remain close. Our mutual interests are getting more and more interwoven.

Last year, the bilateral commodity trade volume has amounted to 524 billion U.S. dollars. More American products are entering Chinese market. By the end of last year, the accumulated China's direct investments to the United States reached 109 billion USD, creating over 140 thousand jobs in the country. The number of people traveling between our two countries reached 5.32 million. Every 17 minutes, there is a flight flying between our two countries departing or arriving in each other's airports. More than 350 thousand Chinese students are studying in the United States. China-U.S. relations have become the most important bilateral relations in the world, having more and more global significance.

In recent years, with the robust development of China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation and people to people exchanges, relations between Southern California and China have become closer and closer. Nearly one third of the total bilateral trade volume goes through the Los Angeles Customs District. Over 600 Chinese companies, with over 10 billion U.S. dollars of investments, have started their operations in Southern California. Meanwhile, LA has also become one of the favorite destinations for Chinese tourists. Every week, more than 80 flights operate between LA and major Chinese cities, bringing over 1 million Chinese tourists to LA last year which contributed 1.2 billion U.S. dollars to the local economy.

At present, China-U.S. relationship is standing at a new historical starting point, facing new opportunities of development. The 19th CPC National Congress has drawn a grand blueprint for China's future development, reaffirming China's commitment to staying on the path of peaceful development and pursuing the strategy of mutually beneficial opening up. China's development will bring new opportunities to further cooperation between China and other countries, including the U.S.

LA is the economic center, transportation hub on the West Coast of the United States. It is also the gateway to China. It has a big Chinese community, which serves as a link and bridge between Southern California and China. The states of Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and some of the American overseas territories in the Pacific, which are in the consular district of our Consulate, also have their unique features and respective advantages in developing exchange and cooperation with China. To enhance various exchanges and cooperation between China and places in our consular district is of great significance for the development of China-U.S. relationship as a whole.

As the new Consul General, my mission is to put into practice President Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy of peace, development, cooperation and win-win and work for the consular district in accordance with the call of developing China-U.S. relations in the new era by strengthening China-U.S. sub-national practical exchanges and cooperation in order to serve the need for the overall bilateral relations. At the same time, we will make sure that those who need our consular service get adequate care and attention.

I am the 11th Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles. With the efforts by all the former Consul Generals, we have already built a solid foundation for the work of the consulate. During his term of office, my predecessor, Consul General Liu Jian, made broad connections with people in various circles of our consular district, and did an excellent job in promoting friendship and cooperation between China and our consular district. He has set the bar to a new height and left me with big shoes to fill. I hope I could, based on the solid foundation laid by my former colleagues, steadily push forward our work in order to live up to your expectation.

Before I conclude, I wish to thank you for your long time support and assistance to the work of our consulate, and hope that you will continue to do so in my term of office. I look forward to having more communication and engagement with you, and making joint efforts to further promote China-U.S. sub-national exchanges and cooperation, so as to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples, and push China-U.S. relations for a lasting, healthy and steady development.

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