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June 4, 2006 - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Secretary of State Morales,
Secretary General Insulza,
Deputy Secretary General Ramdin,
Heads of Delegations and Missions,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to come to the beautiful city of Santo Domingo for the 36th Annual General Assembly of OAS. Let me begin by congratulating the Dominican Republic on hosting this year’s General Assembly and wish it a complete success.

Despite the vast ocean separating us, China and the countries of the Americas are increasingly closer to each other thanks to concerted efforts of both sides that have led to continuous progress in our relations in recent years. Politically, we are having more and more exchanges and dialogues, and making progress in enhancing mutual understanding and in coordinating our positions. China has established dialogue mechanisms with the regional groups such as the Rio Group, CAN and MERCOSUR, and countries such as the Caribbean countries, Canada and the United States. Economically, China has become an important trading partner of the countries of the Americas. The two-way investment and economic cooperation between us have also made continuous headway. In peace keeping, China has sent riot police units to Haiti at the request of the UN Security Council to execute the UN Peace Keeping mission and maintain stability there hand in hand with the countries of the Americas. It is proven by practice that ours is a win-win relationship. China is ready to continue to develop and promote the friendly relations and cooperation with North American, Latin American and the Caribbean countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to OAS, the most important international organization in this part of the world. Since becoming a Permanent Observer two years ago, China has worked tireless together with the OAS Member States and Secretariat to increase cooperation and promote relationship. After the signing of the Agreement on China-OAS Cooperation Fund last year, China immediately donated 200,000 U.S. dollars to give the cooperation between us a good start. With this donation, China sponsored the First Meeting of American Spokespersons, the Lecture Series of the Americas, the Conference on Illegal Trafficking in Firearms, the Andean Women Training Project, the renovation of the Art Museum of the Americas and the launching of the magazine Americas. These projects covered a wide range of fields, from democracy building and information to security and social undertaking.

This year, China is going to donate another 200,000 U.S. dollars to the projects urgently needed by the OAS Secretariat and the Member States. Right now, three projects with a total cost of 100,000 dollars have been agreed upon between our two sides, namely, training for Central American women, disaster mitigation and control in Central America and the Caribbean, and promotion of trade facilitation. Here, I am pleased to announce that the Chinese Government has decided to pledge 50,000 dollars to sponsor the Second Meeting of American Spokespersons.

In addition to the Cooperation Fund, China is also working through the OAS to provide four Chinese language learning scholarships to OAS Members every year. With the assistance of the OAS Secretariat and the various Member States, a group of students of high caliber either have gone to China for studies or will be going there very soon. Based on assessment of this project, China will consider increasing the number of scholarships and hopes that the various sides will continue to lend their strong support.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China’s cooperation with the OAS is open to all the OAS Member States. Such cooperation benefits not only the countries having diplomatic relations with China, but also those yet to establish diplomatic relations with China. I am confident that with the concerted efforts of both our two sides, China-OAS cooperation will surely bear abundant fruit.

China wishes to take this opportunity to once again express appreciation to the OAS and the majority of its Member States for your adherence to the one China principle and your contribution to the territorial integrity of China. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is a part of China. This is a universal recognition of the international community. Achieving reunification of the Mainland and Taiwan is the common aspiration of all the Chinese people. It is an irresistible trend of times. I hope that more friends will come to support China’s reunification efforts and build an even more solid foundation for closer cooperation between our two sides.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As an ancient Chinese poem goes,

“Near by or far apart,
True friends are close at heart.”

So long as we join hands, the friendship between China and the OAS and its Member States will continue to grow stronger, and our cooperation will make greater progress. In conclusion, I wish to again congratulate on the successful convocation of the OAS Annual General Assembly.

Thank you.