Published On: Fri, Jan 17th, 2014

Official Opening Of The First Consulate General Of The People’s Republic Of China In Curaçao

Address by his Excellency Mr. Ivar Asjes, Prime Minister of Curaçao on the occasion of the official opening of the first Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Curaçao and the celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival.

WILLEMSTAD -- Good evening.

Tonight we are gathered here on a very special occasion.

China ConsulateIn addition to celebrating the opening of the first official representation of the People’s Republic of China in Curaçao, tonight we are also celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year.  This is an important and traditional Chinese holiday dating back more than 4000 years.  It is a time to celebrate with family and friends and to wish for prosperity, abundance and richness.

I am honored to have the opportunity to experience and celebrate such an important occasion with the Chinese community of Curaçao and other guests and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a healthy, peaceful and inspiring 2014.

It is with great pleasure that I officially, on behalf of the government and people of Curaçao, welcome the first Consul General of the People’s Republic of China to Curaçao, Mrs. Chen Qiman.  I also would like to welcome Consul Zhang, Consul Xue and the rest of the staff of the Chinese Consulate General to our island.

As the People’s Republic of China is a major player on the global scene and one of the world’s largest economies both in terms of manufacturing and trade we are delighted that its government has seen the merit of having an official presence in our country. The Chinese government’s decision to formalize its relationship with Curaçao is therefore further proof of the vast opportunities present here.

As you all know in its Coalition agreement of 12 December 2012, entitled “Akuerdo pa un Gobernashon enfoká riba pas, trankilidat i prosperidat’, this government has committed itself to work towards the realization of close and lasting bilateral ties with friendly nations. In that sense also the establishment of the Chinese Consulate General in Curaçao can be viewed as the fulfillment of one of the policy objectives of my Government.
Ladies and gentlemen,

The first Chinese nationals came to our island some 100 years ago among other things as cooks on board of oil tankers of the Curaçao Petroleum Industrie Maatschappij, the subsidiary of Shell International, that started the refinery in Curaçao.

They were actually on their way to Venezuela but liked our island and decided to stay. They opened the first laundries in Curaçao and later diversified their economic activities by opening restaurants and a hotel thereby becoming one of the first entrepreneurs in the hospitality sector on our island. Today Chinese entrepreneurs dominate the retail food sector and as owners of small and medium-sized enterprises contribute to the economic development of Curaçao.

The bilateral cooperation between China and Curaçao offers a host of possibilities. Tourism, trade, logistics, education and culture and the energy sector are some of the areas in which our two countries can work together and create mutually beneficial outcomes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have just entered into a new year. Again we as a collectivity have the opportunity to continue to build a solid future for our country. The task may seem daunting but with a positive attitude and a grateful spirit we will be able to build a society in which equal opportunity for growth and development will be open to all.

In closing in I wish each and everyone of you “Gōngxǐ fācái”, which is Mandarin for “Happiness and prosperity”. “Xiexie”, I thank you.

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