Comrades, friends, ladies and gentlemen, Greetings to you all! Time flies and we will soon welcome 2018. Here, I would like to extend my New Year greetings to the people of all ethnic groups in China, to our compatriots in the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR, to our compatriots in Taiwan and to overseas Chinese. I would also like to wish our friends in other countries and regions all the very best.
Fortune favors the diligent and times are changing fast. In 2017, we held the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and embarked on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist China. Our GDP rose to the level of 80 trillion yuan (12.3 trillion US dollars). Over 13 million urban and rural jobs were created. Our old-age insurance system now covers more than 900 million people, and 1.35 billion people are covered by basic medical insurance. More than 10 million rural residents were lifted out of poverty.
How I wish I could have ten thousand houses to provide shelter for all who need it. 3.4 million people were relocated from poor areas and now live in new warm housing. The construction of 6 million apartments in shanty areas has begun ahead of schedule.
Various initiatives to improve people's livelihoods have been accelerated and the environment has steadily improved. People have enjoyed a stronger sense of gain, of happiness and of security. We have marched one significant step closer to completing the process of building a moderately well-off society in all aspects.
There has been a steady flow of technological innovation and major engineering feats in China. The X-ray satellite Insight is probing deep space. The C919 large airliner took off into the blue sky. A quantum computer was built and became operational. A trial was conducted for rice production in saline soil. We launched the first Chinese-built aircraft carrier. The "Sea Wings" underwater glider completed its first deep-sea exploration. The first extraction of combustible ice was a success. Phase IV of the Shanghai Yangshan Automated Deep Water Port began operations. The main structure of the cross-sea bridge linking Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macao was finished. Fuxing bullet trains now criss-cross China's vast landscape. I applaud and cheer the creative powers of the Chinese people.
We held a military parade at the Zhurihe training base in commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army. During the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong SAR's return to the motherland, I visited Hong Kong and saw in person that, with the strong support of the motherland, Hong Kong has retained its long-term prosperity and stability. It will undoubtedly have an even better future. We also held a ceremony in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and a state memorial ceremony for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, to remember history and to pray for peace.
We hosted several multilateral diplomatic events in China, including the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, and the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting. I also took part in some major multilateral meetings overseas. At the beginning of the year, I attended the annual World Economic Forum in Davos and delivered a speech at the UN Headquarters in Geneva. Later, I attended the G20 Summit and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. During these occasions, I had many in-depth exchanges of views with relevant parties and they all supported the joint promotion of building a community of shared future for mankind to benefit people all over the world.
In 2017, I again received many letters from the people, including villagers from the Yumai township in Lhunze County in Tibet; members of the Wulanmuqi Art Troupe from the Sonid Right Banner in Inner Mongolia; veteran professors from the relocated main body of Xi'an Jiaotong University; and new PLA student recruits from Nankai University. Their stories touched me deeply. The people have made sacrifices for the good of the nation without regrets or complaints. I feel the millions of ordinary Chinese are the greatest, and I also feel that happiness is achieved through hard work.
2018 is the start of the comprehensive implementation of the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress. The Congress drew up the beautiful blueprint of our development for the next three decades. A tall tower needs a solid foundation. To translate the blueprint into reality, we have to avoid the distractions of unsubstantial ideas and superficial fame, take one step at a time, and approach our work with a firm footing.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of our Reform and Opening Up, which has been the only path to the development and progress of contemporary China and the only path to the realization of the Chinese Dream. At the significant juncture of the 40th anniversary, we should surmount all obstacles to carry the reform further to its ultimate triumph.
By 2020, China will lift its rural impoverished population out of poverty by current standards. That is our solemn commitment and we will honor it. With three years left until 2020, the whole of society must leap into action and, with concerted efforts and targeted measures, continuously strive for fresh victories. After three years, we will win the final phase of the war on poverty. This will be the first time in thousands of years of Chinese history that extreme poverty has been eliminated. Let us accomplish this great cause of momentous significance for the Chinese nation and all humanity.
Regarding the prospects of humanity’s peace and development, there is both expectation and concern; all sides are awaiting a clear Chinese stance. All under heaven are one family. As a responsible major country, China must speak out. China will staunchly safeguard the authority and status of the United Nations and actively fulfill its due responsibility and duty in international affairs; China will honor its promises in countering global climate change and actively push forward the common construction of the "Belt and Road"; China will act as a builder of world peace and a contributor to global development, and an upholder of the international order. The Chinese people are willing to join all peoples of the world in creating a beautiful future of greater prosperity and greater peace for mankind.
Our country’s great development has been achieved by the people, and its fruits should be shared by the people. I am aware of the people's biggest concerns, such as education, employment, income, social security, healthcare, old-age security, housing and the environment.
We have had a lot of gains and also quite a few pains and troubles. Our efforts at improving people’s well-being have not always been satisfactory. This requires us to enhance our sense of mission and responsibility to achieve solid and effective results in improving the people’s welfare. The Party committees, governments, and officials at all levels must constantly hold in their hearts the interests and concerns of the people, and regard the benefit of the people as their highest career accomplishment. They must think for the people, respond to their needs, and work for the greater happiness of the people.
Thank you all!