On the eve of the New Year 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a televised New Year message to the Chinese nation, recounting the major Chinese achievements in 2018 and outlining the major opportunities and challenges for the Chinese nation in 2019.

For China, 2018 was a year of great achievements, despite many uncertainties on the international scene and multiple challenges at home. Any government in any country in the world would envy the major achievements China accomplished in 2018, including the engineering miracle of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, new development zones in the Greater Bay Area, in the Pearl River Delta, in Shanghai, in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System which now covers the whole world, new progress in high-speed railway system and major progress made in “Made in China,” “Created in China” and “Constructed in China.” China also made impressive progress in its fight against poverty and in its pledge to eliminate extreme poverty by 2020.

In 2018, on the global stage, China was a crucial and indispensable force in dealing with climate change and promoting free trade, globalization and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was an unprecedented initiative showcasing China as the largest consumer market in the world and how inter-connected the global economy and trade have become as far as China is concerned. Indeed, China’s development is fast becoming a major contributing force in the world development.

Throughout 2018, China never stopped its reform and opening-up, and was always eager to explore new horizons and do the right thing for the Chinese people and the world at large.

Photo: A view of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province, December 3, 2018.

What impressed me the most was when President Xi Jinping said that every Chinese is racing forward to chase his or her dream. Indeed, it will take the 1.4 billion Chinese people, individually and collectively, to race forward and chase their dreams before the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation will be realized in a timely manner.

President Xi Jinping also made it absolutely clear that the great miracles in China in 2018 and throughout the past 40 years are not a hand-out by anyone or any other country, but have been achieved by hundreds of millions of Chinese people and it is the Chinese people in their individual and collective capacity that should be recognized and honored for their great sacrifices and achievements.

He emphasized that the Chinese people provide the raison d’êtres for the Chinese government to have full confidence in moving forward in the right direction and do the right thing, both at home and abroad.

For 2019, as Xi emphasized, it will be a year full of opportunities and challenges for China and the world, and as the mankind is going through fundamental changes and transformation on an unprecedented scale rarely seen in a hundred-year period. It is encouraging that in this world of great uncertainty and potential turmoil, China is determined to be a major force for peace and stability and a champion of free trade and continued globalization.

2019 will be a better year for the mankind if more countries and people in the world join China in doing the right thing by maintaining peace and stability and promoting growth and development.

In dealing with these challenges, uncertainties and unpredictability, confidence is an important quality in absolute need for China to move into 2019 and to navigate through the uncharted and potentially turbulent waters in the world.

2019 will witness the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations between China and the U.S. There are major headwinds and obstacles against normal and constructive development of China-U.S. relations in 2019, mainly initiated by the U.S. for fear that China may soon surpass it as the largest economy in the world.

2019 will be a year of joy and celebration, but also a year of reflection and fathoming the unknown future. China need to maintain its sanity and stability and, as President Xi Jinping urged in his New Year message, seize the day and seize the hour and never stop pushing forward to achieve its strategic goals.

President Xi Jinping’s New Year message is an inspiration for the Chinese nation to do the right thing at home and abroad, in 2019 and beyond, for a better China and a better world.