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Icelandic Newspaper Publishes Ambassador Zhang Weidong's Bylined Article

On 8th and 10th January 2015, Fréttablaðið, the biggest newspaper in Iceland, consecutively published Ambassador Zhang Weidong's bylined article entitled My 100 Days Impression of Iceland. The full text is as follows:

From September 25, 2014 when I first touched the soil of Iceland to January 5, 2015 counts just 100 days. According to the Chinese customs, a family should eat noodles to celebrate 100 days old of their new born baby. Now I have been in Iceland 100 days and that deserves celebration, too. Particularly when it coincides with the newly arrival of 2015, there turns to be more happiness together .

Why I would like to mark my 100 days in Iceland? Because I have heard and witnessed and accomplished a lot in such a short time and gained a profound and unforgettable impression of this beautiful country and its nice people. I would like to make a record of it and share it with you all.

My first knowledge of Iceland was from the clerk and crew members of Icelandic airlines. On September 25, 2014, when I arrived at the London Heathrow Airport for transit, I went to the counter of Icelandair to ask about boarding information. The desk clerk impressed me deeply by her smile of amiability, honesty and sincerity. Boarding on the Icelandair plane, I sensed an amazing charm of the thoughtful service by the crew members and the beautiful rhythm of Icelandic language. When arriving at the Keflavik airport of Reykjavik around 23 o'clock near midnight, I was warmly affected to meet the protocol officer Ms. Anna from the Icelandic Foreign Ministry who had kindly came to greet me. On the way from the airport to the Embassy, we talked so much that our candid and amicable conversation indeed expelled away the late night coldness in early winter.

A few days after my arrival, I presented to H.E. President of Iceland , Olafur Ragmar Grimsson, the Letter of Credence. Then, I had honor to pay visits to H.E. the Speaker, H.E. Foreign Minister and some other distinguished cabinet ministers. We touched upon the friendly relations between China and Iceland, the mutual cooperation in trade and economy, the bilateral cultural and people to people exchanges. Our conversations were very fruitful in a warm atmosphere of friendship which could hardly be expressed by words.

If you ask my impression of the Icelandic people, I would say that your people are friendly, amicable, warm-hearted while the young men tall and handsome, the young girl blond-haired and beautiful. They are nice people with Nordic characters of frankness and kindness.

Before I came to Iceland, I was told how gorgeous the sceneries in Iceland. Soon after my arrival, I eagerly rushed to visit the well known "Golden Circle" by the weekend. At the historical site in Þingvellir, I saw the Law Rock and felt as if I heard the heated debate of the earliest Icelandic Parliament. At the Great Rift Valley, I seemed to have caught the aloof whispering between the continents of Europe and Northern America. At Geyser, I wondered if that was the Earth hot blood surging to tell people joyful news. In the past 100 days, I also spent my weekends to visit the geothermal town (Hveragerði), volcano lake in Keilir, main streets in downtown area of Reykjavik. The unique Icelandic geomorphology is really breathtaking and I cannot help but also think of the word "suffocating". At early winter nights, I was lucky to have seen several times Northern lights(Auroras), dreamy and crazy floating in the sky and then drifting away as beautiful as in a fairyland.

If you ask my impression of the Icelandic sceneries, I would say they are so distinctive, peculiar attractions that always lure peoplelingering around.

When I was in China, my friends said to me that Iceland was a land of ice and snow, what could people eat except polar bear and penguin? After arriving in Iceland, I was eager to taste Icelandic foods. I have been to the Viking restaurant in Hafnarfirði, Lækjabrekka restaurant in Reykjavik and tried stinking shark, Icelandic lobster, tender lamb and the "Black Death" liquor. My taste sense was strongly stimulated.

I wish to tell my friends that the Icelandic foods are rich and delicious with special tempting flavors and lasting aftertaste.

In the past 100 days, I had paid visits to many important government officials, managers of corporations, deans of colleges, media and cultural friends. I am deeply convinced that they all highly expect the prospect of friendly relations of our two countries. They wish to increase mutual good-will exchanges, promote mutual trust, enhance economic trade cooperation, boost common development, push in-depth people-to-people exchanges and partnership so as to advance further the friendship of our two peoples. In China, a saying goes:" more visits make relatives more intimate and friends closer." We wish the peoples of China and Iceland like relatives and friends engage more mutual visits each other.

Though our two countries are far apart from each other by oceans, we are neighbored like Heaven and Precipices and the long-term friendship is in-depth and everlasting. After the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971, the bilateral relationship has sustainably undergone stable development. The high level visits of the two countries are frequent, mutual political trust is increasingly deepening, cooperation in economy and trade, culture and Arctic issues has gained fruitful results. The two countries have enjoyed mutual understanding and rendered support to each other on the international arena.

We have differences but more in common. China has a territory of more than 9.6 million square kilometers and a population of 1.3 billion while Iceland's territory is 103,000 square kilometers and its population is more than 320,000. However, both peoples are hardworking and intelligent with persevering and unyielding national spirits. China has a civilization of 5000 years and a world well-known miracle Great Wall. Confucius as the world famous thinker and educator had influenced China as well as the world. "Analects of Confucius" has been translated into Icelandic language. While Iceland has a history of only 1000 years, but it has well-known historical Parliament site in Þingvellir and the masterpieces of Edda and Saga which have remarkable place in the world literature have been translated into Chinese.

Since the New China was founded 65 years ago, especially after the reform and opening up in 1978, the Chinese economic and social development have made great progress with its total economic capacityranking the second in the world and the people's living standardsremarkably improved. In the face of continuing downturn international economic situation, China's economy has been staying focus, withstanding the pressure, thrusting accurately, directing control and keeping balanced operation so that its economic growth has remained at a reasonable interval.In 2014, the contribution rate by China's economic growth to the world economy has reached 27.8% and maintained above 50% to Asian economy. The Icelandic people have been working very hard and successfully transformed Iceland from an Europe's poorest country into one of world's richer countries with itsper capita income among the world's top ones. In recent years, Iceland has shaken off the influence of economic crisis quickly and gained reborn from the crisis.

China and Iceland have jointly explored a mutually beneficial cooperation way with different economic scales and different development levels. The relations between the two countrieshave well manifested a good model of peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems. Currently, the two countries are confronting new development opportunities and challenges. The development of the two countries will bring opportunities to each other and the prospects of mutual benefits and win-win cooperation are broad and wide. China supports the efforts of Iceland to restore its economic increase. On July 1, 2014, the Free Trade Agreement between China and Iceland came into force. This willinsert new wings to the development of bilateral economic trade and other aspects in various fields.

I am honored to be accredited Ambassador to Iceland at this period of time and understand fully the arduous task ahead. I would like to work hard to foster the bilateral relations of China and Iceland to a new stage with the guidance, support and assistance of the Chinese and Icelandic Governments and peoples.

My 100 days in Iceland have been happy and joyful ones. My future 100 , 1000, 10,000 days will be even hopeful. I believe that China's future will be better, Iceland's future will also be better and the future of friendly relations between China and Iceland will surely be better, too.

May the friendship between China and Iceland everlasting!

May you all enjoy good health, happiness and good luck in 2015, the Year of Goat !

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