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Remarks by H.E.Zhang Weidong Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Iceland at Opening Ceremony of the Book Exhibition of the 45th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Iceland

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

I am most delighted to attend this opening reception. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Iceland, I would like to extend the sincerest greetings and best wishes to all the guests participating in today's exhibition marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Sino -Icelandic Diplomatic Relations.

There are thousands of miles in distance from China to Iceland and there exist differences in national circumstances, culture and history, but the peoples of China and Iceland share a long history of traditional friendship. In both ancient Chinese and Icelandic books there are similar sayings about friendship. 1700 years ago, the Chinese scholar Ge Hong said "Even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations",and in the Icelandic Havamal, it said "To a true friend lies a trodden road though his farm lies far away" . In 1952, only three years after the establishment of the New China, Icelandic cultural delegation visited China and became the forerunner in cultural exchanges between our two countries. The manuscript of the diary of one of the delegation members, Icelandic poet Johannes Ur Kotlum, has been kept by the Icelandic National and University Library of Iceland. In the following year, the Icelandic-Chinese Cultural Society was established ,serving for all those who devoted to China-Iceland friendly exchanges. In 1955, a Beijing Opera Troupe visited Iceland and was warmly welcomed by the Icelandic people. Ever since establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries on December 8 1971,our bilateral cultural exchanges, like a tiger equipped with wings, have been growing from strength to strength, enhancing the friendship between our two peoples and bringing new vigor and vitality into the bilateral relationship.

In this process, publications have been important windows for the Chinese and Icelandic peoples to observe and understand each other and experience each other's cultures. The cooperation between Chinese and Icelandic press and publication sectors has grown in strength in those years. Many of the Icelandic classical literary works and best-sellers of the day were translated into Chinese and published in China. Edda and Saga are well received by the Chinese readers. A lot of Chinese books, such as The Analects of Confucius, Tao Te Ching, and Journey to the West, have also been translated into Icelandic and sold in Iceland. These publications have served as a bridge for mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Icelandic peoples.

On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic ties, we hold this book exhibition to celebrate the progress we have made in cultural exchanges. It also shows the strong momentum of substantial and steady development of our bilateral relations and political mutual trust. As a meaningful commemorative gift, I am confident that the exhibition will become a new milestone of friendly cultural exchanges between China and Iceland , laying a solid foundation for our future cooperation, broadening vision for developing our relations and yielding rich fruits. With the concerted efforts of both countries ,the exhibition would expand cultural exchanges and give a vigorous boost to cooperation in various fields between our two countries, and enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the friends who have been involved, both from China and Iceland, for their contribution to this exhibition.

Wish the exhibition a complete success !

Thank you.

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