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Speech by Ambassador Zhang Weidong at the Reception Marking the 45th Anniversary of China-Iceland Diplomatic Relations
2016-12-12

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good Evening.

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to join us here to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Iceland. And today the first of the 13 Yule Lads, Stekkjastaur, the sheep-cote clod, comes down from mountains with gifts for those who have been good. So, all the guests present today are good and will receive a special gift, a commemorative stamped envelope marking the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Iceland. As well as a new published book entitled "Important Bilateral Agreements and Documents between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Iceland".

China and Iceland officially established diplomatic relations on 8th December 1971. In the past 45 years, our relations have been stable and fruitful. The bilateral trade, two-way investments, the numbers of tourists, overseas students have been increased dramatically. On the occasion of the 45th anniversary, the Presidents, Premiers and Foreign Ministers of China and Iceland exchanged congratulatory messages respectively to each other, expressing their sincere congratulations and best wishes to the two peoples and their willingness to work together to deepen the traditional friendship and pragmatic cooperation between our two countries.

In the past 45 years, there have been many touching stories which are reflected in many books and photos, some of them are shown here in the hall and some have been put on display at the celebratory book exhibition opened on 12th November 2016 at the National and University Library. From these books and photos, we can learn how the first Icelandic cultural delegation visited China and the people-to-people and cultural exchanges have been deepened. We can also learn how the leaders of both countries dedicated themselves to China-Iceland friendship, enhancing mutual political trust, guiding the direction of the bilateral relations, promoting the cooperation in agriculture, fishery, geothermal energy and Arctic affairs.

We owe the achievements in the past 45 years to all those who have been involved in developing the bilateral relations, both from China and Iceland, in particular, the friends of the Icelandic Chinese Cultural Society(ICCS), who have been making unremitting efforts to enhance the friendship between our two peoples over the past 60 years, ever since the Society established in 1953, long time before the official establishment of the diplomatic relations. People-to-people's close ties are important part of the overall bilateral relations. They have done really a good job. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the friends from various countries for their understanding and support to China-Iceland relations.

After 45 years' development, the relationship between China and Iceland has become mature. Based on the principles of equality and respect, mutual win-win cooperation, China-Iceland relations have become a model for countries with different history and culture, different social systems, economic scale and development stage, to co-exist in a harmonious way to advance our common interests.

We are proud of what we have achieved in the past 45 years. We are also confident of the future of our relations. We are confident, because the peoples from both sides are keen on developing the friendship and cooperation. We are confident, because there exist huge potentials for our cooperation in all fields. Together, we will further promote our bilateral relations.

There is a phrase in Icelandic, "ad ganga med bok I maganum". Literally, everyone "has a book in his/her stomach". In order to take one more book from the stomach, the decision of writing a Short History on the relations between China and Iceland has been made and the editorial board already established. A Letter of Intent on this project will be signed today. I am pleased to invite all of you to witness. This book will bridge the past and the future, enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries.

To conclude, I wish to propose a toast:

· To the 45th anniversary of the China-Iceland diplomatic relations,

· To the lasting friendship between our two peoples,

· To the happiness and good health of everyone present,

Cheers!

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