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Speech by Ambassador Zhang Weidong at 2017 Spring Festival Reception
2017-01-26

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good Evening. Tomorrow will be the Chinese New Year's Eve. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Iceland, I'd like to extend my warm welcome and sincere greetings to all of you at the dawn of the Chinese New Year, the year of the rooster. Happy New Year to you all!

Since in Chinese, the pronunciation of the word "rooster"(ji) is similar to the word ji, meaning "good luck and good fortune", the Chinese people cherish the rooster very much. Because of its diligence and punctuality of crowing early in the morning, rooster is regarded as the symbol of new hope, courage and determination. Rooster is also considered the prototype of Phoenix, which symbolizes prosperity and harmony in the Chinese culture.

In China, people begin the preparation for the new year from December the 8th of the Lunar Calendar. They will do shopping and decorate the streets and homes. Here in the Embassy we have demonstrated some of the festival decorations, including the dragon and lion, the couplets at the entrance and the paper cuts. I wish you feel at home, just like being with a family of China.

Ladies and Gentlemen, when bidding farewell to the year of the monkey, 2016, I have quite complicated feelings. I recall the words of Charles Dickens, which was quoted by President Xi jinping in his speech in Davos, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". No matter it's good or bad, 2016 is memorable to all of us. We have witnessed complex and profound changes in the world. Mankind faced many new challenges as well as new opportunities.

Against this international background, China made remarkable achievements in national economy and social development. The living standards and quality of life of the Chinese people have been continuously improved. China continued to provide driving force to the world economy with 30% of contribution to the global economic growth. China has made steady progress in developing relations with countries around the world and putting forward Chinese suggestions for tackling the issues of the international community. In 2017, China will host two international meetings of great significance, one is the One Belt and One Road Forum for International Cooperation and the other is the 9th BRICS Summit. We will push forward together with all countries "the inclusive globalization" and make efforts to build the common community of mankind.

In 2016, taking the opportunity of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iceland, we successfully held a series of commemorative activities together with our counterparts in Iceland. Our two-way trade increased 15 percent in 2016. The number of Chinese tourists to Iceland exceeded 66 thousands. The great achievements in Sino-Icelandic relations in 2016 couldn't be made without the practical efforts of the governments and the peoples of the two countries and the understanding and support of friends from various countries. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. I believe that both China and Iceland will grasp the new opportunity and make new progress in our bilateral cooperation in all fields in the coming year.

There is a Chinese idiom saying "闻鸡起舞"(to get up and practice your skill when hearing the crow of a rooster), meaning "people of high aspirations will work very hard and lose no time to prepare themselves for a great future"). Let's work hard together for a better future of us all in the year of rooster, 2017!

Now, I would like to propose a toast,

-to the world peace and development,

- to the more in-depth friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and Iceland,

- to the ever successful work, harmonious life, good health and happiness in the New Year of rooster of everyone present,

Cheers!

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