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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Jin Zhijian at the Spring Festival Gala
2019-01-29

Your Excellency President Guðni Johannesson and first Lady Eliza Reid
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends

Good evening!

It´s my great pleasure to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival in this historic building of Iceland, which is a vivid demonstration of the cultural exchanges between China and Iceland. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, the Icelandic Chinese Cultural Society, the Icelandic Chinese Trade Council and the Association of Chinese in Iceland, I would like to thank President Johannesson and first lady as well as all the other guests for attending this event, .

In just 10 days we will embrace the Spring Festival, the most important festival for all the Chinese people. The concepts of togetherness, harmony and happiness associated with the Spring Festival find its roots in the profound Chinese culture. The coming year will be the Year of the Pig, a very lucky year.The ancient Chinese character "home" is written in the shape of a herringbone on the roof of a pig, that is, there is a pig in the house to become the home, so the pig is a symbol of good fortune and wealth in traditional Chinese culture. I would like to take this opportunity to express my best wishes and seasonal greetings to you all. May you good luck, great fortune and lasting peace in the Year of the Pig!

Pursuing wealth and seeking common development for a better life are the common aspirations of people all over the world. As the old Chinese saying goes, self-profit is the foundation of survival, while benefiting others can leave you in a favorable position to gain respect and help in the long run. This ancient wisdom of China is well reflected in the Belt and Road Initiatives and great vision to create a community of shared future for mankind proposed by President Xi Jinping. The "Belt and Road " initiatives have been put forward for more than five years. The concepts of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits have received high remarks and warm response from the international community. It has become the most popular public product and the largest platform for cooperation in the world. I hope the initiatives can serve as an unlimited driving force for the further development of relations between China and Iceland.

The Spring Festival celebrates the brand new start of the whole year, a time to bid farewell to the old and usher in the new. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up of China. Over the past 40 years, with the support of the international community, the Chinese people have achieved remarkable achievements with unremitting efforts. China's GDP has seen 9.5% average annual growth, and our share of the world GDP has increased from 1.8% in 1978 to 15.2% today. Over the years, China's contribution rate to the world economic growth has exceeded 30%, the use of foreign direct investment has added up to 2 trillion US dollars, and China's total outbound investment reached 1.9 trillion US dollars. The middle-income group continued to expand and the people's life improved significantly. By 2020, China will completely eliminate the absolute poverty under the current standards. China's development has benefited from reform and opening up, and we will follow this path unswervingly. An open and prosperous China is beneficial to the world. China is willing to develop equal and mutual beneficial relations with all countries including Iceland for friendship and cooperation. I am pleased to see the past year has witnessed stronger bilateral relations between China and Iceland with greater achievements. The two sides maintain frequent high-level exchanges. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a letter to President Johanneson on December 1 and expressed warm congratulations on the 100th anniversary of Iceland's independence. Meanwhile, bilateral trade has seen huge growth, practical cooperation has made new breakthroughs, and people to people exchanges remain active. The bilateral relations between our two countries are faced with new opportunities and bright future.

Tonight, artists from Beijing will present our distinguished guests a brilliant Chinese culture gala. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Peoples Government of Beijing Municipality for its tremendous support. As some of you may know, Beijing is now preparing to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, I am convinced that just like the Beijing 2008 Olympic games, Beijing will present another magnificent Olympic event to the world this time, and all the guests present today are welcome to pay a visit to Beijing for this special occasion. I would also like to thank Beijing Municipal Culture and Tourism Bureau, Beijing Overseas Cultural Exchange Center and all the artists and friends who help make today's event possible with their hard work. We will celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival in Iceland every year in the future. I hope this could serve as a window to experience Chinese culture, a platform for the integration of the Chinese and Western cultures, and a bond of friendship to link China and Iceland together.

Last but not least, I wish you all have a wonderful evening.

Thank you.

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