Remarks by Ambassador Jin Zhijian on the Photo Exhibition of the Chinese Maritime Silk Road

Distinguished guests,

Ladies, gentlemen, dear friends,

Good Evening!

First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Iceland, I would like to express my warm welcome and sincere gratitude to all the guests who join us today in the opening ceremony of the Photo Exhibition of the Chinese Maritime Silk Road. I would like also to thank the Fujian Cultural and Tourism Bureau, FuJian Museum, KIM, Northern Light Confucius Institute of University of Iceland and my fellow colleagues from the Chinese Embassy for their great support and efforts that make today's event possible.

The Maritime Silk Road was formed in China’s Qin and Han Dynasties over 2,000 years ago. As the oldest sea route linking China, Southeast Asia, East Africa and Europe, the ancient Maritime Silk Road remained its prime pursuit of close contact of trade leading to culture and art exchanges between the East and West, and became a road of peace and integration that promoted interactions and mutual learning among different civilizations as well as common development for all countries along the route. As the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road, Quanzhou City of Fujian Province has witnessed numerous waves of merchant ships connecting with more than 100 ports along the route, playing an important in the long history of the route.

In the autumn of 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the initiative to build Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which was referred as the Belt and Road Initiative or BRI. The BRI upholds the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. It focuses on policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and closer people-to-people ties. It pursues open, green and clean development. The BRI aims to enhance connectivity and practical cooperation, jointly meeting various challenges and risks confronting mankind and delivering win-win outcomes and common development. Since its inception over five years ago, the BRI has received strong endorsement and warm support of the international community, and has become a popular international public product. To date China has signed BRI cooperation agreements with 127 countries and 29 international organizations. The trade volume between China and countries joining the BRI has exceeded 6 trillion US dollars, with investment of more than 80 billion US dollars and over 300,000 jobs created.

China and Iceland have broad prospects for cooperation under the framework of the BRI. As an island country surrounded by the Atlantic, Iceland is inextricably linked to the ocean. China and Iceland maintain close cooperation in the fields of fisheries, marine resources, and environmental protection, and the Arctic affairs. The BRI brings new opportunities for the practical cooperation between China and Iceland. On this promising platform, the two sides can jointly build the Polar Silk Road, open direct flight, lift connectivity to a new level, deepen economic and trade cooperation, enhance people-to-people exchanges and create a new era for better China-Iceland relations.

Today's exhibition stages more than 200 historical photos of cultural relics which will bring us back to the most prosperous past of the ancient Maritime Silk Road. Let us reflect on this magnificent chapter of history together, and look forward to the bright future of common development and prosperity with the contribution of the BRI for the whole world.

Last but not least, I wish the Photo Exhibition of the Chinese Maritime Silk Road a great success, and wish you all a wonderful evening!