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Ambassador Liu Biwei's Speech at the Opening Ceremony of European Confucius Institute Conference

Honorable Mr. Haarder, member of Denmark Congress,

Mr. Krarup, President of Denmark Royal Academy of Music

Mdm. Jing Wei, Deputy Director-General of Hanban,

Dear guests, CI directors, good afternoon.

I am very pleased to be invited to the opening ceremony of European Confucius Institute Conference. I was told that directors of 33 CIs from 14 European countries participate in the meeting. You will share experiences and practices, discuss blueprint of development of CIs in the region during the 1 and half days. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Denmark, I would like to congratulate the opening of the confreence and extend my warm welcome to each of the participants.

Dear friends, as an old saying in Chinese, “the key to sound relationships between states lies in affinity between their peoples. And mutual understanding brings peoples together”. Language is the most important vehicle by which people communicate and understand each other. Due to the rapid economic and social development of China, the interest and demand to study Chinese language have been soaring up quickly in the past decades. In order to better serve the needs, Hanban has initiated to establish CIs through joint efforts, to offer Chinese language education and introduce Chinese culture. CIs has gradually grown up after a decade of efforts as a whole, successfully creating a joint school model based upon equal cooperation and win-win result principles, CI has indeed acted as a bridge for communicating different languages and civilization, facilitating understanding and friendship among peoples of different countries. And hence CI has turn out to be a name brand of people-to-people exchange in the 21st century. As president Xi Jinping points out, CI not only belongs to China, but also to the whole world. The steady development of CI won’t be possible, without joint efforts of Chinese side and International sides, without commitments and pioneering spirits of CI directors, without contribution of CI teachers and students. For which, I would like to extend my highest gratitude and attributes to all of you for your contribution to CI cause!

Dear friends, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Sino-Danish relationship. The contact between China and Denmark could be traced back as early as in 1674. The Christian 5th, King of Denmark at that time, wrote a letter to Kangxi Emperor of Qing dynasty, proposing to establish bi-lateral relationship on the base of shipment and trade. It has passed almost 330 years since then. On May 11th , 1950, New China and Denmark officially established diplomatic relationship, which made Denmark one of the earliest western countries that have diplomatic ties with China. In 2008, bi-lateral ties of the two countries has elevated to a new high by establishing comprehensive strategic partnership, with deepening economic and trade cooperation, and increasing people-to-people exchanges. In the past 3 years, China and Denmark has maintained close high-level exchange. The queen of Denmark, Prime Minister and foreign minister paid visits to China, meanwhile Chinese state leaders such as Liu Yunshan, member of standing committee of CPC political bureau, Yang Jiechi, state councilor, and Zhao Hongzhu, member of CPC political bureau visited Denmark.

It is worthwhile to mention that, on this May 2nd to 5th, Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen visited China officially, profoundly discussing with president Xi Jiping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang of National People’s Congress on how to further the bi-lateral relationship between China and Denmark. The consensuses reached by the state leaders point out clearly direction of bi-lateral relationship development in the future. Prime Minister Rasmussen’s visit is indeed a success. The two governments publicized Sino-Danish Joint Work Program (2017-2020), formally started-up the Sino-Danish Food and Drug Monitoring Center, signed a number of agreements to promote cooperation further in fields of quality inspection, food, agriculture, culture and tourism etc..China and Denmark have worked together to make 2017 the year of Tourism, which marks the first of its kind in European countries. It would expand the platform for bi-lateral people-to-people exchanges undoubtedly. China cherishes the friendship with Denmark very much, stands ready to jointly enhance our relationship head-to-head, carry out the consensus reached by the leaders, further elevate the bi-lateral ties to a new high, and thus promote friendly cooperation with Nordic countries and European countries.

Before ending my presentation, I sincerely hope that CI directors would work hard in a concerted manner, develop your CIs better and better, in turn make more contribution to Sino-European friendship.

Thank you for your attention.

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