Ræða Sendiherra Kína Vegna 70 ára Afmælis Kím

Speech of H.E. Ambassador He Rulong at the Symposium and Briefing Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of KÍM
(13:00, November 29. House of Collections)

SendiherraDear Chairman Arnar Steinn Þorsteinsson, Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the Symposium and Briefing marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Kínverska Íslenska Menningarfélagið (KÍM)!

China and Iceland established diplomatic relations in 1971. What surprised me is that cultural exchanges between our two countries had already been documented in historic records prior to our diplomatic ties. The well-known Icelandic poet and writer Jóhannes úr Kötlum led the first Icelandic delegation to visit China in 1952, and wrote diaries and poems with what they had seen in China after returning home. One year later, Kínverska Islenska Menningarfélagið (KÍM) was founded.

In 1955, KÍM invited the Chinese Peking Opera Troupe to perform in Iceland. In 1975, a 90-member strong Tianjin acrobatic delegation visited Iceland with a huge success. In 1977, Chairman Arnþór Helgason led a KÍM delegation to visit China and was received by Vice Premier Wang Zhen of the State Council of China. KÍM also helped the famous Icelandic band Stuðmenn with its 12-Chinese-city tour in 1986 and made a huge hit in China.

The new century has witnessed even more frequent exchanges between China and Iceland. In 2011, KÍM delegation visited Shanghai. KÍM had twice organized Icelandic youth delegations to participate in Tianjin International Children’s Culture and Art Festival in 2015 and 2018 respectively. Over the past 70 years, KÍM has served as a bridge connecting our two cultures, making great contribution to the development of our bilateral relations. Please allow me to say a big thank you to KÍM and all its members and families! Takk kærlega fyrir! Here, I would also like to express my special thanks to former Chairman Arnthor Helgason for his contribution. Arnthor had served as Chairman of KÍM for 30 years and was the only Icelander to win the “Friendship Ambassador” medal of China.

Amity between the peoples holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. Cultural exchanges have always been a bridge facilitating communication between our two peoples. This year, the Chinese Embassy in Iceland held a Chinese film screening event during the Spring Festival in January, invited the Guangzhou Art Ensemble to perform in Iceland in September together with some Chinese cultural experience activities. We also held four “Open Day” events for Icelandic students ranging from primary to high schools and universities in October. We are most proud of the charity sale that our embassy hosted at Háskólabíó to raise money for “Litla Gráa og Litla Hvíta”, the two beluga sisters in Vestmannaeyjar to help them better cope with the winter season. We will continue to hold more cultural activities in the future and we count on KÍM for its continued support.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-Iceland Free Trade Agreement. Since the beginning of this year, China-Iceland trade in goods has maintained a momentum of rapid growth, with China becoming the fifth largest trading partner of Iceland instead of the seventh place. In last May, the Chinese Embassy worked closely with the Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs of Iceland in launching the “Inaugural China-Iceland Live Streaming Week” , which was a huge success. Next, our two governmental departments will hold a meeting of China-Iceland Free Trade Agreement Joint Committee to further facilitate bilateral trade.

This year has seen many new developments in political field. President Xi Jinping and President Guðni Johannesson had exchanged correspondence with each other. In May, Chairman Zhao Leji of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress held a meeting through video link with the Speaker of the Althingi Birgir Armannsson. In September, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Guðlaug Þórðarson delivered video speeches to the Seventh World Geothermal Congress and the Taiyuan Energy Low-Carbon Development Forum respectively. In the same month, Chairwoman Xin Chunying of the Constitution and Law Committee of the NPC visited Iceland. In October, Minister Liu Jianchao of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China visited Iceland. China and Iceland will have more of such exchanges and dialogues, with a view to pushing ahead our bilateral relations.
Ladies and gentlemen,

China’s economy continues to rebound and improve this year , leading all other major economies of the world in economic growth rate and making solid gains in high-quality development. China remains the biggest driving force behind global economic growth and will continue to generate one-third of world economic growth this year. China is achieving the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation in all aspects, following a Chinese path to modernization. At the recently concluded China-US summit meeting in San Francisco, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had reached many consensuses on hot-button issues of the world, charting a new course for the development of China-US relations and sending a positive signal of stability to the rest of the world. China is willing to step up cooperation with Iceland on the basis of mutual respect, strategic independence, mutual benefit, dialogue and consultation, so as to achieve a win-win results to both sides and bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples.

Chinese civilization has a long-standing history. It is further enriched and improved through mutual emulation with other civilizations, laying a profound basis for the Chinese path to civilization. It is through the mutual learning between civilizations that common progress can be achieved. Looking back to the 70 years since the establishment of KÍM, it is exactly through these cultural exchanges that our bilateral relations have continued to make headway and achieve milestones. And it is all attributable to you who are true envoys of friendship between the peoples of China and Iceland.

We would once again like to express our gratitude to you, and wish Kínverska Islenska Menningarfélagið (KÍM) even greater development and still more achievements in the next 70 years!

Thank you! Takk fyrir!

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