On 29th October, China Cultural Festival 2009 was opened in the China Town of Rotterdam. The Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun was invited to give a speech at the opening ceremony. In the speech, the Ambassador said as follows:
It gives me great pleasure to be invited to attend the opening ceremony of China Cultural Festival Rotterdam 2009. Firstly, please allow me to extend my thanks to the Foundation for Promotion of Trade and Culture with the People’s Republic of China for organizing the event, and my deep appreciation to the city of Rotterdam for its generous support for promoting cultural exchanges between China and the Netherlands. With the joint effort of both sides, I am sure the Festival will turn out to be a great success. Taking this opportunity, may I share with you the following points:
First, China highly values the contribution made by the city of Rotterdam in promoting the cooperation between our two sides. The city of Rotterdam always enjoys high reputation in China. This reputation is based on the leading role played by Rotterdam in promoting the bilateral cooperation between our two countries. We will never forget when China started to adopt its reform and opening up policy 30 years ago, Rotterdam participated in this process immediately by establishing a sisterhood relationship with Shanghai. In the past 30 years, the two cities have not only deepened their cooperation in a variety of areas, but also made great contribution to the economic and social development of their respective country. The city of Rotterdam has become a genuine gateway through which Chinese commodities are transporting to other parts of the world everyday. I sincerely hope that with the continuing effort of both sides, our partnership will be further strengthened.
Second, China is willing to join hands with Rotterdam, and the Netherlands as a whole, in fighting against the current financial and economic crisis and seeking a win-win solution. China attaches great importance to its relationship with the Netherlands. With our tireless effort, we have established close ties in many areas between us. We have made the Netherlands the No. 2 trade partner of China in the EU for 6 consecutive years. It is true that both country are being faced with difficulties resulting from the current financial and economic crisis, nonetheless, the fundamentals of our economies remain unchanged and the potentialities are still there. From the Chinese side, we have seen more and more positive signs of recovery in the first half of this year. However, the recovery is still unstable and we still have a long way to go to have a full scale recovery globally. Thus, we should invest mort wisdom and resources in coping with the challenges together, we should explore new ways and means to deepen our cooperation. We should make the Shanghai EXPO another good opportunity in deepening our ties. In this regard, I am glad to share with you that a large investment and trade promotion delegation from China will visit the Netherlands in the following months. I am also pleased to note that Minister van der Hoeven and Minister Heemskerk will visit China starting from September. We have every reason to believe that, with our joint effort, we are able to have a strong recovery in the near future and we will continue to benefit from the development of each other.
Third, China is willing to strengthen its cultural ties with the Netherlands and deepen the mutual understanding between our peoples through cultural exchanges. Culture can be a bridge. It brings closer the distance of different peoples. It helps people know each other better, understand each other better and eventually trust each other better. In this regard, I am grateful to the sponsors for organizing China Cultural Festival Rotterdam 2009. I am sure this festival will provide a platform for eye to eye communication, promote heart to heart exchanges, and enhance the mutual understanding between the people of the two countries. I also hope that through such cultural activities as this festival, Rotterdam would not only act as a gateway for trade, but also a gateway for cultural exchanges. Of course, the best way to enjoy the Chinese culture is to visit China and see China with your own eyes. Thus I sincerely hope Mayor Aboutaleb will pay an early vistit to China. Once again, let me wish the festival a success.