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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Ping at the Opening Ceremony of China Culture Center in Fiji
2015/12/16

Honorable Speaker Dr.Jiko Luveni,

Honorable Minister Vuniwaqa, Minister Reddy, Minister Akbar,

H.E. Ambassador Ioane Naivalurua

Honorable Vice Minister Ding Wei,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Opening Ceremony of the China Culture Center in Fiji today. First of all, please allow me to extend warm congratulations on the opening of China Culture Center in Fiji, and my warm welcome to Vice Minister DING Wei and his delegation who traveled a long way to Fiji to unveil the China Culture Center. I would like also to express my gratitude to the Honorable Speaker, Ministers of Fijian Government and all the Fijian friends present here today for your attendance.

This year marks 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Fiji. Over the past 40 years, we have witnessed fruitful and effective exchanges and cooperation in various fields, among which the bilateral cultural exchanges have contributed a great deal. As early as in 1977, not long after the establishment of diplomatic relations, a Chinese Acrobatic Troupe had visited Fiji at the invitation of Fiji Arts Council and gave 13 performance, attracting 30 thousand of Fijian audience. In recent years, cultural exchanges became more frequent and diversified. Chinese art groups came to perform every year. Chinese film festivals were held in Fiji, Chinese dances and calligraphy were taught among the university and high school students. Chinese cultural elements such as the language, cuisine, festival traditions have entered into the daily life of common Fijian people. Meanwhile, indigenous Fijian arts and Melanesian culture with distinctive island characteristics are gaining more popularity among the Chinese people. Cultural exchanges have become a major component of China-Fiji relations, playing the role as a bridge and bond that connect the hearts and souls of our two peoples.

To establish the China Cultural Center was one of the important agreements reached during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Fiji last November. It is another Chinese cultural institution established in South Pacific Island Region with the purpose of promoting cultural exchanges following the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in the region in 2012. It is an indication of the growing weight of the cultural exchanges in the overall relationship, showcasing the breadth and depth of the development of our bilateral relationship. As the first Chinese cultural center established in this Region, the China Culture Center in Fiji will provide a new platform for more cultural exchanges not only between China and Fiji but also with the whole region at large. It will enrich the content of the strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development that have been established between China and all the South Pacific Island countries that have diplomatic ties with China. I believe, as the staff and equipments gradually come in place, the China Culture Center will be able to host various kinds of high standard cultural events and to establish partnerships with local and regional cultural groups. It will play an active role in enhancing mutual understanding, exploring new frontiers of cultural cooperation and promoting mutual learning between China and South Pacific island countries. I also believe that, under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture of China, and with the hard work of Director. Deng Xianfu and his staff, particularly with the strong support of our Fijian friends, the China Culture Center in Fiji will score greater success. China-Fiji, China-South Pacific cultural exchanges and cooperation will be more broadened and more fruitful results will be achieved.

Last but not the least, I wish to give particular thanks to the Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts as well as other relevant government agencies for the great facilitation and assistance that have been provided to us while we prepared the opening the Center.

The Chinese Embassy in Fiji will continue to support and promote exchanges and cooperation between China and Fiji in various fields. I look forward to the continuous support and assistance from all our Fijian friends. Let’s make joint efforts to promote greater development of China-Fiji relations.

Thank you! Vinaka Vakalevu!

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