Ambassador Zhang Zhijian hosted a Reception for Senior Officials of Finnish Foreign Ministry

Ambassador Zhang Zhijian hosted a reception in the Chinese Embassy for Secretary of State Mr. Arto Mansala and other senior officials from the Finnish Foreign Minsitry on January 24, 2006.


The Speech of Ambassador Zhang at the Reception:

Dear State Secretary Mr. Mansala,

Dear Under-Secretary Mr. Himanen, Mr. Lyra and Mr. Huhtaniemi,

Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening!It is my great pleasure to have so many friends from the Finnish Foreign Ministry here today at this reception in our Embassy in the beautiful island of Kulosaari. A Warm welcome to you all!

The Year of 2005 has become another fruitful year for our bilateral relations. I could still remember the evening about one year ago. You may find that some of my words might be repeated on our last reception in the Embassy, but the facts are true.

The political relations between us have been further developed. There have been many exchanges of important visits between our two countries. From China, Mr. Wu Guanzheng, member of the Standing committee of the political bureau of CPC, (He is regarded as one of the top leaders of China), Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress, President of the Chinese Academy of Science Mr. Lu Yongxiang and over 70 delegations of the vice ministerial lever visited Finland in 2005. From Finland, Prime Minister Vanhanen paid an informal visit to Shanghai, Jiangsu and Guangzhou, Agricultural and Forestry Minister Korkeaoja, Justice Minster Koskinen, Cultural Minister Karpela,Defense Minister Kääriäinen visited China successively. In February, State Secretary of Foreign Ministry Mr. Mansala visited China and had good discussion with our Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui. The Finnish Parliament sent 4 Committee delegations to China and the parliamentary groups´ secretaries visited China for the first time. Right after the New Year of 2006, we are very pleased to meet the group of new diplomats of your Ministry before their study tour to China. We appreciate it very much that your Government and especially your Ministry is attaching so much importance to China.

The development in the field of Culture.Education,Science and Technology,Defense forces, Justice and Economics and Trade and other perspectives are active and well developed too. In a few days, a Chinese classic comedy play called "False Bride" will be on stage at the Helsinki theatre

I will only pick a few figures to highlight our trade development. According to our statistics, Finland retained its position as the No.1 trading partner to China in Nordic Countries in 2005. The trade volume reached a new historical record at $6.25 billion, about $560 million overpass Sweden, with an increase of 13.4% over the year 2004.

We have so many reasons to celebrate for the achievements. And I once again wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to our friends from the Finnish Foreign Ministry who worked in joint efforts with us to make all this possible.

Though we are already in the year of 2006, for We Chinese still have 5 days ahead of our traditional Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival. We Chinese always take a few good points of this year of Dog, such as Loyalty and Friendship. We wish our friendship will last forever.

At the second half of this year, Finland will take over the rotating presidency of EU. We wish you all the success. During your presidency period Finland will hold the ASEM Summit and the EU-China Summit. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will lead a delegation to participate in these two summits and pay an official visit to Finland in September. Although, the detailed plan of other delegations to visit Finland is not yet finalized, I am pretty sure that will be quite some as usual. Finland will still be kept as a very attractive and favorable destination in Europe.

We are also happy to be informed that many important delegations from Finland are planning to visit China. The Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament is visiting China now. Prime Minister Vanhanen will pay an official visit to China in April. SDP Chairman, Minister of Finance Heinäluoma will officially visit China in May. All these visits will certainly further contribute to the good bilateral relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is my fourth time to host such a reception for our friends from the Finnish Foreign Ministry ever since I was posted here as the Chinese Ambassador. Every time I could always find some old friends and some new. As career diplomats, we all know that some of us may leave the current position eventually and there will be new comers. The Friendship between us will be kept forever in our hearts.

Please allow me, on behalf of my wife and all of my colleagues to wish you all a prosperous and healthy Chinese Spring Festival.

May the Sino-Finnish bilateral relations be further developed.

Marjanne! Gan Bei!

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