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Remarks by Ambassador Gui Congyou at the Opening Ceremony of the Suzhou Silk Culture Week
(14 October 2017)
2017/10/23

Respected Professor Cecilia Lindqvist,

Dear guests,

Friends,

I'm very glad to join you at the China Cultural Center in Stockholm for the opening of the Suzhou Silk Culture Week. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, I warmly welcome the delegation from Suzhou and all the guests present at the opening ceremony today.

China is the world's largest silk producer, and Suzhou is China's famous home of silk where the silk industry and business flourish. During this Culture Week, I look forward to seeing Suzhou silk give refreshing visual effects and showcase the unique charm of Chinese silk art with its novel design and fashionable vitality.

Silk is a symbol of ancient Chinese civilization, and its origin can be traced back to the Neolithic Yangshao culture. In fact, it was the Swedish archaeologist Mr. Johan Gunnar Andersson who discovered the Yangshao culture in China and named it as such. Since the opening of the Silk Road in the 2nd century, especially with the prosperity of the Maritime Silk Road in the Tang and Song dynasties, silk has been sold to Europe as the important embodiment of Chinese civilization. In Sweden, silk is always a symbol of life style. It not only quickly conquered the dignitaries, but also gradually spread to ordinary households. Sweden is an important node on the ancient Maritime Silk Road. More than 270 years ago, the Swedish fleet, among which there was the merchant vessel "Götheborg", traveled between the two countries to ship China's finest silk, porcelain and tea to Sweden and then sell to the European continent, and also brought fine goods of Sweden and Europe to China, which not only promoted mutual understanding between China and Sweden, but also boosted communication between the East and West civilizations. The Swedish famous explorer Mr. Sven Hedin wrote the book Series of Western Regions' Exploration and described in detail the hustle and bustle along the ancient Silk Road. In 2006, the Swedish replica ship of "Götheborg" retook the Maritime Silk Road and sailed to China where it was warmly welcomed.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed to jointly build the Belt and Road, aiming to inherit the Silk Road spirit of "peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit" as well as to add even richer modern significance to it. In 2015, Sweden officially became a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. After the success of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China last May, the first Belt and Road Forum for China-Sweden Cooperation was held in Stockholm not long ago. I believe that through joint participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Sweden will enjoy deeper and closer relationship,and the traditional friendship between peoples of the two countries will go further and more smoothly!

At last, I wish the Suzhou Silk Culture Week a complete success.

Thank you!

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