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Forging Ahead from Strength to Strength

Speech by Ambassador Chen Yuming at reception celebrating the 65th anniversary of China-Sweden Diplomatic Relations

(4 May 2015)

Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Åsa Romson,

Minister Kristina Persson,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

In this beautiful season of spring, when nature revitalizes to its prime, we gather together here to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Sweden.

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, I would like to extend our warm welcome to everyone of you, our dear friends.

As an old Chinese saying goes, “when drinking from the well, we should remember the well-diggers”. On the 9th of May, 65 years ago, soon after the birth of the People’s Republic of China, the then Swedish Prime Minister Mr. Tage Erlander made a strategic decision of vision and made Sweden the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai both attributed great importance to China-Sweden relations, and after thoughtful considerations, appointed General Geng Biao as the first Ambassador to Sweden. Let us pay our heart-felt tribute to the founders and pioneers of our bilateral relations. Their precious legacies will go down in history.

Time flies like an arrow. 65 years later, and to be exact, 37 days ago, the Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven made a successful visit to China where he attended the Boao Forum for Asia and launched celebrations for the 65th anniversary of China-Sweden diplomatic relations. Short as the visit was, its significance was far-reaching. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively met with Prime Minister Lofven. Together they drew a blueprint for the future of the bilateral relations.

During the successful visits that followed by Deputy Prime Minister Romson and Minister Wikstrom, the two countries reached important consensus on strengthening cooperation in various fields including business and trade, science and technology, culture and education, environment, health care and infrastructure. This opens a new chapter for the China-Sweden relations in the new era.

Over the past 65 years, the China-Sweden relations has been expanded, braving turbulence of the international environment, achieving remarkable results:

In the early years of the diplomatic relations, we traded less than 3 million dollars annually. This figure has now reached $14 billion, an increase of 4600 times. Ericsson, Electrolux, Ikea have become household names across China with repeated successes in profits and sales; the Geely - Volvo merger has become a model for bilateral investment cooperation, creating thousands of job opportunities.

In 2014, there are 6300 Chinese students studying in Sweden, and the number of Swedish students studying in China have grown to be more than 1,800.

With Sweden becoming a prospective founding member of the Asian Infrastructure investment bank (AIIB), a brand new platform for multilateral financial cooperation has been created between China and Sweden.

The past 65 years has proven that development of China-Sweden relations do bring our two peoples huge and tangible benefits. We have every reason to boost our practical collaboration to a new high.

Now it is our shared mission to implement the consensus and expand our mutually beneficial cooperation by enhancing political guidance and top-level design, while respecting each others’ core interests and major concerns.

Today, China is pressing ahead with structural reforms. Our aim is to upgrade the economy with improved quality and better efficiency, to reach a medium-to-high development level while maintaining a medium-to-high growth rate, to keep the momentum while adjusting the speed, improving both the quantity and quality.

China would like to learn from the Swedish experience in high-end manufacturing, innovation, green economy and low-carbon technologies. China also hopes to promote the connection between the Asia-Pacific and European economic circle with our "Belt and Road" initiative, namely, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative. We wish to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Sweden in international affairs including those under the UN framework.

Let us join hands on a new journey forging ahead from strength to strength towards the next 65 years of even greater achievements.

Thank you!

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