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Set sail on a long voyage

Set sail on a long voyage

Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Chen Yuming at the

Farewell Reception

20 July 2017, Stockholm

Your Excellency Minister Mikael Damberg,
State Secretary Hans Dahlgren and Annika Söder,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

A very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy. As we enjoy Sweden's summer holiday season, my wife and I would like to first express our sincere thanks to all the Swedish guests, ambassadors, and friends from the local Chinese community, for joining my farewell reception during your vacation time. The same gratitude also goes to hundreds of friends who have called or written to me in regret for being unable to come. I take all these as a demonstration of the importance given to the bilateral relations and the recognition of my work. I sincerely wish you enjoy the holidays and the sunshine in Nordic or other countries, and hope you will gather more energy for developing relations with China.

Four years have passed in an instance. On first arrival, I only knew this is a beautiful and quiet country and a modest and low-profile nation. After four years, I have further discovered the people here are peace-loving, innovative, honest and friendly. In the past four years, thanks to the care from the two leaderships and joint efforts by people from different sectors of our two countries, China-Sweden relations have achieved leap-frog development.

During my 1400 days in Sweden, I have traveled north and south and made many friends, from the Prime Minister to common people. We worked with friends from different areas and the local Chinese community and brought up a heat wave in China-Sweden relations, by breaking with tradition and making efforts that had not been tried or achieved before.

We warmly celebrated the 65th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our two countries. The Prime Minister of Sweden visited China twice in 3 years, both with full success. The two leaderships have had frequent exchanges, and discussed on building a new innovation strategic partnership between the two countries.

Sweden joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member, and has taken an active part in the "Belt and Road" initiative. The Chinese naval fleet visited Nordic countries for the first time. The Embassy-initiated green cooperation platform was launched, with two green cooperation conferences successfully convened.

Exchanges in education and culture have broadened and been well-received by our peoples. China and Sweden signed the first ever inter-governmental education cooperation agreement and the China Cultural Center opened in Stockholm. Bilateral cooperation in science and technology innovation has continued to expand. Chinese scientists have won the Nobel Prize, Volvo Environment Prize, Gregori Aminoff Prize and the Vega Medal.

In 2016, investment by Swedish companies in China grew by 42%, and China's import of technology from Sweden up 158%. Sweden opened ten new visa centers in China, and the number of Chinese tourists visiting this country increased by 26%. Even this garden of my Embassy has seen a renewal in the Nordic summer sunshine, with flowers blooming and birds singing. Have you seen all those changes over the past four years?

What does all this mean? It tells us China and Sweden share fundamental common interests, the two peoples have a strong desire for closer exchange, and there is great potential in economic and cultural cooperation. It shows we have the wisdom to identify converging interests and common understandings and find solution to difficulties.

In the past four years, we have also encountered grave challenges. As a Chinese saying goes, nothing in the world is difficult, as long as you put your heart into it. Even the Himalaya Mountains can be climbed and the Baltic Sea can be crossed. China-Sweden relations have weathered the test of times and rolled on with constant progress.

After four years, the scenery, people and life in this country have become so familiar and intimate. This beautiful country always shimmers with unique charm, no matter it is long sunny summer days or winter polar nights. When the fireworks lit the clear night sky in central Stockholm on every new year eve, we are reminded of the beauty of exchanges and integration among different cultures and civilizations.

My diplomatic mission in Sweden will soon come to a successful conclusion. I want to say a big thank-you to the Swedish Royal Family, Parliament, ministries and government agencies, local governments and especially colleagues from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for their care and help. I thank all the friends from across Sweden who have participated in and promoted our bilateral cooperation. Without your efforts, it would have been impossible to paint this delicate picture of China-Sweden relations.

My thanks also go to the local Chinese community and Chinese students, companies and media. Thank you for your firm support. For four years I have been deeply touched by your care and love for China, and your passion and energy for developing China-Sweden relations. Your activism and input have yielded happy, visible and important outcomes.

I also thank my entire staff at the Embassy, for working with me day and night and doing your best for the bilateral relations.

Finally I want to especially thank my wife Bai Xiaomei. She has used her wisdom, resilience, kindness and quite dedication to make irreplaceable contribution to the diplomatic service and relations between our two countries.

I love my great country. I love the honest and friendly Swedish people. I love these two peace-loving countries. My wife and I will soon take leave of this ancient and pretty city and our friends. Yet the unforgettable memory and blessings from the heart will stay forever. Thank you.

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