Remarks by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Inauguration Ceremony of the Consulate-General of China in Kolkata
Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, Governor of West Bengal,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Consulate-General of China in Kolkata. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I wish to express sincere thanks to the Central Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and all the distinguished guests present today for the strong support you have given for the opening of the Consulate-General.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
“China and India should live in friendship and harmony.” We are good neighbors and the friendship between our two peoples dates back to antiquity. Fahien and Xuan Zang, two eminent monks in Chinese history, went on pilgrimages to India for Buddhist scriptures, while Kumarajiva and Bodhidharma travelled east to disseminate Buddhism. In the modern era, the Chinese people and the Indian people sympathized with and supported each other in the struggles for national independence and liberation. Leaders of our two countries jointly initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which have been recognized as basic norms governing international relations. In recent years, China-India relations have maintained sound momentum of all-round growth. The two countries have established the strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity and formulated the ten-pronged strategy for deepening cooperation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid a successful visit to China last January and the two sides signed A Shared Vision for the 21st Century. In short, China-India relations are enjoying sound growth.
The improvement and growth of relations between China and India, two major emerging developing countries, meet the fundamental interests of our countries and the common aspirations of our two peoples and contribute to peace and prosperity in Asia and the whole world. We are ready to work with the Indian Government and friends from all walks of life to further expand friendly exchanges at all levels and mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields, and add more substance to the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership. I am confident that China and India will enjoy long-term friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development and will work together for world peace, development and progress.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The beautiful city of Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, is the third largest city in India and the economic, cultural and transportation center in the eastern part of the country. As early as over two hundred years ago, some people from China began to come and settle down here. Rabindranath Tagore, the renowned poet-philosopher who was born here, visited China twice in the 1920s, leaving a deep imprint in the history of friendly exchanges between China and India. He made these emotional comments while in China: “I do not know why coming to China seems to me like returning to my native soil. I always feel that India has been one of China’s extremely close relatives, and China and India have been enjoying time-honored and affectionate brotherhood.”
During his visit to India in 2006, President Hu Jintao reached agreement with the leaders of India that China would set up a Consulate-General in Kolkata while India would set up a Consulate-General in Guangzhou. This historic decision conforms to the strong desire of the two peoples for greater friendship, exchanges and cooperation and meets the need for comprehensive development of China-India relations. The official opening of the Chinese Consulate-General in Kolkata today will add new impetus to China-India friendly exchanges and cooperation and will go a long way in boosting China’s exchanges and cooperation with Kolkata, West Bengal and eastern India at large. I am convinced that the Government of West Bengal and all of you present here will continue to provide necessary help and support to our Consulate-General.