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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun on the occasion of the Youth Open Day for 2011 EU-China Year of Youth

2011/05/09

(May 6, 2011)

Your Excellency, Mr. Van Oosterom,
Dear young friends,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Today marks the 36th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the European Union. On behalf of the Chinese embassy, I would like to welcome you all for attending today's Youth Open Day. As part of EU-China Year of Youth celebration, I am sure today's activity will help promote mutual understanding between youth of our two countries and deepen the friendship between our peoples.

At the 12111 China-EU summit in 2009, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Mr. Barroso, President of the European Commission jointly announced the year of 2011 as EU-China Year of Youth. This is the very first theme year celebration co-sponsored by China and the EU. This is also the largest people-to-people exchange between our two sides to date. All these demonstrate the high expectations of our leaders toward the youth, as well as their foresight in deepening the friendly relations between the two sides. I strongly believe that the success of the celebrations will cultivate a large number of youth envoys and inject new vitality to the development of our bilateral relations.

Though China and Europe are far from each other, we do have a long history in bilateral exchanges. Particularly since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1975, exchanges and cooperation have been developing on a fast track. As a result, China-EU relationship has become one of the most important bilateral relations in the world. Political trust between us is strengthening and we have increasingly close coordination and cooperation over major international and regional issues. Common interests between us are increasing. The EU has become China's largest trade partner and largest supplier of technology. China is the EU's second largest trade partner and fastest growing export market. Mutual trust among peoples has been consolidated. Exchanges in the field of culture, education, media and the youth are booming. While the international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, the strategic, comprehensive and mutually beneficial nature of the China-EU relationship stands out. Both sides should seize this opportunity, broaden and deepen our cooperation, so as to further develop our bilateral relationship on the right track.

Here are two numbers we both know pretty well: China has a population of 1.3 billion and the EU has 500 million. People not only decide the direction of the development of China-EU relations, they are also the beneficiary of our bilateral relations. Mutual understanding and trust between our peoples is of vital importance to the development of a more stable and healthier China-EU relationship. As Chinese Ambassador, I strongly believe that without mutual trust, Sino-EU relationship cannot sustain stable and healthy development, and without mutual trust between our peoples, political trust will be led to nowhere. Since my assumption of this post 3 years ago, strengthening mutual trust of our two peoples, especially mutual understanding and friendship between the youth has become an important part of this embassy's daily work. For this purpose, we've established a platform named 'Reading China: Youngsters' Dialogue', and on regular basis we invite young Dutch students to come to the embassy and exchange views with our young diplomats, old as well, including myself, on topics of common interests. By doing so, we have not only enhanced mutual understanding, but also narrowed gaps between us. Indeed this practice is warmly welcomed by Dutch students. In the future, we'll continue to open up more channels, establish more platforms and encourage more people to participate in the building of our bilateral relations. We'll continue to promote exchanges and communications between our two peoples so as to consolidate the mutual trust between us.

Dear young friends, Chinese President Hu Jintao once pointed out that the friendly relations between countries lies in the friendship of their people, which grows in the deep hearts of the youth generation. I sincerely hope that young people from both sides could always keep your mind open and view the world, especially the part which you're unfamiliar with, in an objective, positive and evolving way. I also hope you, as guardians of world peace and progress, will learn from each other and respect each other. I firmly believe, by working hand in hand, you can make more contribution in promoting Sino-EU and Sino-Dutch relations.

Thank you.

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