Closer to China-Speech by Chinese Ambassador Mr. Sun Yuxi to Indian Youth Delegation to China

Your Excellency, Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyar,

Minister for Panchayati Raj &Youth Affairs & Sports

Mr. Shivshankar Menon and Mr. S.K.Arora

Dear young colleagues,

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

It's my pleasure to welcome Indian Youth Delegation to visit China. Your host is Chinese President Hu Jintao, who paid a successful visit to India last November and issued the Joint Declaration with Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh, to pursue the ten-pronged strategy to develop our good relations. At that time, one of the most important decisions made by President Hu was to invite 500 youths from India over the next five years. So you are the first group of the President's guests. Last year, Indian youth delegation is the guest of Chinese Premier.

We warmly welcome Indian friends from all walks of life to China.

As great civilization and friendly neighbors, the cultural contacts between China and India peoples provide a strong foundation for enduring friendship between our two countries. More than 1300 years ago, the Chinese monk Xuan Zang climbed snow mountains and crossed dangerous deserts to come to India. He connected two ancient civilizations with friendship, peace and mutual respect. Doctor Kotnis went to China and devoted his young life to the Chinese Anti-Fascism Movement. I recall these examples just to show how firm and deep the friendship between our peoples.

Now we are the two largest developing countries of the world with unique history, similar objectives and common opportunities. The relationship between China and India is of global and strategic significance. We agree that there is enough space for us to grow together. Each side welcomes and takes a positive view of the development of the other, and considers the development of either side as a positive contribution to peace, stability and prosperity of Asia and the world.

Friendship between two persons is based on knowing and understanding, which will lead to trust, friendship and cooperation. The same principle is true between two countries. Despite the frequent official interactions between our two nations, there still remains an information gap between us. Last year, India received more than 40,000 tourists from China while 630,000 Indian tourists traveled to China. But it is still a small number comparing our combined population of 2.4 billion. We must intensify our efforts to narrow this information gap so that our people, particularly our youth are better informed about each other. So your delegation will play a role as a bridge between China and India peoples. Your seeing is believing. You will see a true China with your own eyes. The Chinese people will also understand more about an incredible India when they meet you.

Over the past 28 years since reform and opening up, China has made amazing achievements of economic and social development. Our GDP reached over 20 trillion USD at the end of 2006, nearly 50 times of the GDP in 1978. Foreign Trade Volume accounts to more than 1.7 trillion USD, the third place in the world. China ranks the third worldwide in factory output. Internet subscribers reach 110 million, ranking second in the world.

On the other hand, China is still a developing country. Large population and underdevelopment are two of the most difficult challenges China has to face. In per-capita terms, China remains a low-income developing country, ranked roughly 100th in the world. Nearly 25 million people in China's rural areas are still living in poverty. Shortage of resources, environmental problems and a lack of coordination between economic and social development together pose obstacles to the sustainable development of China's economy. Taking these into consideration, China shall set the goal of promoting economic and social development while continuously improving its people's life as its central task. We propose to build a Harmonious Society internally, and a Harmonious World externally.

This time, the Chinese side arranges your delegation to visit Beijing, Kunming, Nanjing, Wuxi and Shanghai which cover both the eastern and western parts of China. I think it will help you know China comprehensively and feel the warm hospitality from Chinese hosts. You are friendly envoys of China-India bilateral relations. Our two countries everlasting friendship will be built with your efforts.

For the first step to be closer to China, I would like to invite all of you to a get-together with Chinese young diplomats in our embassy this evening. Please start your journey to China from my embassy.

Once again, welcome to China and bon voyage.

Thank you.

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