Speech by Chinese Ambassador Mr. Zhang Yan to Indian Youth Delegation to China

Your Excellency, Minister M. S. Gill,

Members of Delegation,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very happy to attend today's valedictory session of your workshop and to welcome you formally to visit China as the honored guests of Chinese President Hu Jintao. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Sports and Youth Ministry of India for making the visit to China of the second group of 100 outstanding Indian youths possible.

I believe Mr. Gokhale, Joint Secretary of the East Asian Division of Ministry of External Affairs, and my political counselor Hu Zhaoming have already given you enough details about China and China-India relations. Here, I just want to add a few words.

The exchange of visits of 100-member youth delegations of both countries in five successive years from 2007 to 2011 is an important decision made by leaders of China and India in 2006 when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited India. It has already become important annual events of our bilateral relations. The visits have produced a positive impact on promoting the mutual understanding and friendship between youths of the two countries, helped build trust and advanced cooperation between our two countries and two peoples. I am of the view that it is a far-sighted decision by the leaderships of our two countries for the youths are the future of our two countries. The exchanges and interactions between the young people will generate invaluable good will and friendship which can provide a solid basis for the future development of a stronger and fruitful relationship between our two countries.

Your visit to China is taking place at the moment when China-India relationship has entered a fast track of development. With direct care of leaders of our two countries, our relationship has witnessed steady and rapid progress in all fields. Frequent contacts and exchanges between our leaders have ensured a strong growth of our relationship. Following the visit of President Hu to India in 2006, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a successful to China in January 2008, during which the two sides signed A Shared Vision for the 21st century of China and India, aiming at promotion of building a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity through further advancing China-India Strategic Partnership.

As two fast-developing countries, China and India have enjoyed rapid expansion in trade and economic cooperation on a mutually beneficial basis. Last year the total volume of bilateral trade reached US$38.7 billion. In the first quarter of this year, China became the No. 1 trading partner of India.

In the international and regional affairs, two countries share a lot in common and are cooperating closely in the world forum such as UN, WTO, G8+5 and the regional forum such as ASEAN, East Asia Summit, the China-India-Russia trilateral forum, SAARC, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, just to name a few.

On issues of climate change, food and energy security, counter-terrorism and regional hotspots, China and India are working closely with an aim to promote world peace and development and safeguard the interests of developing countries.

Today the simultaneous rise of China and India is among the most important developments of our times. Never it will be overemphasized the importance of China and India relations, which have gone beyond bilateral context and acquired global dimensions and strategic importance. The Asian age cannot come without the development of China and India. China and India are partners of development instead of competitors.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Currently, the Chinese people are engaging in the two major endeavors, one is the relief and restoration work of Sichuan Earthquake and the other is the preparation of Beijing Olympic Games.

The strong earthquake measuring 8.0 on Ritchie scale taking place in Sichuan Province last month claimed heavy loss of human lives and properties. The Chinese people, however, bravely face all difficulties and hardships. With the joint efforts of the Chinese Government and people, we have overcome challenges and achieved substantive progress in disaster relief. Now the reconstruction work is under way orderly and effectively and we are confident that the disaster-stricken area will soon recover. Here I would like to once again underline our gratitude to the Indian Government and people for the timely assistance This gesture of friendship has boosted our confidence to overcome difficulties.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With Beijing Olympic Games only 40 days away, the Chinese people are well prepared and ready to welcome athletes and guests from all over the world. Your trip to China will also include the visits to some of the Olympic venues in Beijing. I am sure during your stay in China, wherever you go, you will sense the atmosphere and spirit generated by the Olympic Games. China will give the world the best Games in the history. The Torch Relay in Delhi has made its contribution to the success of the Games.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The four cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guiyang and Fuzhou that you are going to visit, each has its own history, culture, economic and ethnic characteristics, through which you will see a diversified China, a fast-developing China, and a China friendly to India. At the same time, you will also see the challenges China is facing and even backwardness and room for improvements. Seeing is believing. We hope through your personal eyes and your interaction with youths and people from all walks of life in China, you can have a better understanding of China and become goodwill ambassadors of our two countries in the future. To warm you up, I would like to invite all of you to a get-together party with young diplomats in my embassy tomorrow evening.

Finally let me welcome you by the most popular greeting in China today, "Beijing Huanying Ni", or Beijing Welcomes you in English! I wish you a good time in China and come back with fond memory.

Thank you!

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