Fréttablaðið Publishes a Signed Article by Chargé d'affaires Yang Wen Entitled “Join Hands Together to Create a Bright Future”
2021-12-09 02:29

On December 8, the famous Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið published a signed article by Chargé d'affaires Yang Wen entitled “Join Hands Together to Create a Bright Future”. 

The full text is as follows:

December 8th is a special day for both Iceland and China. It was exactly 50 years ago today when China and Iceland officially established diplomatic relations. Looking back over the past half century, the China-Iceland relations have been growing steadily with mutual respect, mutual benefit and common development, thus setting an excellent example for countries with different systems, history and cultures to develop friendly relations.

Over the past 50 years, political exchanges between China and Iceland has become much more frequent. Although China and Iceland are far distant, it is unable to cut off the increasingly close ties between the two countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iceland, leaders from both sides exchanged visits frequently. Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former Premier Wen Jiabao visited Iceland, and former Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and Ólafur Grímsson, former Icelandic Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir visited China, and all achieved great success. In the past few years, we have shared joy with each other and overcome difficulties together. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir made new year greetings to the Chinese people on the day of Chinese Lunar New Year in 2021, and leaders of the two countries exchanged condolences as well as willingness and determination to fight against the pandemic together after the outbreak of COVID-19. Today, on this milestone day, President Xi Jinping and Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir exchanged congratulatory messages to express their best wishes to deepen bilateral cooperation and pass on Sino-Icelandic friendship from generation to generation.

Over the past 50 years, China and Iceland have reap substantial fruits. Iceland is the first European country that recognizes China’s market economy status, the first European country that signs currency swap agreement with China, and the first European country that signs bilateral free trade agreement with China. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and especially the implementation of China-Iceland Free Trade Agreement, the trade volume between China and Iceland has grown steadily. The two countries have carried out economic and trade cooperation in terms of energy, fisheries, medical and other aspects. Icelandic salmon has become popular for Chinese households. Electric vehicles produced by China also land in Iceland. According to statistics from Iceland, the total trade volume between China and Iceland was 238.6 thousand US dollars in 1971, and 562.52 million US dollars in 2020, 2358 times of that in 1971. The cooperation between China and Iceland in the fields of geothermal, energy, and carbon cycle technology applications has achieved remarkable results. Since its foundation in 2006, Sinopec Star Co. Ltd, a joint venture established by Arctic Green Energy Corporation and Sinopec Group, has expanded its operations into sixty different counties in China with a wide range of influence in China's geothermal industry. The contract signed between Jiangsu Sierbang Petrochemical Company and Carbon Cycling International (CRI) this September marked a new breakthrough of bilateral cooperation in the field of carbon cycling technology, and is conducive to deepening cooperation between the two countries in the field of sustainable development and environmental protection. The economic and trade cooperation between the two sides is becoming increasingly wider and closer.

Over the past 50 years, people-to-people exchange between China and Iceland have become even closer. Iceland, a land of "ice and fire", has always been mysterious and beautiful in the eyes of the Chinese people. In recent years, Chinese tourists to Iceland has increased rapidly. In 2019, the number exceeded 100 thousand, making China the Iceland's largest source of tourists in Asia and the fourth largest source of tourists in the world. China’s Juneyao Airlines is about to open direct flights between China and Iceland, which will further stimulate the enthusiasm of tourists from both countries and facilitate the friendly exchanges between the two countries. The cooperation in the fields of science, education and culture between the two countries is also deepening. The universities of China and Iceland have set up courses for learning each other’s language and culture. The students of both countries have been much more enthusiastic about learning each other’s history and culture. The Northern Lights Confucius Institute in Iceland has continuously promoted Icelanders to study martial arts in China. Both countries also translate each other’s literary works. In 2018, a translation of the Icelandic novel Hundadagar received an award in China for the best foreign language novel of the 21st century. In addition, the Chinese Embassy in Iceland also organized many cultural activities such as "Happy Chinese New Year" to actively showcase the splendid Chinese culture to the people of Iceland. These are important witnesses of the friendly exchanges and profound friendship between the two peoples.

Over the past 50 years, China and Iceland have deepened our cooperation in international fields such as the Arctic, climate change, and environmental protection. Thanks to the strong support by Iceland, China became an observer of the Arctic Council in 2013. The foundation of China-Iceland Arctic Science Observatory (CIAO) in Kárhóll in 2018 provides an important platform for cooperation in Arctic scientific research and international exchanges and cooperation. Furthermore, China and Iceland share similar ideas in international affairs in the areas such as multilateralism, climate change and environmental protection. Iceland proposes to achieve carbon neutrality before 2040 and has set a goal to completely stop the use of fossil fuels by 2050. China also aims to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Both countries can further deepen cooperation in areas such as climate change, environmental protection, and green energy, and make due contributions to protecting our shared planet.

At present, China and Iceland relations are at a new historical starting point. Reviewing the past is to create a better future. Looking ahead, Sino-Icelandic cooperation enjoys broad space and great potential in fields such as trade, tourism, renewable energy, bio-pharmaceuticals, innovative and creative industries, data center construction, and e-commerce. China and Iceland should continue to deepen economic and trade cooperation, promote cultural exchanges, and enhance coordination and cooperation on international affairs based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win results. In 2013 when meeting with former Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, both Chinese and Icelandic people possess the spirit of perseverance and pioneering. We believe that China and Iceland will enjoy broader prospects of common development and win-win cooperation. Standing at a new historical starting point, China is willing to join hands with Iceland to enhance political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, facilitate cultural exchanges, and jointly build a more glorious future for bilateral relations in the next 50 years!

 Yang Wen          

Chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Iceland