|Ambassador Chen Li's Article on HELSINKI TIMES Centenary Edition|
On December 11th, 2017, an article Building Better China-Finland Relations Together by Mr. Chen Li, Ambassador of P.R.China to Finland was published on Finnish media HELSINKI TIMES centenary edition, which reads as follows:
Building Better China-Finland Relations Together
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. With the sisu spirit of perseverance and great vision, the Finns built its country to one of the most stable, successful and competitive societies in the world. It has been actively engaged and played a more and more important role in regional and international affairs. We truly admire Finland for the extraordinary achievements it made and share the joy with Finnish people for the centennial year celebration.
This year also marks the 67th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Finland. During past decades we have become close partners, both politically and economically, in good times and bad. Finland’s centenary slogan “Together” proves extremely fitting our bilateral relations in the past year.
At the invitation of President Sauli Niinistö, President Xi Jinping concluded a successful state visit to Finland in April. The two heads of state confirmed the establishment of the future-oriented new-type partnership between the two countries by further enhancing political mutual trust and expanding cooperation to the benefit of the two peoples. As follow-up, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä visited China and participated in the Summer Davos Forum. A record number of agreements were signed during the visit, which will bring billions of euros as investments and commercial deals to Finland in the coming years. Recently, Finnish Parliament Speaker Maria Lohela paid an official visit to China and held talks with Chinese top legislator Zhang Dejiang for the 4th time. The two sides agreed to further lift bilateral ties through pragmatic cooperation and enhancing exchanges between legislative bodies.
China has maintained Finland’s biggest trading partner in Asia for consecutive 14 years and, vice-versa, Finland is China's important trading partner in Northern Europe. The Chinese investments to Finland upsurged over the past year to nearly 10 billion US dollars in total. There are approximately 400 Finnish companies operating in China with total investment over 10 billion US dollars and their investments were proved successful. Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, we believe the “Digital Silk Road” along the northeast passage and new rail express between Kouvola and Xi’an will bring brand new opportunities for our future cooperation.
With the announcement of the 2022 Winter Olympics being awarded to Beijing, more Chinese are getting on the ice and snow. The coming winter sport theme year of 2019 between China and Finland offers great opportunities for Finnish companies. We are happy to see top-class Finnish players in China’s first KHL team Kunlun Red Star, Finnish coach leading Chinese cross-country ski team, more Chinese winter sport players coming to Finland for training and bilateral cooperation on snow technologies also increasing rapidly.
The cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Finland has been dynamic. With more Chinese coming to Finland, the number of overnight stays by Chinese tourists increased by 50% in the first half of this year. We are glad to see Alipay, the popular Chinese mobile payment platform, has been gradually adopted by Finnish service industry. Chinese Lucky Air will start flying to Helsinki from Kunming via Chengdu as of winter 2018. And Finnair will launch direct flight to city Nanjing, which marks its 7th destination in China. A couple of months from now, a pair of giant pandas are expected to settle in Ähtäri Zoo in Finland. The joint project is the best gift from China to Finland for its 100th birthday. They will help to build a new bond between our two countries and peoples.
Recently, China's 19th Party Congress was concluded in Beijing. As the congress heralds a new journey for China's future development, it also creates new dynamism for cooperation between China and Finland. In the next five years, China will press ahead with supply side reform, speed up industrial upgrading, facilitate innovation, promote clean energy and green development. Reforms will deepen, access to China's domestic services sector will increase and the Belt and Road Initiative will boost international cooperation. As China rolls out these modernization agenda, it builds up the momentum of China-Finland relations and highlights Finland's unique strength in clean-tech, green economy, innovation and creative industries. We stand ready to work with our Finnish friends to seize the opportunities to deepen cooperation and boost our relations to a new height.
Congratulation to Finland on its 100th birthday and wish it every success in the next centenary! Let’s build better China-Finland relations together!