Speech by Ambassador Cheng at the Terracotta Warrior VIP Preview Ceremony

The Honourable Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria,

The Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp,

Ms Janet Whiting AM, President of the Council of Trustees,

Mr Tony Ellwood AM, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria,

Mr Jeff Xu, Founder and Managing Director of Golden Age,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening!

I have the great pleasure to attend this VIP preview of the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition. This exhibition represents another highlight in this year's China-Australia cultural and arts exchange. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Australia, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on the exhibition, and my sincere gratitude to Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, National Gallery of Victoria and the principal sponsor Golden Age.

I know that the Terracotta Warriors are very familiar with their way to Australia. In 1982, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia, Australia was chosen as the destination for the first ever overseas tour of the Terracotta Warriors. At that time, the Terracotta Warriors traveled to six capital cities. In 2010, they were once again on display in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. This is the third time for Terracotta Warriors coming to Australia, and it is also the second time they're back at NGV. This year's exhibition also includes more than 150 jade and bronze artifacts that date from the Western Zhou through to the Han dynasties, as well as gunpowder paintings by Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guoqiang. These works will provide a rare opportunity for Australians to gain insights into China's ancient civilization and contemporary art.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Terracotta Warriors are a national treasure of China, often referred to as "the eighth wonder of the world". It is a great representation of the glorious ancient Chinese civilization.

The Terracotta Warriors come from Xi'an, one of the four ancient civilization capitals of the world. It's interesting to note that Xi'an was also where the ancient Silk Road started more than two thousand years ago. That "Silk Road" built up the bridge for exchanges and mutual learning between the ancient civilizations of the East and West.

Adhering to the "Silk Road Spirit", President Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013. The core concept of this initiative is to achieve common development through a global partnership of connectivity. The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, held last month with the participation of over 6,000 guests from 150 countries and more than 90 international organizations, has opened a new phase in the Belt and Road development. In the future, together with all partners, we will make greater efforts to promote high-quality Belt and Road projects. We will energetically pursue open, green and clean cooperation. We will stick to high-standard, people-centered, and sustainable development, with more benefits for people of all countries.

Premier Andrews and representative from the Australian Federal Government also attended the forum. Last year, Victorian Government joined the Belt and Road Initiative with great vision. I really look forward to the early outcomes of collaboration between China and Victoria in this regard. I strongly believe that the existing exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, education and culture between China and Victoria will make even greater progress in the future.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Over the past 70 years, China has made tremendous political, economic, social and cultural progresses, and has also made important contributions to world peace and development. China in the new era will embrace the world with more comprehensive reforms and more opening-up initiatives, and will work with other countries to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

I sincerely hope that China and Australia can work together to enhance mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation, with a view to advancing the healthy and steady development of our comprehensive strategic partnership.

Thank you!

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of Australia
Address: 15 Coronation Drive, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
Tel: 0061-2-62283999, Fax: 0061-2-62283836
E-mail: chinaemb_au@mfa.gov.cn
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