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Xi Jinping Visits Tasmania of Australia, Promoting Local-Level Cooperation and Deepening People's Friendship
2014/11/18

On November18 local time, President Xi Jinping paid a visit to Tasmania of Australia.

It was in late spring and early summer, Tasmania was embraced by green grass, forming agreeable scenery. When Xi Jinping's special plane arrived at the Hobart International Airport in the capital of Tasmania, Xi Jinping and his wife Mme. Peng Liyuan were warmly received by Administrator of Tasmania Alan Blow and his wife and Premier of Tasmania Will Hodgman and his wife. The representative of the indigenous people announced the welcoming speech in the traditional manner. The local children presented bouquets and the local specialty of Tasmania Lavender Bear to Xi Jinping and his wife. The students waved the national flags of China and Australia in the cheering of "hello" in Chinese. Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan walked to the children and waved to them kindly.

Xi Jinping met with Administrator Blow and Premier Hodgman of Tasmania in the Government House. Xi Jinping stressed that I have personally witnessed the friendly exchanges between China and Tasmania. In 2001, while I was the governor of Fujian Province, I received the visit of then-Premier Jim Bacon of Tasmania. The sister state relationship between Tasmania and Fujian has witnessed 33 years of development and is getting better and better, which has boosted local-local exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. Tasmania enjoys distinctive features in Australia and has great potential to cooperate with China. I hope that the two sides take advantage of the establishment of the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership as well as the construction of the free trade zone to expand cooperation in economy and trade, agriculture, forestry, tourism and other fields.

On behalf of the Tasmanian people, Blow and Hodgman warmly welcomed President Xi Jinping's visit. They said that President Xi Jinping has been an old friend of the Tasmanian people, and his visit is of historic significance. China is Tasmania's largest trading partner and the largest source of investment, international students and tourists. They have just signed new cooperation documents with Fujian Province. They hope that President Xi Jinping's visit could make more Chinese people know Tasmania and thus enhance the bilateral exchanges and cooperation.

Xi Jinping also visited the family of Bacon, the late former Premier of Tasmania. Xi Jinping said that when Mr. Bacon visited China in 2001, I signed with him the joint statement on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the sister state relationship between Fujian and Tasmania, and awarded him honorary citizenship of Fujian Province. What happened that year is still vivid in my mind. He liked the song of Waves of Gulangyu, so I presented a cassette of this song to him. He invited me that year to visit Tasmania and I accepted. My current visit can be described as fulfilling my promise to my friend. Mr. Bacon was an old friend of the Chinese people, making active contributions to promoting the China-Australia friendship and pushing forward the cooperation between China and Tasmania. We miss him. I am pleased that you continue your dedication to friendly exchanges and cooperation with China. You are welcome to visit China often, especially Fujian, making greater contributions to promoting the friendship between China and Australia.

Bacon's widow Honey said that Bacon had profound and friendly feelings towards China, particularly towards Fujian, during his lifetime and always hoped to receive President Xi Jinping in his hometown. She thanked President Xi Jinping for specially taking time to visit them. Meeting with President Xi Jinping in their hometown fulfilled a long-cherished wish of Bacon. All her family have inherited the traditional friendship with China. She herself is a member of the Australia-China Friendship Association.

Bacon's eldest son Mark is President of the Tasmania Branch of the Australia-China Business Council (ACBC). He said that he will actively promote the economic and trade cooperation with China. Bacon's second son Scott is a Labor Party member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. He pointed at his seven-month-old daughter in his wife's arms and said that they will take her to China in the future.

The atmosphere of the meeting was warm and friendly. The Bacon family showed Xi Jinping the photos of Bacon's visits to China during his lifetime. Xi Jinping recalled the past while looking at the photos. Seeing the photos of Bacon with him, Xi Jinping said emotionally, "I have also kept these photos."

Honey presented Xi Jinping an oil painting she herself painted, in which the blue sky and sea exhibited tranquility and harmony, displaying the beautiful natural scenery of Tasmania.

This May, 16 primary-year students of Scotch Oakburn College at Launceston of Tasmania wrote a letter to Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan, introducing the unique animals, plants and natural landscape in the local area, and expressing with unskilled Chinese characters their wish to invite Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan to visit Tasmania. Shortly afterwards, they received a reply from Xi Jinping and his wife, expressing expectation to visit their hometown and encouraging them to learn Chinese well. Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan, while in Tasmania, specially arranged their time to visit these children.

Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan came to the lawn of the Government House, and were welcomed by the children in Chinese. Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan smilingly greeted the children. Xi Jinping said that one of our main purposes of coming here is to meet with you, as you stand for hope and future. I know that you and a lot of your fellow students are learning Chinese, and I hope that you learn more about the Chinese history and culture.

Xi Jinping and Administrator Blow planted together a magnolia sapling, and the children watered the sapling. Xi Jinping told the children that we should sow the seeds of the China-Australia friendship and make them take root, germinate and flourish. The youngsters of the two countries are the seeds of friendship. I hope that you will come to China to study and travel in the future. You may continue to write letters to me, and I am willing to share your good news.

Xi Jinping and Mme. Peng Liyuan waved good-bye to the children, and the children said good-bye in Chinese.

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