Remarks by Ambassador Qiu Xuejun at the Reception for Eritrean Friends from Various Social Sectors
（From Chinese Embassy in The State of Eritrea）
By Qiu Xuejun
Chinese Ambassador to the State of Eritrea
June 17,2015, Asmara, Eritrea
Eritrean Friends from various social sectors,
Chinese faculty members and Eritrean students at the Confucius Institute,
Members of Chinese Medical Team to Eritrea,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening.Welcome to the reception held for Eritrean friends from various social sectors. This is the first time for the Chinese Embassy in the State of Eritrea to host such a reception specially for representatives of Eritrean friends from all walks of life who are interested in and care for the development of China-Eritrea relations.
When I first set my foot on the land of Eritrea, breathing the fresh air of Asmara, strolling on streets full of flowers every where, enjoying the magnificent clouds of different formations in the sky, I felt so relaxed and happy not only because of the pleasant environment, but also the hospitality and friendship of the people of Eritrea towards Chinese people. When I came across with the lovely and smiling Eritrean kids on the streets, they often came to me and extended hands to me greeting loudly "China, China" or "Nihao". By seeing such warm and friendly faces and smiles, I have no doubt that they will be the torch carriers of China-Eritrea friendship.This friendship is not established and enhanced in a single day. Some present here today are from government agencies of Eritrea, some are from non-governmental sectors, some are Eritrean medical doctors and students who have been working closely with their Chinese Colleagues of Chinese Medical Team and Chinese teachers of Confucius Institute. As a Chinese saying goes, all the persons of virtue are here this evening. The fact that we can enjoy such a friendly relationship and so fruitful cooperation between China and Eritrea is the result of the hard work and the enthusiastic participation of the people like you present here today. It is the support of Eritrean friends from all walks of life that makes the foundation of China-Eritrea friendship as solid as rock.
In fact our bilateral exchanges can be dated back two thousand years ago.When the traffic was inconvenient and the two countries are separated by thousands of miles, our two peoples started to interact with each other. In 100 AD , the Messengers from the ancient Eritrean port city of Adulis reached Luoyang, the Capital City of China's Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) across the Silk Road. It is the earliest contact recorded in the history of exchanges between our two peoples, and the Adulis Messengers were the earliest envoys from African countries to visit China. China's porcelains were shipped to Adulis through the maritime silk road. For example, a pot exhibited in Northern Red Sea Region Museum was excavated in Adulis. Four Chinese characters engraved on the pot tell us that the pot is from China. I have another interesting story to share with you. Du Huan, the Chinese traveler in Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) once traveled to West Asia and North Africa, then returned to China from Massawa Port. Some of you have been to China for scholarship and training programs or just a visit. Mr.Mohamed Salih Husen, the composer of "The Song of China-Eritrea Friendship" and Mr.Omar Ali, the head of Rakuba band are their representatives. You are today's Adulis Messengers and the Chinese people working in Eritrea are today's Du Huan.
Please allow me to brief you the latest development of the China-Eritrean relations.
The Chinese Vice-foreign Minister Zhang Ming visited Eritrea in January, and cosigned with Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed a visa exemption agreement for the holders of diplomatic and service passports, providing convenience for the exchange of official visits between our two countries. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from the Foreign Ministry and the Immigration Office of Eritrea for their hard work on the signing and implementation of this agreement. Mr. Hagos Gebrehiwet, Head of PFDJ Economic Affairs Department and Mr.Berhane Habtemariam, Minister of Fiance, visited China in March. These official visits at high level between our two countries have added a new impetus to the development of our bilateral relations.
The Chinese government aided project of College of Science, Eritrean Institute of Technology has been formally launched at the end of last year, and the construction of this project is moving forward smoothly. This is the largest aid project that the Chinese government has implemented in Eritrea since the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries. The Solar Power Drip Irrigation Project in Southern Region donated by Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China was completed by Xinjiang Tianye Company early this year. The project uses advanced technologies and yields good results. The project will play an exemplary role in exploring modern agriculture and increasing agricultural production of Eritrea. Three schools aided by the Chinese government in Asmara, Mendefera and Gindae respectively have improved local school conditions and are playing an important role for local educational causes. The Chinese companies and workers have not only completed in constructing these projects with good quality, but also helped training the local workers, and gained respect and friendship from the Eritrea people.
Health sector is an important part in the field of pragmatic cooperation. Since sending its first medical team to Eritrea in September 1997, China has successively dispatched 8 medical teams of 150 person times to Eritrea as of today. The Chinese medical doctors have been working here for 18 years, and have treated and cured numerous patients and kept pain and suffering away from them. A female interpreter of Chinese Medical Team gave her life in a traffic accident, and was buried in Eritrea forever. she will be forever missed and remembered by both Chinese and Eritrean peoples. Many Eritrean medical doctors and patients have become good friends of the Chinese medical doctors. The eighth Chinese Medical Team to Eritrea will soon accomplish its mission in July, and the ninth medical team will take its turn. Members of the eighth Chinese Medical Team are here with us today, we wish them a pleasant trip back home, and hope that they will continue to care for and contribute to the development of China-Eritrea relations. China and Eritrea will continue to strengthen the cooperation in medical and health area.
We have ripped fruitful results in the fields of education and culture. The Chinese Ministry of Education has trained Eritrean talents through offering Chinese government scholarships. In addition, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce also provides Eritrea with a number of short-term training and degree education opportunities in China. Talents are the core element of national development. The Eritreans who have gone to China for studying and training have made positive contributions to national construction of Eritrea and China-Eritrea friendship after returning home upon completion of their study and training. Since the Confucius Institute at National Commission for Higher Education was established in June of 2013, Chinese language program has been developing very rapidly, many Eritrean students registered to study Chinese language and made good progress in mastering the language. The Confucius Institute held successfully two sessions of the "Chinese Bridge Competition" in the past two years. In this process, many returned Eritrean students from China helped and participated in the activities organized by the Confucius Institute using their talents of music and Chinese language, contributed a lot to the development and growth of the Confucius Institute. In a few minutes, students of the Institute will show a little artistic talent of learning Chinese language and culture, let's patiently wait for their colorful performance.
There are more cultural exchanges to talk about. For example, since 2011 the Chinese Embassy has participated in the Book Fair held in Asmara Expo every year, and donated books to Eritrean readers. In April, the Chinese State Administration of Press and Publication, Radio, Film and Television signed agreement with Eri-TV, donating films and television programs. We hope these programs will be enjoyed by the Eritrean viewers and enhance the understanding between our two peoples. Three Eritrean painters who are also among us today will attend the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale held in this autumn with their art works, congratulations!
These achievements did not come by themselves, but are result of the help and support rendered by all the Eritrean friends present and not present here. The selfless help you have provided to the Chinese Embassy, Chinese medical team, the Confucius Institute and the Chinese enterprises, and all that has been done to promote China-Eritrea friendship will be remembered in our hearts. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy as well as the Chinese community in Eritrea, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all the friends who care for and support China-Eritrea friendship and cooperation.
May I offer a toast,
To the further enhancement of friendship between our two peoples,
To the health of our friends! Cheers!