|Speech by Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu at the Reception Upon His Arrival|
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Colleagues from Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thirty-six days ago, my wife and I stepped on this beautiful land with curiosity and excitement. I want to share with you our first impressions of this island.
It was a Saturday afternoon. When the car was running from the airport to the city along the Kingston Harbour, we saw very little traffic on the road. But the distant Blue Mountain suddenly caught our eyes. The mountain peaks were partly hidden in a mist. And nearby the sea was so calm, looking like a lake, or rather a big mirror. Oh, what a fairyland!
Usually we find such scenery of enchanting beauty in the traditional Chinese paintings. But not much in reality! At that time, the great discoverer Christopher Columbus's name flashed into my mind. I had to echo the precise comments he made some 600 years ago when he first set eyes on Jamaica: "It is the fairest island eyes have beheld".
To be honest, we fell in love with Jamaica at our first sight. I knew then and there that we were posted in a wonderful country. Now having looked around in the country and made some initial contacts with its people, we feel all the more happy for being able to spend some years in this New World made up of picturesque landscape, friendly people and splendid culture.
Tonight we'd like to take this opportunity to share our emotion with all of you and to officially say hello to Jamaica--- the land of "wood and water". This is a land of pride with highly respected National Heroes. This is a land of art with world-famous musicians and dancers coming forth in large numbers. And this is a land of sports blessed with many first class athletes.
Perhaps, for us, to say thanks is more appropriate than just to say hello. We should thank many Jamaican friends from both within and without the Government and those from all walks of life, who have, for years, made valuable contributions to the smooth development of Sino-Jamaican relations. As the new Ambassador of China, I want to express my sincere wish to work more closely with you to bring our relationship to a new high.
Our thanks should also go to the local Chinese Commnity represented by CBA, CCA and CFS as well as other fellow Chinese having come here in more recent years.
I know most of you are the 3rd or 4th generation Chinese born in Jamaica, and you have been living in harmony with people of other ethnic groups. While contributing your share to the social progress and economic development of this country, you have always been in support of efforts to strengthen the friendship between Jamaica and your motherland. The year 2004 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Chinese arrival in the island. My Embassy will certainly get involved and join you in celebrating this great event.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There is a famous line from a classical Chinese poem, which reads as follows: "Bosom friends afar bring distant lands nearer." Here I'd like to borrow this line to describe China-Jamaica relations. Although China and Jamaica are far apart geographically, yet the long-standing friendship between the two countries and two peoples has made us living like the next-door neighbors.
Jamaica will remain one of the most important cooperative partners of China in the Caribbean Region, and China will remain one of the most reliable development partners of Jamaica. I am quite confident that our relations will surely grow from strength to strength.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I know to make long speech is unpopular, especially at the time when food is to be served. May I conclude by inviting you to raise your glass and join me in a toast.
To the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Jamaica.
To the prosperity of Jamiaca.
To the good health of every one present tonight.