World / Europe

From 1979 to 2014

By Ambassador Liu Biwei (China Daily USA) Updated: 2014-04-24 03:48

At the invitation of Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and His Royal Highness Prince Consort Henrik will leave today on a five-day state visit to China. This will be the second time for Her Majesty the Queen to step on the Chinese soil after she did it 35 years ago.

In September 1979, Her Majesty kicked off her first official friendly visit to China when this country just initiated reform and opening-up. The visit took place at a most special time and was of profound historical significance, as it made Her Majesty the first Head of State from a western nation to visit China since reform and opening-up policy was adopted in 1978.

China has witnessed tremendous changes over the past 35 years of reform and opening-up. With its national economy growing rapidly, China now has become the world's second largest economy and the biggest foreign exchange reserves holder, and ranks the first in terms of trade in goods, all of which is often regarded as a new miracle in the history of human economic development. Its infrastructure construction has undergone rocketing development; its highways and high-speed railways have radiated in all directions; its informatization has been constantly deepened; its people have been living an increasingly more convenient and comfortable life. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, and China has successfully transformed from a low-income to an upper-middle-income country. Consumption has been continuously growing in scope. Color TVs, air conditioners and other appliances have been widely used among the Chinese households, and cars and other high-end durables have also become more and more popular. Both the rapid growth of traditional cultural industries like entertainment and audiovisual production and the swift rise of emerging cultural sectors such as network and animation have enriched peoples' lives. Beijing and Shanghai were among the cities Her Majesty visited 35 years ago, and this time she will pay a revisit. I believe she will have many pleasant memories together with new feelings.

It is a good coincidence that the upcoming visit of Her Majesty to China takes place at a time of similarly special significance. In November 2013, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was successfully concluded, where the important decision was adopted to comprehensively deepen the reform. There came up quite a number of new ideas such as to let the market play a decisive role in allocating resources, and to modernize the government systems and governance capabilities. More than 330 major reform measures were formulated pertaining to 15 major issues such as how to accelerate the improvement of the modern market system, how to transform government functions, how to further develop an open economy, how to promote an integrated development of urban and rural areas, how to make ecological progress, and how to strengthen the socialist democratic political system. China's reform and opening-up process has thus ushered in a new chapter. This country will enjoy more efficient, more equitable and more sustainable development in the future and will take on new looks at an even larger scale.

Along with China's fast development over the past 35 years, the friendly relations between China and Denmark have become increasingly closer. Before coming to Denmark, I had read through the historical archive of the 1979 visit of the Royal Couple to China. Besides meeting the Chinese leaders, the focus of the visit at that time was to learn more about the Chinese culture, history and local customs. This time, however, most of the program has to do with the bilateral relations. There will be conferences on China Denmark cooperation, ground-breaking ceremonies of the Sino-Danish University Center and a Lego factory, and of course, visits to various Danish companies in China. The big difference in the programs of the two visits can best prove the much progress in the development of the bilateral relations.

From 1979 to 2014, China's reform and opening-up drive has never ceased, and the friendship between China and Denmark has grown with great achievements. Now China is to comprehensively deepen its reform, which will not only give new impetus to its own development, but also create new opportunities for Sino-Danish cooperation. Our two countries enjoy great potential of cooperation in many areas including agriculture and food, energy efficiency and environmental protection, health and medical care, as well as care services for the elderly. I am very happy to learn from Danish friends that a large group of Danish businessmen and people from other sectors will participate in the upcoming visit of the Royal Couple to China. I believe the enthusiasm of Danish friends about China and about further cooperation with China will meet up with positive and warm response from the Chinese side. The China trip of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness will definitely make a complete success!

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