Ex-Singapore official: Zhou Enlai was center of Bandung Conference
Updated: 2015-04-22 11:46
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SINGAPORE - "Zhou Enlai was the center of the Bandung Conference," said 91-year-old Lee Khoon Choy, who met Zhou in 1955 during the first Asian-African Conference (also known as Bandung Conference), in an exclusive interview with Xinhua here.
Lee, born in 1924 in Penang, Malaysia, joined the People's Action Party in 1959 in Singapore and was elected into the Legislative Assembly at the same year. By the time he retired from public service in 1988, he had held various positions in the government, including as a Member of Parliament and senior minister of state, and served as Singapore's ambassador and high commissioner to eight countries.
However, back in 1955, when Lee first met Zhou, the then premier of the People's Republic of China, he was a reporter at the Chinese newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau. He was in Indonesia to cover the Bandung Conference, a gathering of leaders and representatives from 29 Asian and African countries, most of them newly independent, to promote economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism.
The conference adopted a final communique containing ten principles, which underlined respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and recognition of the equality of all races and the equality of all nations.
Even though more than half a century has passed, Lee can still remember many details. He recalled that Zhou and his "strong" Chinese delegation including Chen Yi, the then foreign minister, were the center of attraction as soon as they arrived.
"They received a warm welcome from overseas Chinese. They gave the delegation a very warm applause and some even set off firecrackers to celebrate."
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Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pakistan and attend the Asian-African Summit and activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in Indonesia from April 20 to 24.
Attend the opening ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;
Meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo;
Attend the closing ceremony of the Asian-African Summit;
Historical walk from Savoy Homann Hotel to Gedung Merdeka;
Attend activities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference;