Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Sunday wished all Chinese a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year, and looked forward to even closer ties between Denmark and China.
“On the occasion of the Chinese New Year, it is my pleasure to extend my warmest greetings to all Chinese in China and Denmark,” Thorning-Schmidt said in a statement.
“It is my firm intention to bring the Danish-Chinese relationship and cooperation a big step forward,” she added.
The statement was read out by Heidi Wang, member of Copenhagen City Council, at a Chinese New Year gala event for the Chinese community in Copenhagen on Sunday.
Thorning-Schmidt noted that 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, was an important year for Sino-Danish relations, which celebrated both the centenary of modern China after the revolution in 1911 and the year when Thorning-Schmidt’s center-left coalition government took power following a general election in September.
Denmark’s Social Democratic Party, of which Thorning-Schmidt is the Chairman, has traditionally enjoyed good relations with China.
Moreover, Thorning-Schmidt warmly hosted Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi during Yang’s visit to Copenhagen in October 2011, when a number of issues on strategic and economic importance were discussed.
While Denmark and China have enjoyed 62 years of warm diplomatic ties, Thorning-Schmidt said she wanted to deepen bilateral relations in the Year of the Dragon, which is the traditional Chinese symbol of good luck, prosperity and power.
“It is therefore with great confidence and expectations that I look forward to the year of the Dragon,” she added.
These bilateral relations are likely to be even more important when Europe and Denmark are facing economic challenges, while China’s economy continues to grow at a healthy pace.
Copenhagen’s Chinese cummunity celebrated the arrival of the dragon year with traditional dragon dances in front of the City Hall and at the gala event organized by local Chinese associations.