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H.E. Ambassador Cheng Jingye's Remarks at the Unveiling Ceremony of Confucius Classroom at Woodroffe Primary School
2017/06/28

The Honorable Eva Dina Lawler MLA, Minister for Education of NT Government,

Dear Professor Simon Maddocks, Vice-Chancellor and President of Charles Darwin University,

Dear Ms Sharon Reeve, Principal of Woodroffe Primary School,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Boys and girls,

It's my great pleasure to attend the unveiling ceremony of Confucius Classroom at Woodroffe Primary School during my first visit to NT. To my knowledge this Confucius Classroom is the first of its kind in NT, as a result of joint efforts of NT government and Charles Darwin University. It reflects to a certain extent the growing relations between NT and China as well as the increasing interest of the local people in understanding China. On behalf of Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend my warm congratulations on the opening of the Confucius Classroom. I believe it will bring a lot of convenience to students, parents and neighborhood of Woodroffe Primary, for their study of Chinese in the community. And Hanban, the Confucius Institute Headquarters, and the Chinese Embassy stand ready to provide necessary assistance and support.

The Confucius Classroom at Woodroffe also illustrates the degree of education cooperation between China and Australia. According to the latest data released by Department of Education and Training, more than 160,000 Chinese students are studying in Australian universities, schools and VET sector, which accounts for 35% of the total international student cohort. Meanwhile more and more Australian students are going to China under the New Colombo Plan, with a number approaching 3000. During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Australia in March this year, a VET MOU was signed, which will bring new cooperative opportunities.

Educational exchange is an integral part of China-Australia relations. This year marks the 45th anniversary of our diplomatic ties. In the past 45 years we have witnessed a rapid growth of friendly cooperation between our two countries in various fields, such as trade and investment, education and tourism, innovation and environmental protection, law enforcement and defense.

The key to sound relations between states lies in the affinity between their peoples, which largely stems from mutual understanding. Educational exchange, as part of people-to-people links, plays a key role in this regard. I've learned that in recent years an increasing number of Australians have begun to learn Chinese. So far there are 14 Confucius Institutes and 67 Confucius Classrooms in this country which contribute to Australian's better understanding of Chinese language and culture. I'm sure as our bilateral relationship continues to grow, the education cooperation between the two sides will be further strengthened.

Lastly, I would like to say a few words to the young boys and girls. When it comes to learning Chinese, you may find it a big challenge at the very beginning, for it is strikingly different from English. But you know practice makes perfect. If you keep practicing Chinese, you will gradually have a good mastery of the language and build up confidence in yourself. Just as Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher put it, is it not a pleasure to learn with constant perseverance and application? Once you master the language, you will find the pathway to understand China. When you grow up, you will play the role of a bridge that connects China and Australia and the two peoples. And I hope when I come next time, we could have exchanges in Chinese.

Again My best wishes to the Confucius Classroom at Woodroffe Primary School!

Thank you!

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