Chinese and Fijian officials on Friday stressed the need to strengthen cultural exchanges between the two countries under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
As genuine and close friends, China and Fiji have a comprehensive strategic partnership and have inked a number of cooperation agreements on the Belt and Road Initiative, Huang Xuehu, charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Fiji, said at the annual summary meeting for 2018 cultural exchange programs between Fiji and China and the opening of a Chinese traditional painting exhibition in the China Cultural Center in Fiji.
He urged the two sides to conduct more cultural exchanges in the coming years under the framework of BRI.
"I hope China Cultural Center in Fiji will have more interesting cultural events and our cultural exchanges will be taken to a new height," Huang said.
Huang told Xinhua that Fiji was among the first countries in the South Pacific region to participate in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. A Fijian government delegation is in Beijing to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Echoing Huang's views, Deng Xianfu, director of China Cultural Center in Fiji, said cultural exchanges are vital for enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between peoples of the two countries, and both sides should use BRI as a great platform to strengthen cultural exchanges.
"Apart from infrastructure, BRI also involves people-to-people exchange. I hope that with the cooperation and assistance of the governments of Fiji and China, we will be able to do something more to further promote our cultural exchanges in the next few years," Deng told Xinhua.
Yang Yuan, a famous Chinese artist whose exhibition of Chinese Traditional Painting of Peking Opera Characters is being held in the China Cultural Center, told Xinhua that art is so unique that people speaking different languages can understand each other through it and it can enhance the mutual understanding between peoples of different countries.
"What I am doing here is to integrate Peking Opera into the Chinese traditional painting, the most shining parts of Chinese cultural heritage, through more than 30 pieces of paintings. I believe that BRI is a good thing which can provide a fresh impetus to people-to-people exchange," he said.
For her part, Fiji's Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Rosy Akbar thanked the Chinese government for organizing and sponsoring a series of successful cultural exchange programs for senior government officials and artists to travel to China since 2015.
The minister said such cultural exchange programs not only built relationships with the host countries, but also taught those traveling for the program the importance of culture and heritage.
She believed that the bilateral relationship between the two countries will continue to grow in the years to come.