First Minister's Chinese New Year message

First Minister Alex Salmond has sent his greetings to Scotland Chinese community on the eve of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

First Minister Alex Salmond has sent his greetings to Scotland Chinese community on the eve of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

He said: "As we enter the Year of the Dragon – not a symbol to be feared but instead one of good luck– it was my own great fortune to meet Premier Wen last week at a world summit I attended in Abu Dhabi.

“I extended to him the good wishes of the people of Scotland and expressed that we look to see the relationship between our nations grow in the coming year.

“We have certainly seen our friendship grow from strength-to-strength in the past year.

“I had the great opportunity to once again visit China in December. And as I arrived in China the two Giant Pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived to a warm welcome in Scotland. This symbol of our great and growing friendship was broadcast across the world.

“On my China visit I had the honour of meeting Vice Premier Li Keqiang and of addressing the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China – two of the most memorable highlights of the visit.

“I was again struck by the Vice Premier’s warmth towards Scotland and his knowledge of our country and we were able to build on the relationship we established during his visit to Scotland at the beginning of last year.

“The Central Party School, provided an excellent platform to raise the important topic of climate justice the need to link human rights and development and put people at the heart of our economic system as we tackle the impact of climate change.

“I launched a Scottish Food and Drink strategy for Asia in Beijing and Hong Kong to further promote Scottish produce, building on the successes of whisky and salmon, exports of which continue to rise to record levels.

“I was also accompanied by a Scottish business delegation who attended a number of important and useful meetings and seminars with key Chinese companies. I was very pleased to announce a new partnership between the European Marine Energy Centre, based in Orkney, and the Ocean University of China which will see the development of a wave test centre in the Shandong province.

“Important though the economy is it is also vital to strengthen cultural links and I was thus delighted to visit the majestic Eastern Qing Tombs, the World Heritage Site identified by the Chinese Government to be part of Historic Scotland’s Scottish Ten project. This site will be digitally scanned, using Scottish expertise, to create detailed three-dimensional records for future generations.

“My visit highlighted to me the growing friendship between our nations and as we move into the Year of the Dragon, meaning strong, proud, pioneering and loyal, I am sure that that friendship will grow further in the year ahead.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all good fortune and a happy new year.”

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