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Friendship Brings People in Remote Countries Closer
                             ¡ª¡ªCAFIU Delegation Visits Turkey and Sudan
                                                     Zhao Xiaowei
At the invitation of the Turkish-Chinese Friendship Foundation and the National Congress Party (NCP) of Sudan, a CAFIU delegation headed by Mme. Wang Zhizhen, Vice-Chairwoman of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People¡¯s Political Consultative Conference and Honorary Vice-President of CAFIU, visited the above-mentioned two countries from May 7 to 14 and attended the 3rd China-Africa People¡¯s Forum held in Khartoum. With the support and help of the Chinese Embassies in Turkey and Sudan as well as the Consulate-General in Istanbul, the visit has achieved expected objectives and came to a complete success.

                               Silk Road Links the East and the West

The first stop of our visit is Turkey, which is a contiguous transcontinental Eurasian country with geographical superiority. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Turkey¡¯s economy has developed rapidly and the income of the Turkish people has greatly increased. Turkey is currently the 16th largest economy in the world and the 6th in Europe. It is also know as a member state of G20, an emerging market country, an Islamic power, a member state of NATO and a Dialogue Partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
China and Turkey are respectively situated in the east and west ends of Asia. Although the two countries are thousands miles apart, they have never been strange to each other. More than two thousands years ago, the two peoples began to have trade and cultural exchanges. The two ancient civilizations were connected to each other by the Silk Road. Nowadays, both China and Turkey have achieved rapid economic growth and improvement of people¡¯s livelihood and are playing increasingly significant roles in regional and international affairs. How to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries and recreate the glory of the Silk Road become the common concerns of the politicians and people of the two countries.
During meetings with Turkish personages of all circles, Mme. Wang Zhizhen elaborated China¡¯s proposal of building a Silk Road economic belt, stressed that focusing on economic cooperation, the Silk Road economic belt with high inclusiveness will emphasize peace, development, openness and cooperation and bring more opportunities of cooperation and development to the countries and regions within the belt. China will enhance communication and join hands with Turkey to build the Silk Road economic belt into a road of cooperation, development and prosperity. Mme. Wang Zhizhen¡¯s remarks were positively responded by the Turkish side. Vice-Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Sadik Yakut said that the ancient Silk Road was a bridge connecting Turkey with China. China proposed the idea of building the Silk Road economic belt which coincided with Turkey¡¯s plan of building the new Silk Road. Turkey wished to strengthen cooperation with China to revitalize the Silk Road in the new era.
Turkey is a country with a time-honored history and a rich cultural foundation. To enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Turkey and further promote mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples is another important mission of this visit. Mme. Wang Zhizhen held talks respectively with the Turkish-Chinese Friendship Foundation President Hasan Capan and heads of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and the Confucius Institute at Bogazici University. The two sides reached extensive consensus in strengthening cultural, scientific and technological, educational exchanges. We were deeply moved by Mr. Capan not only because he is the inviter of the CAFIU delegation but also because of his enthusiasm in promoting people-to-people exchanges between Turkey and China, his strong love of the Chinese culture and his concerns about the bilateral relations. Mr. Capan hosted a banquet for the delegation in his residence. He also showed the delegation with proud his collection of Chinese works of art. Mr. Capan said that China has a civilization of over 5000 years and Turkey¡¯s culture is also magnificent. As two nations with ancient civilizations, Turkey and China should strengthen exchanges and learn from each other so as to make joint efforts to contribute more to the human civilization and progress. During the banquet, gentle drizzle fell down on the large French windows. Through the mist, the tall trees in the yard looked greener and more upstanding. We hope the people-to-people exchanges between China and Turkey would moisten the two peoples¡¯ hearts like the drizzle. During this visit, CAFIU established ties with the Turkish-Chinese Friendship Foundation.


                                             Friendship Lasts Forever

After its visit to Turkey, the delegation departed for Sudan. Sudan is an important country in the African continent maintaining friendly relations with China. The peoples of the two countries also have formed deep friendship through long-term mutual support.
Although we already psyched ourselves up, the African heat of 42¡æ in Khartoum impressed the delegation deeply. Despite of the strong sunshine, Mme. Wang Zhizhen first visited Al Zaiem Al Azhari University and had discussion with the faculty and students there on how to promote educational and cultural exchanges between China and Sudan. The University Vice-Chancellor Mme. Mohammed Khalifa who presided at the discussion expressed her warm welcome to the delegation and introduced the history and status quo of the University in details. She also expressed her wish to enhance exchanges with China in teachers training and students¡¯ exchange. Mme. Wang Zhizhen emotionally said that although Africa is geographically remote to china, she visited Africa twice within three years and could feel the profound friendship of the African people towards the Chinese people. Universities are not only places of teaching students, but also places of promoting international exchanges and strengthening friendship among peoples from different countries. She hoped there would be more exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese and Sudanese universities so as to bring up more professional talents and reserve forces for the development of the bilateral relations.
On the morning of May 12th, Mme. Wang Zhizhen attended the opening ceremony of the 3rd China-Africa People¡¯s Forum. When Mme. Wang stepped into the Friendship Hall, the Sudanese people waiting outside began to dance passionately to welcome the Chinese delegation. Mme. Wang read Chinese President Xi Jinping¡¯s congratulatory letter to the opening of the Forum and delivered a key-note speech at the opening ceremony. As she finished her speech, a round of applause broke out and lasted for quite a while. The African representatives said that the congratulatory letter of President Xi Jinping reflected that China attaches great importance to China-Africa people-to-people exchanges and has recognized the positive role of the nongovernmental forces in promoting China-Africa friendship, which could be a guidance for China-Africa people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.
In Khartoum, Mme. Wang Zhizhen also respectively met with the First Vice-President of Sudan and Vice-President of the NCP Bakri Hassan Saleh, Assistant to the President of Sudan and Vice-President of the NCP Ibrahim Ghandour, Speaker of the National Assembly Al-Fatih Izz alden, Sudanese First Lady Widad Babiker Omer and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Samia Ahmed Mohamed. During the meetings, ¡°friends¡±, ¡°brothers¡± and ¡°friendship¡± were frequently mentioned and China-Sudan friendship and cooperation and people¡¯s friendship became the common aspiration of the two sides.
After finishing all the official activities in Sudan, the delegation came to the bank of the Nile enjoying the only short leisure time for the last several days. The Nile is the source of the Sudanese people¡¯s life and known as the Holy River. The broad Nile flows quietly as if it was telling us about the country¡¯s history and development. Far away, the Blue Nile and the White Nile merge into the world longest river flowing northwards and emptying into the Mediterranean Sea. Isn¡¯t it the symbol of the China-Africa friendship? Even though we are a great distance apart, the Chinese and African people¡¯s exchanges and cooperation will converge on the China-Africa friendship sea. We wish China-Africa friendship last forever and benefit the Chinese and African people and the people in the world at large.


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