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Remarks by H.E.Ambassador Yu Hong at the Opening Ceremony of 2020 Chinese Tour Guide Training Course under "China Brunei Year of Tourism"

On 3 November 2020, an openning ceremony of Chinese tour guides training course under China-Brunei Year of Tourism, organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei, was held in Bandar Seri Begawan. H.E. Ms. Yu Hong, Chinese Ambassador to Brunei, attended the ceremony and delivered their remarks.

Her Excellency Hajah Tutiaty, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei,

His Excellency Awang Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei,

Officials of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei,

Dear friends from the tourism industry of Brunei,

It is my pleasure to meet you at the opening ceremony of the Chinese Tour Guide Training Course. Welcome to this course. First of all, I would like to thank the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism of Brunei, and the China Youth Travel Service Group (CYTS) for hosting this training course.

This training course is part of activities of the "China Brunei Year of Tourism", which is an important consensus reached by Chinese President HE Xi Jinping and His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to further enhance the friendship between the two peoples and promote the all-round development of China-Brunei strategic and cooperative partnership. In January this year, the opening ceremony of the "China Brunei Year of Tourism" was held in Bandar Seri Begawan. The two heads of state sent congratulatory messages respectively to the event, and HRH Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attened the opening ceremony.

Due to the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak, the activities under "China-Brunei Year of Tourism" are not able to proceed as planned. In the face of the serious challenge of the epidemic, the peoples of our two countries have carried forward the traditional friendship, given full play to the Kampong spirit and extended helping-hand to each other. His Majesty sent a message to the Chinese leaders at China's difficult time. The Bruneian government, social organizations and people took the initiative to donate money for China's fight against the outbreak. HRH Princess Hajah Masna extended support and encouragement to China along with some cabinet ministers at my open-house event. The pupils in Brunei made videos for Wuhan to show their support. Since the outbreak in Brunei, the central government of China, the military and the local governments of China, the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese companies in Brunei and in China donated medical supplies and fund and provided services to Brunei, joining the efforts of the Bruneian government and its people in their fight against COVID-19. China provided assistance to Brunei for all its 11 charter flights for  medical supplies purchased in China.

During the Chinese Spring Festival, Brunei travel agencies provided kind assistance to the Chinese tourists on their return trip.We were deeply moved and encouraged by the chairman of Brunei Tourism Association, who led the people from the tourism industry to make a video to show support to Wuhan and China. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Brunei, I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the sisters and brothers in Brunei. Many Brunei tour guides and Brunei aviation service personnel volunteered to participate in the anti-epidemic volunteer work, providing services in hospitals, hotels and other front-line services. Brunei's success in the fight against the epidemic cannot be achieved without the efforts from everyone. The experience of our joint fight against the epidemic has shown that solidarity, cooperation and scientific response are the best way to defeat the epidemic.

Our two countries have strengthened mutual trust and deepened cooperation in the fight against COVID-19. The Special ASEAN Plus Three Leaders' meeting and the Special ASEAN China Foreign Ministers' meeting were held smoothly. The inaugural meeting of the Joint Steering Committee between China and Brunei was held in Beijing. Foreign Ministers of the two countries spoke by telephone to support each other. China and ASEAN become the largest trading partners to each other for the first time. Trade and investment cooperation between China and Brunei is growing despite the setback of world economy. We have been exploring new fields of cooperation. Cooperation in artificial intelligence, e-commerce, financial technology and other new fields have been expanded. The most important task at this moment for both sides is to help the economy to recover and ensure that people's lives return to normal. Vaccine will play an important role in realizing this goal. As the Chinese leaders pledged, COVID-19 vaccine developed and deployed by China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China's contribution to enhancing vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. They will be provided to other developing countries in a priority basis.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of inbound Chinese tourists has plummeted. Brunei's travel agencies and hotel operators have borne the brunt. The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism has spared no efforts to help the industry. We believe that, when conditions permit, Chinese tourists will visit Brunei again. Some of the "China-Brunei Year of Tourism" activities are to be postponed as agreed by both sides. However, the Chinese Tour Guide Training Courses, starting today, is among the efforts to explore more possibilities for cultural exchanges under the "new normal".

The year of 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brunei. And Brunei will assume the rotating chairmanship of ASEAN. New and greater opportunities abound for both China-Brunei and China-ASEAN relations. Together with you, I hope to promote even closer exchanges and cooperation between China and Brunei.

Thank you all for your attention.

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