by Zhang Yongxing
SUVA, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Cultural exchange is the key for countries such as Fiji and China to enhance mutual understanding and respect, Fijian and Chinese officials said on Thursday.
Collin Yabaki, director of Fiji's Heritage and Arts Department, told Xinhua on the sideline of the visit to the National Archives of Fiji by Chinese Ambassador Qian Bo that cultural exchange is a bridge and one of the best ways to help the two countries and peoples deepen their mutual understanding and enhance the friendly cooperative ties.
"Culture exchange between Fiji and China is very important, and our relationship goes a long way back. Cultural exchange is actually a bridge which helps us better understand each other and learn from each other," said Yabaki, who visited China twice.
He believed that cultural exchange between the two countries has yielded fruitful results over the past years.
"Our cultural cooperation is great. Fijians go to China and learn about Chinese culture. We can see the integration and cooperation between us. Our two peoples have learned a lot from each other," he said, adding cultural exchange has also "helped us become a family of nations."
The director stressed the importance of respecting different cultures of different countries.
"Both Fiji and China have rich and diversified cultures. We should and we do respect each other's culture and learn from each other," he said.
For his part, Ambassador Qian told Xinhua that cultural exchange is vital for the countries like China and Fiji to learn from each other for common development.
"The development of humankind is a progress of mutual learning and assimilation. Each country is quite different with its own history, culture and advantage. We have to learn from history, respect and learn from each other and promote exchanges and cooperation, so as to achieve common development and progress," he said.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Fiji.
China is now working with the government and people of Fiji to build a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development, said Qian, adding the purpose of the visit is to explore the possibility for future cooperation.
"When we say mutual respect, this includes the respect of our culture and history. As developing countries, both China and Fiji share a lot in terms of long history, very old culture and seeking common development. We can learn from each other and we can help each other including cooperation in the field of archives," he said.
Timoci Balenaivalu, acting principal archivist of the National Archives of Fiji, said archives is the records of a country's history, and countries like Fiji and China can learn from history and culture to better their future cooperation.
"I have been to China three times. China has a rich history and culture just as what Fiji does. Cultural exchange like today's visit will help us know better each other. Needless to say, we need to respect each other's history and culture and this will help us enjoy good relationship and cooperation," he said.
Meanwhile, Sun Jie, director of China Cultural Center in Fiji, said the center has played a very important role in promoting cultural exchanges between China and Fiji over the past years.
"Every year, we organize a lot of cultural activities that do help peoples enjoy better understanding and further promote the friendship." Enditem