Cold sports bring warmer re­la­tions

China, Europe eye closer co­op­er­a­tion in de­vel­op­ing win­ter sports economies

China Daily European Weekly - - News Digest - By REN QI renqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is seek­ing closer co­op­er­a­tion with Europe in the field of win­ter sports eco­nomics as the 2022 Win­ter Olympic Games ap­proach, a Chi­nese Olympics of­fi­cial said on Sept 8 in Bei­jing.

Liu Yang, head of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­part­ment of the Bei­jing or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee for the games, said host­ing the 2022 Win­ter Olympics is “a mile­stone event in China’s de­vel­op­ment”.

China is seek­ing co­op­er­a­tion with var­i­ous coun­tries in or­der to host “a fan­tas­tic, ex­tra­or­di­nary and ex­cel­lent” 2022 Win­ter Olympic Games, President Xi Jin­ping said.

Liu said the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment at­taches great im­por­tance to the 2022 prepa­ra­tion work. He quoted Xi as say­ing that the 2022 Win­ter Olympics should em­body the spirit of green, open and shared de­vel­op­ment, along with fair­ness and hon­esty.

Co­op­er­a­tion with var­i­ous coun­tries is an im­por­tant part of prepa­ra­tion for the games, and so far the work has been sup­ported by many coun­tries with more ex­pe­ri­ence with win­ter games, such as Nor­way, he said.

Nor­way hosted the 6th Oslo Win­ter Olympics in 1952 and the 17th Lille­ham­mer Win­ter Olympics in 1994. It is a coun­try with “su­pe­rior nat­u­ral con­di­tions for win­ter sports and abun­dant ex­pe­ri­ence in win­ter sports event or­ga­ni­za­tion”, Liu said dur­ing the 2017 Nor­way China Win­ter Sports Eco­nomic Fo­rum.

The themed fo­rum was part of the four-day 2017 World Win­ter Sports Expo, co-or­ga­nized by the Bei­jing Olympic City De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion and In­ter­na­tional Data Group. It ended on Sept 10.

“We are proud that China and Nor­way are work­ing to­gether and seek­ing co­op­er­a­tion,” says Mat­tis Raus­tol, charge d’af­faires at the Royal Nor­we­gian em­bassy. “We will share our knowl­edge and tech­nol­ogy, and I be­lieve our co­op­er­a­tion will cre­ate a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties and be ben­e­fi­cial.”

Sev­eral agree­ments were signed at the fo­rum, in­clud­ing one be­tween the Chi­nese Dong Xiang Group and the Nor­we­gian Olympic and Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee.

“This agree­ment en­sures that we can now use Chi­nese clothes and equip­ment in Nor­we­gian sports venues, and it is the an­swer to how China and Nor­way will work to­gether in win­ter sports,” says Tom Tvedt, chair­man of the Nor­we­gian com­mit­tee and Con­fed­er­a­tion of Sports.

Tvedt notes that China and Nor­way are na­tions on dif­fer­ent scales, “so it is im­por­tant to make sure that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two suits lo­cal con­di­tions in both.”

“In the fu­ture, we can strengthen our co­op­er­a­tion and share our ex­pe­ri­ence in win­ter sports tal­ent train­ing, venue con­struc­tion and event or­ga­ni­za­tion with China,” Tvedt says.

Switzer­land, along with Nor­way and Fin­land, was also in­vited as a guest coun­try to the win­ter expo and sought to en­hance links with China and at­tract more Chi­nese tourists to the coun­try in win­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Swiss sta­tis­tics, more than 19.3 mil­lion for­eign tourists vis­ited the coun­try in 2016, over 1.13 mil­lion of whom were from China.

President Xi paid a state visit to Switzer­land in Jan­uary and, to­gether with his Swiss coun­ter­part, Doris Leuthard, an­nounced the open­ing of the China-Switzer­land Tourism Year.

Jean-Jac­ques de Dardel, Swiss am­bas­sador to China, says Switzer­land is will­ing to main­tain co­op­er­a­tion with China on eco-sports and win­ter tourism.

The diplo­mat says the coun­try is at­tract­ing more Chi­nese tourists and Swiss au­thor­i­ties are look­ing for­ward to es­tab­lish­ing more links with China.

Urs Eber­hard, deputy di­rec­tor of the Swiss Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, notes that China has be­come the fourth-largest tourist mar­ket in Switzer­land, and Switzer­land is look­ing for­ward to strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion with China in all as­pects be­fore the 2022 Games.

Dur­ing the expo, the Swiss Ski As­so­ci­a­tion and the China Ski As­so­ci­a­tion signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing on co­op­er­a­tion in ski­ing.

“The deal will pro­pel bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion on win­ter sports be­tween the two coun­tries and also make pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions to the de­vel­op­ment of win­ter sports and re­lated in­dus­tries in China,” de Dardel says.

Tom Tvedt, chair­man of the Nor­we­gian com­mit­tee and Con­fed­er­a­tion of Sports

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