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Tree for friendship with China planted in Australian capital

(Xinhua)    10:31, November 19, 2020

CANBERRA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- A "Tree of Friendship" was planted in the Australian capital Canberra on Wednesday in a move to enhance relations between Australia and China.

The tree was jointly planted by Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye and Carol Keil, president of the Australia China Friendship Society Australian Capital Territory (ACT) branch.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of sister cities between Canberra and Beijing. The crab apple tree to mark the bilateral friendship was planted by Lake Burley Griffin in the Beijing Garden, which was inaugurated in 2014 as a centennial gift from Beijing.

"The proposal by the Australia-China Friendship Association of the ACT to plant a friendship tree has given expression to its good wishes for furthering people-to-people ties between China and Australia," said the ambassador.

Crab apple was selected "because of its strong vitality with beautiful flowers and rich fruits," he said.

"In Chinese traditional culture, it is also highly admired as a symbol of moderateness and happiness. It is also used to express homesickness. These features and symbolic meanings are in line with our expectation for China-Australia relations," he added.

Keil said the tree was planted "in recognition of the long-standing friendship between the peoples of Australia and China."

"In this troubled time, it is a very good thing to do," she said.

The Australia-China Friendship Association of the ACT was founded 46 years ago, and has been working to promote mutual understanding and friendship between peoples from Australia and China.

Yang Zhi, minister-counselor for culture at the Chinese Embassy in Australia, told Xinhua that there are many ordinary people like Keil in Australia who expect to see a better relationship between the two countries.

"While there are noises, voices of these friendly people should be heard, which is why this tree planting event so significant," he said.

"We will continue to improve the people-to-people relationship," said Brendan Smyth, commissioner for international engagement of the ACT.

Smyth noted that after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and international flights resume, he expected to see more exchanges between Chinese and Australian delegations.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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