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Friendship Palace opens in Hanoi

By An Baijie In Hanoi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-13 07:14

China's 'gift to the Vietnamese people' to be a venue for reinforcing relations between neighbors

President Xi Jinping attended the grand opening ceremony of the Vietnam-China Friendship Palace, which was built with Chinese assistance, in the middle of a new district of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Sunday.

The ceremony was jointly attended by Xi and Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of National Assembly of Vietnam. Xi gave a "golden key "to the project to the chairwoman as a symbol of finishing the construction and transferring the project to the Vietnam.

The palace, on which construction began in October 2013, will be the venue to hold exchange activities between China and Vietnam. It is of great political and cultural significance and symbolizes the friendship between the two countries in the new era.

Xi and Ngan also unveiled the China Culture Center at the Vietnam-China Friendship Palace.

Officials in charge of culture from both sides delivered speeches at the ceremony, vowing to enhance cultural exchanges and boost people-to-people communication.

After the ceremony, the two leaders toured notable features of the palace, including a sculpture symbolizing China-Vietnam friendship and a theater, both of which were Chinese-made.

They also spoke briefly with people who have dedicated themselves to Sino-Vietnamese friendship.

The Vietnam-China Friendship Palace has been built on a 3.3-hectare site chosen during a visit to Vietnam in October 2004 by former premier Wen Jiabao.

In November 2016, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, visited the construction site of the palace accompanied by Don Tuan Phong, vice-chair of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations.

In July 2015, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli surveyed the status of the construction work during an official visit to Vietnam.

"The project is the Chinese government's gift to the Vietnamese people so the two nations have facilities to perform friendship and cultural exchange activities and host other international events," Zhang said during the tour.

Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations Chairman Vu Xuan Hong said in July 2015 that the palace is a significant political and cultural project and a vivid symbol of the friendship between Vietnam and China in the new era.

Hong said "the palace project aims to promote mutual understanding and cooperation and to deepen the friendship between the two neighboring nations", according to a Voice of Vietnam report.

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