Interview: Helsinki mayor sees continuous friendship, cooperation with sister city Beijing

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 19, 2021
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HELSINKI, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Following an exciting and rewarding 15 years of sister-city relations with Beijing, Helsinki sees a bright future of friendship and further cooperation between the two capitals, Helsinki mayor Juhana Vartiainen has said.

Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, and Beijing, the capital city of China, became sister cities in 2006. As the official guest city, Helsinki will organize a series of activities for the 2021 Beijing Design Week this week.

"There is no better way to celebrate this important milestone together than Helsinki taking part in Beijing Design Week as an official guest city. It is a great honor for Helsinki to have the official guest city status," said Vartiainen in a written interview with Xinhua.

Over the past 15 years, the two cities have cooperated in many areas such as culture, education, tourism, business and design.

"This has been an exciting journey for us," Vartiainen said. "Our cooperation at the Beijing Design Week will promote exchanges between the two cities as well as schools, universities and private sector actors," he added.

The theme of Helsinki's guest city program is "Designing Better Life."

"In Helsinki, we want to build a better city and better life for our citizens through means of design. Design is a great way to promote sustainable and smart solutions for education and urban development," Vartiainen said.

According to the mayor, Beijing Design Week will highlight Helsinki's work in education and sustainable urban development, conveying a message that cities need to rethink how they promote social and economic sustainability.

In less than five months, the 2022 Winter Olympic Games will be held in Beijing. Helsinki was the host city of the 1952 Summer Olympics.

Beijing and Helsinki have actively cooperated in winter sports, Vartiainen said, adding that the two cities organized joint activities to celebrate the China-Finland Winter Sports Year in 2019.

Both cities have held various seminars to exchange best practices and cooperated on improving winter sports coaching and training know-how.

"It will be exciting to see how the introduction of winter sports to the grand public will transform China, and how China will drive the development of winter sports globally. Helsinki and the whole of Finland are looking forward to Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games," he said.

Looking ahead, Vartiainen said Helsinki and Beijing will continue their friendship and cooperation.

"As we are faced with global challenges, we need to come together to tackle those issues. Countries and cities need to cooperate in order to make bigger impact," he said. Enditem

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