Xi's visit to promote cooperation: Finnish parliament speaker
An undated photo of Finnish Parliamentary speaker Maria Lohela. [Photo:Marialohela.fi]
Finnish Parliamentary speaker Maria Lohela said Xi Jinping's current visit is the latest step made by both sides to enhance their already solid relationship.
"I think it's of a great significance, and it only goes to prove that over the years, over the decades, Finland and China have been committed to working on our bilateral relations and we are taking new steps in furthering our cooperation, and Mr. President's visit is the most recent sign and we are very happy to have him here," said Lohela.
China and Finland established diplomatic ties in 1950. Lohela said since then, bilateral exchanges have grown to cover many areas, and the latest visit should continue to send positive signals to both peoples.
"I've have had the privilege of witnessing the different aspects of Finland-China relationship - they are on the trade relations, and on political relations, and most importantly, the people-to-people contacts, because if we didn't have that, if we didn't have Chinese people visiting Finland and vice versa, none of the other things would happen as well, " added Lohela.
Among the current areas of cooperation, the Finnish official highlighted environmental protection and geriatric care as two with the most potential benefits.
"I think our greatest challenge that we share together is the climate, the environment, and I think one thing that we could benefit from each other also is how to take care of our elderly people. Lots of scientific research that we have been doing over the years in our universities, and I know all that kind of cooperation already exists. I think the scientific research is where we should especially deepen our cooperation," noted Lohela.
Both countries are facing a rapid rise in the number of elderly people. It is estimated that by 2030, a fifth of the Chinese population and more than a quarter of Finland's population will be over the age of 65, making senior care one of the main social issues for both nations.
Meanwhile, as part of the "Belt and Road" initiative, many infrastructure projects are being built in countries participating in the program. Maria Lohela said Finland's advanced development and experience in technology can prove helpful to China in this regard.
"China is of course a very big country, a big actor in the global market, and you think big and you do big things. But just as you said before, Finland is very modern, very technologically advanced, so I think that our solutions when it comes to digitalization in transport, for example, is something that we could particularly offer in that initiative," said Lohela.
Currently, Finland is China's third largest trading partner in the Nordic region.