|Consul General Zhao Weiping's Remarks at the Reception for China Eastern Airlines' Inaugural Flight between Shanghai and Chicago|
(March 18, 2016)
First Deputy Commissioner Ms. Warner-Dooley,
Chief Marketing Officer Mr. Dong Bo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today has opened a new page in the history of civic aviation cooperation between China and Chicago as we are celebrating the opening of the direct flight between Shanghai and Chicago by China Eastern Airlines.
I congratulate China Eastern Airlines for such a strategic move of expanding their presence in North America. I also congratulate O’Hare International Airport and the City of Chicago for becoming the new hub for another prestigious Chinese airline. In particular, I congratulate all the travelers for the ever increasing convenience of flying between China and the US.
The celebration this evening is of special significance, because it is the first time for a Chinese airline to open its direct flight between China and Chicago since the signing of the Gateway Agreement between Chicago and eight Chinese cities, including Shanghai, during Mayor Emanuel’s visit to China in December 2013. Such a decision by China Eastern Airlines has fully demonstrated its strong confidence and the confidence of many Chinese and US companies in the great potential of economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between China and America’s Midwest with Chicago as its heartland.
The celebration this evening is of special significance, also because this year is China-US Tourism Year as declared by President Xi Jinping and President Obama during President Xi’s visit to the US last September. The opening of Shanghai-Chicago direct flight by China Eastern Airlines is no doubt a wonderful gift to the China-US Tourism Year, which will surely further promote the people to people exchanges and two-way tourism between China and Chicago as well as between our two countries as a whole.
In closing, I wish China Eastern Airlines great success in its new business and China-Chicago relationship even more promising future. Thank you.