As the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, approaches, a number of world leaders extended their greetings to the Chinese people and communities, as this year's festival will be the first since the UN General Assembly decided to list the Lunar New Year as a UN public holiday.
The abundance of well wishes not only reflects the influence of the Chinese culture globally and its contribution to world peace and prosperity, but also showed the international community's heightened expectations for future cooperation with China given its important role in global affairs, experts said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met with Chinese Ambassador Li Ming on Tuesday, presenting a congratulatory message to the Chinese leader on the occasion of the Chinese Lunar New Year and his best wishes, some local media reported.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also sent his "warmest greetings" as the world ushers in the Year of Dragon in a video message on Tuesday, saying "Chunjie Kuaile" (Happy Spring Festival) in Chinese.
"The dragon symbolizes energy, wisdom, protection and good luck. We need these qualities to rise to today's global challenges," Guterres said.
The UN chief also thanked China and the Chinese people for their unwavering support to the UN, multilateralism and global progress.
Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte extended wishes in written and video formats during a recent reception for the Year of Dragon held by the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines, according to the embassy's website.
A major news site for the Chinese community in Australia, Sydney Today said in a post on Tuesday that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese delivered Lunar New Year greetings to all who celebrate in Australia in both Chinese and English.
Leaders from various countries have extended congratulations on the arrival of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which reflects the influence of the Chinese people globally and their contribution to world peace and prosperity, Li Haidong, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"It also signifies hope for a new future period and better cultural exchange and mutual learning among different cultures, showcasing positive aspirations," Li said.
The Chinese Lunar New Year is a public holiday in more than 20 countries and celebrated in various forms by about one-fifth of the population on Earth. From East to West, in both northern and southern hemispheres, people of countries around the world share the joyful atmosphere and feel the richness and vibrancy of the Chinese culture, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Office in Vienna and other organizations recently officially celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year for the first time. At the UN, diplomatic envoys experience Spring Festival traditions such as making dumplings, calligraphy and paper-cutting, the spokesperson said.
"The New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon joined thousands of overseas Chinese at the Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day in Auckland to welcome the Year of the Dragon. Belarus held the 'Embracing the Chinese New Year' symphony concert with musicians from the two countries bringing the great enjoyment to the audience," he said, noting that temple fairs were held in Heidelberg, Germany, which showcased traditional customs to tourists such as the diabolo, Spring Festival couplets and writing the character "fu" which means good fortune.
By celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year and extending their greetings, those countries acknowledged China's positive contributions to global affairs, including the global economy and governance, Song Wei, a professor at the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"It reflects the international community's heightened expectations for future cooperation with China, particularly in addressing international hotspot and focal issues, with hopes for China to play a greater and more proactive role," Song said.
In face of the global economic recovery and current international regional conflicts, the UN and major countries hope to further strengthen cooperation with China, engage in extensive coordination, upholding the inclusivity and fairness in the global governance, Song said.
The Spring Festival embodies the traditions and values of harmony, love and peace in Chinese culture. The fact that the festival is celebrated around the world is a vivid example of mutual learning between different civilizations and how they flourish together, Wang noted.
"We hope people everywhere will share the joy of the Spring Festival, feel the warmth of the coming spring, and together usher in an auspicious Lunar New Year," he said.
Chinese Lunar New Year greetings can also be seen as a gesture of respect for the Chinese people, their traditions, and their contributions to global affairs, Li noted. "It also represents an optimistic expectation for peaceful coexistence, mutual prosperity, and cultural exchange between the Chinese and other civilizations."
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