Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be back in Beijing, a city I have visited several times. Since my first visit in 1981 the changes are truly remarkable.
60 years ago, in May 1950, Sweden and China established diplomatic relations. Sweden was the first Western country to found such relations with the newly established People's Republic. For this reason, Chairman Mao Zedong decided to personally receive the Swedish Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Torsten Hammarström, when presenting his Letter of Credentials. The document was in fact, signed by my great grandfather King Gustaf V.
During the course of these 60 years our contacts have grown and deepened at all levels of society and in many different areas.
President Hu Jintao, highlighted technology and innovation during a State Visit to Sweden in June 2007, as an area where Sweden and China should cooperate more closely. I am therefore happy to take part in today's Forum.
Both China and Sweden have reason to take pride in their history of innovations and discoveries. The four famous historical Chinese innovations: the compass, the gunpowder, papermaking and printing are celebrated for their historical significance and as signs of ancient China's advanced science and technology.
Sweden is the origin of other innovations, such as dynamite, the modern ball bearing, the three-point safety belt, and digital phone switches can be mentioned in this context. It pleases me that so many of these technologies have been brought to China.
Some of these innovations date back a long time in history, others are more recent in time. One thing for sure is that they all have had a great influence on society and affected the daily lives of many people all over the world.
Today both China and Sweden see that inventions are important for our future economic growth and welfare. To achieve this, we need to establish a climate that can promote innovation and creativity. Research suggests that aspects such as openness, respect and encouragement are very important factors for a creative climate. A crucial task for the leaders of government, business, and academia is to help provide such conditions.
I am pleased to see that one of the sessions today will handle the subject education and its role for innovations. Already in school we should establish favourable conditions to encourage the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Finally, I am confident that the strategic partnership between Sweden and China will continue to develop, and that we will find many areas in which it will be to our mutual benefit to deepen our partnership. We look forward to continue working with China to find solutions to the global challenges we face. Let us meet this task together in an innovative way.