Consul-General Yuan says goodbye to San Francisco

Updated: 2014-11-12 03:14

By LIAN ZI In San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Consul-General Yuan says goodbye to San Francisco

Ed Lee (left), mayor of San Francisco, gives a gift to Yuan Nansheng, Chinese consul general in San Francisco, during Yuan's farewell reception at his residence Monday night. Lian Zi / China Daily

Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Yuan Nansheng held a farewell reception at his residence, telling US friends and Chinese overseas compatriots that his tenure had been filled with "sweet, uplifting memories that I shall cherish for the rest of my life''.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee attended the reception on Monday evening and expressed the city's appreciation for Yuan's leadership, citing accomplishments during his time as consul general.

Yuan asked the attendees to extend their support to his successor, Ambassador Luo Linquan, who has served as the director-general of the protocol department of the Foreign Ministry as China's ambassador to Greece and Ireland.

Yuan said that he will continue to serve China as a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University.

"It's been an honor to represent my country here in San Francisco, during a relatively short, but memorable time as consul general," said Yuan, who arrived in San Francisco on April 5, 2013, and stayed for 576 days.

Some major news events took place during Yuan's tenure, including the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 on July 6, 2013, at San Francisco's International Airport, in which two people died. However Yuan said, "My time here has been filled mostly with sweet, uplifting memories that I shall cherish for the rest of my life.

Yuan said he was pleased to see many positive changes in San Francisco's consular district, which includes Northern California and the states of Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.

The frequency of interaction between leaders of China and California has been unprecedented, said Yuan. He noted successful trade missions to China by the governors of California and Washington; visits to the consular district by leaders of Beijing, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Shandong and Guangdong.

Yuan also promoted economic cooperation and trade between California and China.

"California signed a landmark economic cooperation agreement with China's Ministry of Commerce and six Chinese provinces, the first-of-its-kind between a US sub-national entity and China," Yuan said.

He noted that trade between China and California reached $183.8 billion last year, one-third of the total amount of trade between the two countries.

The number of Chinese companies in the consular district has increased to 209 from 161 since Yuan took office.

Yuan also promoted people-to-people ties. In past two years, "we have seen 20 more Confucius Classrooms launched in this Consular District," he said. Yuan announced that the Oregon now has 36 Confucius Classrooms, the largest number in any state.

Lee, who has visited China multiple times, thanked Yuan on behalf of San Francisco for his work and giving "the best year of his diplomatic career" to the city. He also announced that San Francisco's third office in China will open soon.

The relationship between China and US is one of the most important in the world, and the relationship between San Francisco and Yuan's office has been valuable to that relationship, Lee said.

Under Yuan's leadership, the most direct airline flights between China and San Francisco have been created, said Lee, with thousands of people traveling daily between the two countries to exchange education, business and culture.

Lee also said he appreciated Yuan's collaboration with the city in facing challenging times, especially during the Asiana Airlines crash. Without the strong people-to-people relationship and the close collaboration between the Chinese consulate in San Francisco and the city, the situation could have been worse, he said.

Yuan was born in Yiyang, Hunan province, in March 1954. Before he came to San Francisco, he served as the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Suriname (2009-2013); ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Zimbabwe (2006-2009); deputy director-general of the department for Party-related Affairs at China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2005-2006); Chinese consul general in Mumbai, India (2002-2005); and Minister-Counselor at the Chinese embassy in Egypt (2000-2002).