The Hon. Chris Schacht has completed a busy week of activities related to the OzAsia Shandong opening and to events related to South Australia receiving a delegation of Chinese officials including Chinese Ambassador Mr Ma Zhaoxu.
Following SA Premier Jay Weatherill’s keynote speech on 3rd September to Mr Ma Zhaoxu, Mr Schacht attended the opening night performance of OzAsia. Performed by Qingdao Song and Dance Theatre, Red Sorghumis a visually spectacular modern dance drama. Mr Schacht said it is a great promotion of Qingdao as a centre of cultural excellence. The following night he enjoyed Shandong Acrobatic Troupe’s Dream of the Ghost Story of which he remarked there was an amazing synthesis of acrobatics, ballet, modern dance and chinese/western music style, with a special mention to the stunning costumes and sets. He noted both performances received long standing ovations.
On Monday 7th September, he was pleased to be in attendance at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between South Australia and Shandong regarding Tourism and Culture. Present to the signing was Premier Jay Weatherill, Vice Governor of Shandong, Mr Ji Xiangqi, Minister of Tourism Mr Leon Bignall, Minister of the Arts Mr Jack Snelling and other senior officials of the Shandong Government.
Mr Schacht also attended the opening of the Moon Lantern Festival. Premier Jay Weatherill and Vice Governor of Shandong Ji Xiangqi both spoke about the success of the Shandong themed OzAsia Festival and reflected upon the importance of culture and the arts to further strengthen our reciprocal relations.
On 8th September, a special cabinet lunch was held at the Royal South Australian Agriculture Show. All cabinet ministers not travelling overseas on government commitments attended. The Vice Governor of Shandong and other senior Shandong government officials were in attendance at a cabinet meeting held at the Showgrounds. Mr Schacht commented that the high attendance rate of Cabinet Ministers demonstrated a solid commitment to furthering ties with Shandong.
Guests were invited to attend a luncheon at which speeches were given by Premier Jay Weatherill and Vice Governor Ji. Discussion was made regarding positive beneficial exports in the agriculture and high quality food industries. Weatherill stressed the importance of strengthening economic ties for South Australia.
During the luncheon, Mr Schacht had the pleasure of conversing at length with Li Yongsen (Deputy Director General, Shandong Foreign Affairs Office) and Zheng Yuxia (Director, Rizhao Municipal Culture and Media Affairs Bureau) whom he found to be enthusiastic about SA’s future with Shandong relations and commented he will enjoy meeting with them again during his regular visits to China.