South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill gave a welcoming keynote address to the Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Ma Zhaoxu, on his inaugural visit to South Australia. The address was given on OZAsia’s opening night of which this year Shandong, China is featured.

Mr Weatherill described South Australia’s approach to international engagement and stressed throughout his address 通力合作 – connect strength, work together. It was noted that China is now South Australia’s largest trading partner accounting for 27% of SA’s exports.

He said “We want new people to visit South Australia, new students to come to South Australia, and new businesses to invest in South Australia.”

Mr Weatherill said as Australia’s only Labour Premier, he hoped to continue Gough Whitlam’s legacy who normalised diplomatic relations with China in 1972.

He said “True engagement is not simply a series of business transactions. It must be motivated by more than commercial instinct.” He expressed that true exchange should trancend into areas such as education, science, sport and the arts.

An announcement was made that a working group has been formed to develop a Mandarin-English bu-lingual program and that in the future a SA school would be sought to implement the program.

In keeping with Ozasia’s launch he discussed the importance of Shandong as a Chinese cultural beacon and welcomed Mr Ma to enjoy the Shandong focused festival.