Last year, Chengdu witnessed much more visits of foreign dignitaries and opened up further to the outside world.
On January 11-12, a delegation made up of Nordic and Baltic Speakers of Parliaments made their first joint visit to Chengdu. During their stay in the city, the guests visited Chengdu Science City's planning hall, Nokia's global technology center, and BusinessBig Data, a local hi-tech company, etc. They expressed a strong hope for more involvement in the cooperation with Sichuan and Chengdu in different aspects, in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.
On April 11-12, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, heading a delegation, made their first joint visit to Chengdu. They attended the inauguration ceremony for the Consulate General of Austria in Chengdu, a Sino-Austrian trade fair, and a ceremony for the launch of the direct freight train service between Chengdu and Vienna.
On July 22, Clement Mouamba, Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, paid a visit to Chengdu. He went to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Dujiangyan base of China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, to learn more about Chengdu's experience of wild animal protection.
On July 23-24, the 5th China-Africa People's Forum, hosted by the China NGO Network for International Exchanges, was convened in Chengdu. As a side event of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, it brought together 200 plus guests from more than 140 NGOs and think tanks in over 30 countries.
On September 7, Macky Sall, President of Senegal, paid a visit to Chengdu. During his stay in the city, Mr. Sall visited Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Tianfu New Area, and attended a Sino-Senegal conference on production capacity cooperation. He hopes that there will be a direct flight between Senegal and China, especially and Chengdu.
In September, Luigi Di Maio, Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies, made his first visit to Chengdu. He witnessed the signing of cooperative agreements between his country and Sichuan Province, talked face to face with representatives from the Italian Trade Agency and China-Italy Chamber of Commerce, attended the opening ceremony of the 17th Western China International Fair (WCIF), as well as toured the Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu, a top-end shopping complex.
On September 19-24, the 13th EU-China Business and Technology Cooperation Fair was convened in Chengdu. The fair, with the most widespread participation of EU member countries and their companies, has grown into an event for the cooperation between China and European countries in investment, trade and technological innovation, as well as an important platform for western China to cooperate with Europe in an all-round way, greatly enhancing Chengdu's influence in Europe.
On December 7-8, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of Germany, made a visit to Chengdu. During his stay in the city, Mr. Steinmeier visited the Sichuan University, People's Park, Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Dujiangyan base of China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.
By the end of 2018, Chengdu had opened 335 air routes, including 114 international (regional) ones, topping China's central and western regions.
Over the course of the year, Chengdu launched 1,587 China-Europe freight trains, topping all of its Chinese counterparts for 3 consecutive years.
By the end of last year, Chengdu had established a friendly and cooperative tie with 93 foreign cities. On April 11, the Consulate General of Austria in Chengdu was open, thus increasing the number of foreign consulates general in the city to 17.