October 26, 2005
Solano County gets sister city
By Sarah Arnquist
FAIRFIELD - The Solano County Board of Supervisors and delegates from Ji'an, China, hope the Sister City agreement they signed Tuesday leads to future cultural, business and education exchanges.
Solano County and Ji'an have many things in common, including their inland locations and mixed agricultural and industrial economies, Ji'an Mayor Hu Changlin said.
“We will get a mutual understanding between both people,” Changlin said through an interpreter. “We would like to have developments in terms of education and social undertakings.”
Ji'an has a population of 4.7 million and is significantly larger in area than Solano County, but their economic bases are similar, county officials said. The purpose of a Sister City relationship is to increase global cooperation, promote cultural understanding and stimulate economic development, officials said.
In 2004, Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez, County Administrator Michael Johnson and Assistant County Administrator Quang Ho traveled to Ji'an. They said they wanted to reciprocate the warm welcome and hospitality they received while visiting China.
Following the signing ceremony Tuesday morning, the delegates and county supervisors toured the Jelly Belly Candy Co. and Anheuser-Busch factories. They also met with Rodriguez High School and Solano Community College officials.
Educational exchanges are a top priority of the agreement, Vasquez said.
“We hope to build educational ties,” he said. “We'd really like to see teachers go over there.”
Today the four delegates plan to tour the Nourot Glass Factory in Benicia and the Vacaville fruit processing plant of Mariani Packing Co. The trip will end with a tour of early Chinese immigrants in Solano County at the Vacaville Museum.
It is important for local governments to host international exchanges and Sister City programs because it fosters personal, one-on-one relationships, Supervisor Mike Reagan said.
“Personal relationships is the only thing that does make diplomatic approaches possible,” he said.
Creating a relationship with a Chinese city is a very strategic diplomatic move in today's world, Reagan added.
Reach Sarah Arnquist at 427-6953
Monday, October 31, 2005
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