22 December 2005

Symbolic Unity of "Spirit of the East" Exhibit Heartens Secretary-General

NEW YORK, 21 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at the launch of the exhibition "The Spirit of the East:  Beauty of the Landscape" in New York on 19 December:

Nane and I are delighted to be here.  The opening of this exhibition has special meaning for us.  We have fond memories of all our trips to China and Japan, and we were meant to have visited both countries this month.  But sadly, I had to stay here to take care of a few things.

Yet seeing these beautiful paintings and photographs tonight is almost like being out there in person.  My warm thanks to Wang Wusheng and the late Kaii Higashiyama for sharing their art with us, and to Ambassador Wang and Ambassador Oshima for bringing it to the United Nations to mark our sixtieth anniversary.

This is a moving way to end an eventful year in the history of our Organization.  A year in which we have not only looked back on the six decades behind us, but sought to prepare for what lies ahead.  We have tried to unite behind a common vision:  to ensure that the UN is equipped to deal with the challenges of the twenty-first century.

That is why these pictures have such deep and rich symbolic meaning.  Wang Wusheng and Kaii Higashiyama have been described as two souls united by the beauty of the landscape they depicted.  It is heartening that the Governments of China and Japan, after this challenging year, are also uniting to share with us the spirit of the East.

May we all draw on the inspiration of that message as we pursue our shared mission in the months and years ahead.

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