China and Denmark have enjoyed solid ties since they established diplomatic relations 62 years ago, and the Sino-Danish Center can provide a new avenue for those ties and accelerating bilateral cooperation, the prime minister said.
Economic relations between the two are solid and important, Thorning-Schmidt said, and she was eager to emphasize the softer aspects of Sino-Danish relations through increasing exchanges of intellectual talent.
Fifty-six Chinese and 49 European students, mainly from Denmark, are participating in the center's first master's degree program. They will study together in China for at least two years, and all classes will be taught in English, according to Zhu Xiangbin, the center's principal director.
The Sino-Danish Center is based on a joint education and research project among the eight Danish universities, the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Its overall aim is to promote and strengthen collaboration between Danish and Chinese research and learning environments for the benefit of both countries.
The Chinese and Danish students emrolled in the master's program are looking forward to learning from each other as they continue their education.
Steffen Helledie, an innovation management major at the center, said he is expecting to learn more about Chinese culture during his study and believes his experience in China will be a huge advantage to him when he returns to Denmark.
The Chinese student He Jie, a water and environmental studies major, said the program will benefit him, but he also expressed worries.
"I'm feeling a lot of pressure now because you have to know all the specialized knowledge in English, at which the Danish students are better", he said. But he added that everyday communication in English with his Danish classmates would not be challenging.
Thorning-Schmidt praised the students' decision to study at the center as "clever choice" and said that Chinese and Danish students would benefit from getting together to know each other.
This is Thorning-Schmidt's first visit to China since becoming Denmark's first female prime minister in September 2011.
During the visit, she will meet with Chinese leaders and entrepreneurs from China and Denmark, and attend the World Economic Forum in Tianjin. (China Daily)