Remarks by Ambassador Huo Yuzhen, Special Representative for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries on the China-CEEC Think Tanks Network Webinar
2020-05-28 19:00 | 外交部

Thank you Mr. Moderator.

Respectable experts and scholars,my dear friends,


Good afternoon and good morning!


I’m very pleased to meet all of you today, although behind the screens. Of course, video conferences are not as convenient and natural as face-to-face meetings, but we still owe a big thanks to the scientists and technicians who have made this new way of communication possible, in particular during the global fight against COVID-19. I would also like to thank all colleagues present today through video links from Europe and Asia. Today’s conference provides a good opportunity for us to discuss ways of promoting China-CEEC cooperation under the current special situations.


What we are facing now is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II. China was the first country in the world to report the epidemic. After making great efforts and sacrifice, we have turned the tide on the virus and protected the life and health of our people. We are also glad to see that as the result of the effective control measures taken by CEECs, the spread of the virus has been gradually controlled. Some countries are making active efforts to restart business and production in a step-by-step manner, so as to recover social and economic development.


If we were to use two words to describe what has made China and the CEECs successful in fighting COVID-19, I think “solidarity and cooperation” are most suitable. The virus knows no national borders. Stigmatizing and shifting blames will not kill it. The only way to defeat the epidemic is for the international community to strengthen solidarity in a joint fight. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, leaders between China and the CEECs have kept close contact through telephone calls and letters, extending support and encouragement to each other. Local governments and non-governmental institutions also helped each other in many ways. This epidemic once again reminds us that humans have a shared future. Therefore,the right way to defeat the epidemic lies in solidarity and cooperation.


As the situation improves, we still need to rely on solidarity to promote China-CEEC cooperation.


First, we need to strengthen experience-sharing and deepen health cooperation, so as to ensure the final victory in the fight against COVID-19. On March 13 and May 13, the Secretariat and line ministries from China and the CEECs jointly held two video conferences, namely, China-CEEC Experts’ Video Conference on COVID-19 and China-CEEC Health Ministers’ Video Conference on COVID-19. The participants had in-depth exchange of views on epidemic control and medical treatment, as well as sharing resources. All participants expressed readiness to carry out cooperation in the R and D of medicines and vaccines under the China-CEEC cooperation framework, and contribute to global public health. The Chinese side has proposed to actively consider policy support for cooperation in transporting materials and supplies. For example, we could make full use of China-Europe Block Trains to transport much-needed equipment and materials to the CEECs.


Second, we need to strengthen cooperation on restarting work and production, so as to jointly promote economic and social recovery and development. The Secretariat is planning to hold, together with line ministries and local businesses from China and CEECs, a China-CEEC SME video conference on restarting work and production. This video conference will provide a platform for SMEs to exchange and share information, help maintain stability of industrial and supply chains, and minimize the social and economic impacts of the epidemic. At the China-CEEC Cooperation National Coordinators’ Meeting held not long ago, many participants mentioned that because of the epidemic, online working and digital economy have developed quickly. They expressed the wish to enhance cooperation in new areas, such as AI,5G, big data, Internet of Things and blockchains. They also proposed that measures should be taken to promote the appliance of scientific innovation and to forge new growth drivers for China-CEEC cooperation. The Secretariat is ready to provide facilitation in these regards.


Third, we need to strengthen exchange and cooperation among think tanks, pool wisdom from all sides, and make sure that China-CEEC cooperation can better serve bilateral relations and cooperation between China and Europe at large. China-CEEC cooperation is an important part of China-Europe relations and a good complement to China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. China-CEEC cooperation follows the principles of openness, transparency, inclusiveness and mutual-benefit. It is good for bilateral relations between China and the CEECs, as well as the balanced development within the EU. We welcome more European countries to take part in third-party cooperation. A prosperous, stable and growing Europe serves the interest of both Europe and China.


Think tank cooperation has been an important part of China-CEEC cooperation from the very beginning. Think tanks provide valuable intellectual support for the cooperation format. The Secretariat pays great attention to think tank cooperation, and values advice from experts and scholars. The Secretariat supports today’s video conference organized by the China-CEEC Think Tanks Network of the CASS. Two topics will be discussed today. Number one, how to promote China-CEEC practical cooperation;number two, how CEECs assess China’s relations with them against the backdrop of the global epidemic. The Secretariat is ready to take careful notes of the insightful remarks from all colleagues. Our aim is to have an in-depth analysis on how the epidemic may influence China-CEEC cooperation, and try to find opportunities from this crisis. Let us work together to push the cooperation to a new high, and make sure it will benefit more of our peoples.


  Thank you all for your participation. The Secretariat is happy to provide more platforms of communication and dialogue in the future. I wish a full success to today’s meeting.
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