Chinese special envoy visits 7 CEE countries

Chinese Ambassador Jiang Yu, the new Special Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for China-CEEC Cooperation, led a delegation on a visit to seven CEE countries, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Greece, and Northern Macedonia from Sept 10 to 30.

The delegation met and spoke with policy advisors to leaders, heads of the foreign ministry and parliament, national coordinators of China-CEEC cooperation, think tanks, media, and representatives of business circles and friendly organizations during the visit. They also exchanged views on the cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries, bilateral relations, and China-EU relations.

The two sides reviewed the achievements in the construction of the mechanism and their cooperation in various fields in the past 10 years since the launch of the cooperation, and exchanged views on its future development.

The Ambassador said that China-CEEC cooperation is a cross regional cooperation platform jointly built by China and CEE countries with the intention of win-win cooperation and common development when asked about the platform's development over the past ten years.

The trade volume between China and CEE nations has significantly increased over the last ten years by 142.6%, reaching US $136.2 billion last year. Among these, there has been a 1.5-fold growth in the export of agricultural goods from Central and Eastern Europe to China. Since the start of the collaboration, there have been roughly four times as many Chinese visitors visiting Central and Eastern Europe, totaling 2.16 million journeys in 2019.

At present, the cooperation has formed a stereoscopic cooperation framework covering several pragmatic cooperation fields, with a scale effect and integration advantages that simple bilateral cooperation does not have. It has become another important engine to boost the development of friendly relations between China and CEE countries in addition to bilateral relations and China-Europe cooperation, effectively improving the cooperation level between China and CEE countries and benefiting the people on both sides.

Regarding the prospect of China-CEEC under the current international situation, Jiang put forward four propositions: First, in order to uncover greater potential and make good use of the scale effect advantage of cooperation, we should boost confidence, hold on to the overall direction, and continue to take the helm of high-level interactions; Second, we should never lose sight of the original goal of our cooperation, remain committed to pragmatic cooperation, constantly research and develop new forms of collaboration, hasten the implementation of the Beijing Summit's outcomes, and deepen our pragmatic collaboration in trade and investment, interconnection, green innovation, finance, agriculture, new energy, humanities, and other areas; Third, we should uphold the values of mutual trust and learning, and we should urge nations to establish their own roles in cooperation based on their respective areas of strength to realize countries’ complementary advantages and enhance people’s sense of gain when being engaged in cooperation. Meanwhile, based on the principle of friendly consultation and openness and inclusiveness, it is necessary to solve problems that occur, fully reflect the expectations of all parties, and oppose pan-political countercurrents against our cooperation; Fourth, we should encourage unity and self-improvement, strengthen cooperation with other cross-regional platforms to jointly practice multilateralism and realize the cooperation with our own mechanism characteristics.

During the visit, Jiang also attended the international academic seminar, "Ten Years of China-CEEC Cooperation: Progress and Prospects," held in Sofia and co-hosted by the European Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Chinese Embassy in Bulgaria, and think tanks from China and 14 CEEC countries participated online.

Teachers and students from many universities in China and CEE countries such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Romania attended the seminar online. The seminar was a youth cultural exchange activity jointly led by Tsinghua University and Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, and the ambassador delivered a speech on behalf of the Secretariat of the China CEE cooperation.

In addition, Jiang published signed articles and received interviews from ten mainstream media in Central and Eastern Europe including Parlamentní listy in Czech Republic, Ziarul Financiar and the Economist in Romania, Naftemporiki in Greece, Magyar Hírlap in Hungary, Zemia News in Bulgaria, the National News Agency of Northern Macedonia, and the Nové Slovo think tank inSlovakia.

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