Spokespersons from China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries gathered in Budapest on April 24 to talk about the ways governments communicate with the public.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the gathering, which is known as the China-CEEC Spokespersons’ Dialogue, Guo Weimin, vice-minister of the Information Office of the State Council, talked about the role of such representatives in the era of social media and in a globalized world.
“China’s government spokesperson system is an important window to publicize national policies, as well as to present its national image to the international community,” Guo said.
Levente Magyar, Hungary’s minister of state for parliamentary affairs, said, “China and Central and Eastern European countries’ cooperation stands at the forefront of our diplomatic efforts, and we are more than willing to expand our interest in further partnerships.”
Magyar emphasized the importance of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative in the CEE region. “This partnership should ... be deepened and widened. This is the region that regards China as a friend and is ready to further strengthen the friendship with the people of China.”
Under the theme “Openness and Communication: Building a Community with Shared Future for Mankind”, the gathering was the second such event after the dialogue was launched in Beijing in July.
Paul Ciprian Ciocoiu, a spokesman for the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the dialogue had created direct interaction, which is the key to communication.
“When you have direct interaction, you also have a very good exchange designed to create solutions, sparks, visions, ideas and insights, and that can only serve the very goal of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries,” Ciocoiu said. “The better we know each other, the better we cooperate.”
Natasa Pavsek of the Slovenian government’s communication office and who attended the meeting in Beijing last year, said: “The meetings of communicators are very important to building long-lasting relations and, in this regard, I think we all can benefit. Certain initiatives, such as 16+1 and the Belt and Road Initiative, could be of common interest ... in the region as a whole. I think we should take this opportunity to have more conversations, not just on the official panel but also by joining and sharing thoughts and experiences in the field of communication.”
The 16+1 mechanism was launched in 2012 with the aim of intensifying cooperation between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries.
With that program, China’s trade volume with the 16 countries has grown, hitting $67.98 billion in 2017, an annual increase of 15.9 percent. Investment from China into CEE countries reached $9.75 billion, while investment in the other direction amounted to $1.44 billion last year.