Leaders from China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are set to meet at China’s eastern resort of Suzhou from Nov 24 to Nov 25, to discuss ways of further promoting cooperation and common development between the two sides.
The meeting, with the theme of “New beginning, New fields, New vision,” is the most important meeting under the framework of China-CEE cooperation.
Such a high-level leaders’ meeting is not new for leaders from China and CEE countries, who have met three times since 2012 in Poland’s capital city of Warsaw, Romania’s capital city of Bucharest and Serbia’s capital city of Belgrade respectively, with a wide range of agreements reached in energy, infrastructure, trade and tourism, and scientific and technical cooperation.
The CEE countries, located in a geographic linkage between China and Europe, are of vital importance for China to enhance its relations with Europe as a whole. The economies of CEE countries, complementary to China’s economy, have witnessed an increasing number of their products being exported to China.
Meanwhile, China, the world’s second-largest economy, has rich experience in infrastructure construction and has seen increasing Chinese companies invest in CEE countries, which thus provide impetus for economic growth in the region.
There is tremendous potential for China and CEE countries to work with each other, as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has put it during the third leaders’ meeting in Belgrade.
The deepening cooperation between China and CEE countries, a natural outcome of the increasing needs of both sides, serves each others’ interests and opens new prospects for China-Europe ties.
As a matter of fact, the trade volume between China and CEE countries increased to $60.2 billion in 2014 from $43.9 billion in 2010, while Chinese companies have invested more than $5 billion in CEE countries and the 16 CEE countries have invested more than $1.2 billion in China.
A flagship cooperation agreement has been signed on building a railway running through Belgrade and Budapest to connect China, Hungary and Serbia. Moreover, direct flights between China and CEE countries as well as the opening of more air routes have been established.
Furthermore, the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which allows a further opening-up of China’s economy, has invited CEE countries to jointly exploit their development potential by accelerating infrastructure construction and strengthening exports to the Chinese market.
A united, stable and prosperous Europe is in the interests of the world and China, as Li has said in an article published by the British Daily Telegraph in November 2013.
After all, the integration of China-CEE cooperation, in line with the development strategies of respective countries, will promote the overall development of China-Europe ties.