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China, Bulgaria agree to enhance cooperation through Belt and Road, 16+1

Updated: May 23,2018 7:43 PM     Xinhua

BUENOS AIRES — China and Bulgaria can strengthen exchanges and cooperation in infrastructure, connectivity, industrial capacity, culture and other fields under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese top diplomat said on May 22.

Both sides can make use of their own advantages and draw on each other’ s merits to inject strong fresh impetus into the development of bilateral relations, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

He made the remarks when meeting with Ekaterina Zaharieva, deputy prime minister and foreign minister of Bulgaria, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), after attending the ministerial meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina.

Wang said that the “16+1” mechanism between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries has carried out mutually beneficial cooperation in recent years on the basis of equality and played an active role in promoting the economic development of the 16 countries. The “16+1” cooperation goes hand in hand with China-EU cooperation and objectively helps promote the process of European integration.

Bulgaria will host the meeting of the leaders of China and the CEE countries under the “16+1” cooperation mechanism this year. It is believed that with joint efforts from both sides, the meeting will achieve new results and bring the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the CEE countries to a new level, Wang said.

China expects that the EU will continue to adhere to market liberalization and free trade and China is glad to see that Bulgaria plays an active role in promoting the healthy development of China-EU relations, the foreign minister said.

Wang said that the friendship between the two peoples is deep and that the foundation of the political relationship is solid. No matter how the international and regional situation changes, the two sides will always understand, trust and support each other, he said.

Bulgaria is China’s important partner in Central and Eastern Europe. Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Bulgaria. China is willing to work together with Bulgaria to plan commemorative events and take the anniversary as an opportunity to advance bilateral relations more steadily, Wang said.

Bulgaria attaches great importance to China and expects to take the 70th anniversary celebration as an opportunity to further strengthen the traditional friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation, Zaharieva said.

Zaharieva said Bulgaria supports the Belt and Road Initiative and is willing to further enhance infrastructure construction and connectivity under this framework.

Zaharieva said Bulgaria is actively preparing for the meeting of the leaders of China and the CEE countries under the “16+1” cooperation mechanism and warmly welcomes Chinese leaders to attend the meeting and visit the country. Bulgaria is willing to work closely with China to ensure that the meeting will achieve fruitful results.

Zaharieva said the “16+1” cooperation does not affect EU-China cooperation. As a good friend of China, Bulgaria supports the development of the “16+1” cooperation and EU-China relations, and is willing to continue to play an active role in this regard.

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