Xi urges CEEC to work on new chapter in cooperation

The China-CEEC cooperation is based on mutual respect and has no political strings attached, Xi said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday lauded the cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries, calling on relevant countries to keep up the momentum and work together for a new chapter in China-CEEC cooperation.

Xi made the remarks while delivering a keynote speech at the China-CEEC Summit via video link.

The China-CEEC cooperation is based on mutual respect and has no political strings attached, Xi said, adding that all countries involved, regardless of size, are equal partners in a cooperation mechanism featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.

The China-CEEC cooperation mechanism came into being in 2012 against the backdrop of the European debt crisis.

Xi said that China-CEEC cooperation has developed some principles that are reflective of its distinctive features and accepted by all parties: making decisions through consultation, delivering benefits to all cooperation partners, pursuing common development through openness and inclusiveness, and achieving better growth through innovation.

“China stands ready for vaccine cooperation with CEE countries,” Xi said. So far, Serbia has received 1 million vaccine doses from a Chinese company, and there is ongoing cooperation between Hungary and Chinese vaccine companies, he said.

“China will actively consider such partnerships with other CEE countries if there is a need,” Xi added.

Alignment of cross-regional cooperation with Belt and Road cooperation, and improvement of the role of China-Europe freight trains in the economic development were also stressed by the Chinese president.

Currently, all 17 members of the CEEC under the cooperation framework have signed cooperation documents with China on the joint construction of the Belt and Road.

China intends to import, in the coming five years, more than US$170 billion of goods from CEEC, and will make efforts in doubling CEE countries’ agricultural exports to China and raise two-way agricultural trade by 50 percent over the next five years, Xi said.

Meanwhile, the number of China-Europe freight trains stood at 12,400 in 2020, with key passages and destinations including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Last year, a record number of 12,400 freight train trips were made between China and Europe, ferrying goods, particularly personal protective equipment, to the European continent, which was one of the hardest-hit places in the pandemic.

With 88 cooperation documents reached as outcome of the summit, making more progress in sectors like green economy, digital economy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges was also stressed.

Xi voiced support for establishing a university in Hungary by Shanghai-based Fudan University.

China and Central and Eastern European countries will hold a new round of Education Policy Dialogue and Higher Education Institutes Consortium meetings this year, as Xi stressed efforts to enhance exchange and cooperation in culture, education, tourism, sports, media, and among think tanks, young people and sub-national entities.

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