China, Czech Republic set up strategic partnership

2016-03-30 08:00Xinhua Editor: Mo Hong'e
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman sign a joint statement on lifting the two countries' ties to a strategic partnership after their talks in Prague, the Czech Republic, March 29, 2016. (Photo: Xinhua/Ju Peng)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman sign a joint statement on lifting the two countries' ties to a strategic partnership after their talks in Prague, the Czech Republic, March 29, 2016. (Photo: Xinhua/Ju Peng)

China and the Czech Republic on Tuesday agreed to elevate their ties to a strategic partnership during Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the country, as the two nations inked a host of intergovernmental agreements to promote ties in various areas.[Special coverage]

The agreement came after Xi held talks with his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman at the Prague Castle, the seat of the Presidential Office of the Czech Republic.

During the talks, the two presidents discussed issues concerning bilateral ties, China-EU relations as well as cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries, reaching broad consensus.

Hailing the positive momentum of bilateral ties and the flourishing economic cooperation, Xi said China is ready to work with the Czech Republic to cherish the sound yet hard-won bilateral relations, consolidate the traditional friendship and strengthen mutual political trust and promote pragmatic cooperation.

The two sides agreed to strengthen the synergy of China's "Belt and Road Initiatives," and the Czech development strategies, and jointly draw up a cooperation plan between the two countries, so as to serve as the framework for guiding their practical cooperation in the next period.

The two presidents agreed to redefine the bilateral ties in the hope of seeking more common interests and conducting cooperation on a deeper level.

The two sides decided to firmly support each other's core interests and major concerns in order to ensure the long-term, healthy and stable development of bilateral ties, calling for coordination and cooperation on major international and regional issues so as to contribute to world peace, development and cooperation.

The two countries issued a joint statement on lifting their ties to a strategic partnership after the talks, in which the two sides agreed to continue making close high-level contacts as the exemplary for over-all relations, enhancing friendly cooperation between ministries, legislative bodies and local governments.

The two sides also decided to establish an intergovernmental strategic dialogue mechanism to map out the future development of the bilateral ties.

A ministerial or vice-ministerial level cooperation committee will be set up, and meetings of the committee will be held in China and the Czech Republic in turns, said the joint statement.

The two presidents agreed to enhance productivity cooperation in manufacturing industry such as machinery, automobile and aviation, deepen cooperation in such fields as finance, nuclear energy, traditional Chinese medicine, air transportation and industrial park to establish all-dimensional connectivity, and pushing forward innovation cooperation in emerging fields such as e-commerce, communication, artificial intelligence industry, nanotechnology and environment protection, in order to forge new development points for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The two sides also agreed to broaden people-to-people and cultural exchanges in various fields, develop understanding-building projects, deepen cooperation in education, tourism, local-level and sports, and increase the scale of exchange students, so as to consolidate the social foundation for the long-term and steady development of bilateral ties.

Besides the joint statement to establish strategic partnership and an MOU to jointly plan for future ties, the two governments also inked agreements on e-commerce, investment, science and technology, tourism, culture and aviation.

Calling China "a major economic partner" of the EU, Zeman said his country is willing to deepen mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation with China and play a conducive role in pushing China-CEE cooperation forward.

The Czech Republic is committed to becoming a gateway for China to the EU and a hub of transportation, logistics and finance, he said.

The two presidents agreed to promote the development of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, implement the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda and jointly make positive contributions to the building of China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization.

The two countries also support a China-EU investment agreement to be reached through negotiations as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the two presidents believe that the China-CEE cooperation and China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership are complimentary to each other, thus they shall stick to the spirit of mutual respect, mutual assistance and mutual benefit, deepen the interconnection of their interests, and work hard to comprehensively link the China-CEE cooperation with the "Belt and Road Initiative," in order to promote China-EU connectivity and cooperation, and contribute to Eurasia connectivity.

Prior to the talk, Zeman held a grand welcoming ceremony for Xi with a 21-gun salute at the Prague Castle.

During the ceremony, an officer from the Czech honor guard spoke in Chinese, inviting Xi to inspect the soldiers. Xi, in turn, thanked the soldiers in Czech after finishing the inspection with Zeman.

In remarks to the press after holding their bilateral meeting, Zeman said he is proud of the economic ties between the two countries, and treasures Xi's friendship.

Xi thanked Zeman for his warm welcome and said he felt right at home.

Xi arrived in Prague on Monday for a three-day state visit to the European country. It is the first state visit by a Chinese president in 67 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties. It is also Xi's maiden visit to the CEE region since he assumed presidency in 2013 and his first trip to Europe this year.



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