China-CEE practical cooperation witnesses significant progress

2016-06-19 08:53Xinhua Editor: Feng Shuang

Practical cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries has made new progress over recent years, with the "16+1" mechanism gaining momentum under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Cooperation between China and CEE countries in such areas as production capacity, transport, infrastructure construction and finance has made remarkable achievements thanks to joint efforts.

While visiting the Czech Republic in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and CEE countries should uphold the spirit of mutual respect and assistance, mutual benefit and win-win results, openness and inclusiveness, and China-CEE cooperation should realize the integration of the "16+1" cooperation with the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the development of China-Europe relations so as to make contributions to regional and world development.

Meanwhile, CEE countries have shown increasing interest in the Belt and Road Initiative, opening their arms to Chinese investment, especially in the areas of energy and infrastructure construction.

In August 2014, China Gezhouba Group signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the 450 MW unit of the Tuzla thermal power station in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In late 2015, Romania's Nuclearelectrica, the state-owned company administrating nuclear energy, and China General Nuclear Power Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the development, construction and decommissioning of units 3 and 4 of the Cernavoda nuclear plant. It is so far the largest cooperation project between China and CEE countries.

In May 2016, the Romanian government declared the project a priority for the country.

While these large-scale cooperation projects being steadily implemented, new progress has continuously been made in China-CEE pragmatic cooperation.

On April 18, China's Hebei Iron & Steel Group signed a 46-million-euro (52-million-U.S.-dollar) agreement to buy a Serbian steel plant that was previously owned by Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel.

On May 12, China's Huayi Wind Energy Co. Ltd opened its regional office in Belgrade, marking the company's official entry into wind energy market in Serbia and the Balkans.

On April 30, an express train carrying 41 containers fully loaded with auto parts, food and wine departed from Kutno, Poland, for Chengdu, China, after an opening ceremony of the Chengdu express rail service.

Financial cooperation between the two sides has also witnessed great achievements over recent years.

Poland has already made itself one of the 57 founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Earlier this month, the Romanian government also approved the start of talks regarding the country's membership in the China-proposed bank.

In late May, the Hungarian government said it supported the idea of granting market economy status to China, adding that economic cooperation between Europe and China could be advanced, and this was very important to Hungary.

Promising tourism cooperation between China and CEE countries saw a promotion-themed year started in late March 2015 in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Increases in tourists and business travels from both sides have prompted commercial flights from Beijing to Budapest and Prague by Chinese airlines.

In addition, China-CEE cooperation has enjoyed a recent boost at the local level.

The traditional Chinese medicine center at the University of Hradec Kralove hospital in the Czech Republic, set up by the affiliated hospital of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is developing itself into a comprehensive body featured research, education in addition to medical service. A similar center manned by personnel from Suzhou, east China, has won popularity in Tulcea, Romania, and a newcomer is expected in Pitesti under an accord signed with China's Sichuan Province.

Local leaders from China and CEE countries gathered to open a new page for cooperation at their third meeting on Thursday and Friday in Tangshan, north China.

Promoting cooperation in both size and status will help China and CEE countries better share their development opportunities, say analysts.


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