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His Excellency Xu Jian: Transform Opportunities into Tangible Results

Volume 4, 2017

H.E. Xu Jian is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Poland

~ Warsaw, September 15

“The 16+1 Conference was held here in Warsaw a few years ago; the 16+1 formula has helped to promote China’s relationship with Europe. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was put forward by President Xi Jinping and all our European partners have been very active in supporting it.

With 16+1 and the BRI, China and European countries have enjoyed fruitful collaboration over the past few years. First of all, on a very high level, there have been many exchange visits. This has enabled China’s relationship with the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries to develop quite quickly.

President Xi Jinping made five overseas visits in 2016, two of which were to CEE countries. Officials from Poland, the Czech Republic and Serbia went to China in May 2017 to attend the Belt and Road summit, and they discussed many important issues with Chinese officials. A high-level minister from China also very recently visited countries such as Latvia.

The 16+1 formula has also furthered development of CEE’s collaboration with China. Many MOUs and agreements have been signed and they have all contributed to the outline for the further development of China’s collaboration with CEE.

Despite the slow pace of economic recovery in the Eurozone, China’s economic and trade ties with CEE countries has increased from around USD40 billion to around USD50 billion. Poland has been exporting pork, fruit and vegetables to China and bilateral trade has been increasing between the two countries.

Chinese enterprises have invested over USD8 billion in CEE countries in various ways. Huawei, Wenhua and other Chinese enterprises have been developing smoothly in CEE countries, while Polish enterprises have invested over USD1.2 billion in China.

Chinese enterprises have been helping CEE cities to develop infrastructure and power station projects as well as railroads. Since 2011, the Chinese and CEE national railroads and aviation routes have been increasing, and there are now more direct flights between China and CEE countries. The New Silk Road Fund and the Sino-CEE Fund and other financing vehicles have opened. China has given pandas as well as financing to CEE countries. In 2011, there was nearly USD3 billion worth of loans issued to CEE countries.

In addition, tourism and people-to-people exchanges have picked up. Increasing numbers of Chinese tourists are travelling to CEE countries. Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia are among the top five destinations for Chinese tourists. Poland has set up a tourism office in China. There are currently 29 Confucius Institutes in CEE countries which can serve more than 70 million students. There have been nearly 10,000 exchange students studying between the two countries. There have also been an increasing number of exchanges on the civil level, including cultural and media exchanges between China and CEE countries.

Ladies and gentlemen China and CEE countries have a history of friendly ties, and now we are both on the development path. China and CEE countries also have geographical advantages.

Now that CEE countries have signed the Belt and Road Cooperation agreement with China, the Sino-CEE relationship enjoys many more advantages. This year (2017), the China-CEE Cooperation Forum will be held in Budapest, and this will provide new opportunities for both sides. I hope that we can take this opportunity to promote more development under the 16+1 framework and continue to transform opportunities into more tangible results. We must move this relationship between China and CEE countries to a higher level.”