DIPLOMACY

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramona Mănescu: Romania and the People’s Republic of China mark 70 years of diplomatic relations

Under the auspicious occasion of the 70 years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations between Romania and the People’s Republic of China, which will be marked on the 5th October 2019, I have the honor to extend warm congratulations and best wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese People.

We deeply cherish the significant capital of trust between our states, which is based on a traditional friendship, respect and mutual understanding.

I would like to remind that Romania was the third country to recognize the People’s Republic of China, on the 5th October 1949, and the tradition of an excellent political dialogue that has since been pursued, favored Romania to be perceived as a constant friend of the People’s Republic of China. A significant political development was the launch, in June 2004, of the Declaration of the Ample Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation, which now enters its 15th year.

Today, we continue to have a dynamic political and diplomatic dialogue, in the bilateral framework, as well as within multilateral organizations, especially the UN. In the last years, political dialogue has witnessed a good number of contacts and visits, to mention only the two bilateral meetings between the Prime Minister of Romania, Mrs. Viorica Dăncilă and the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Li Keqiang, on the sidelines of the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Summits (Sofia, 8 July 2018; Dubrovnik, 12 April 2019), the attendance of the State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Wang Yi, at the annual retreat of the EU MS Heads of Missions, at the Embassy of Romania in Beijing (17 May 2019), the visit to Romania of the vice-president of the People’s Political Consultative Conference, Mr. Zhang Qingli (20-23 April 2019), the visit to Romania of the deputy minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Wang Chao (3 December 2018), for a new round of political consultations, and the visit to Romania of the deputy director general, Europe Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr. Yang Xiaoguang, at the international Conference The Future of EU-China Relations: Looking Beyond the Horizon, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania in cooperation with the Romanian Academy, in Bucharest, on 11 June 2019.

Cooperation among think tanks is also dynamic – to mention the visits to Romania of vice-president-led delegations from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in April 2019, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in June 2019, and the vice-president-led delegation from the China Association of Public Diplomacy, in October 2019.

An important pillar of our bilateral relationship relates to the intense cooperation at level of local administration, reflected by 16 twinnings between counties in Romania and provinces in China, respectively, 30 twinnings between towns in Romania and China.

We value China as our first trade partner in Asia, in terms of both export and import, with a total trade of 6,09 billion USD in 2018. China ranks 21 in top foreign investors in Romania, but of course, the potential is much higher. We hope that the Chinese business community will take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by Romania, including a simplified visa regime for the Chinese citizens, that, in the near future, will make possible the relaunch of direct flights between our countries. Equally, we would welcome more Chinese tourists to spend their holidays in Romania or students to choose Romania as a study destination. All these desirable developments that would not only balance our bilateral trade, but would also increase the people-to-people contacts will help promote friendship and understanding between Romania and China.

As a Member State of the European Union, Romania will continue to contribute actively to the consolidation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between EU and China. During the Presidency of the EU Council, which Romania held in the first semester 2019, we played an active role in advancing dialogue and cooperation between EU and China. I would mention the Gymnich ministerial meeting (Bucharest, 31 January 2019), at level of the EU MS Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and the participation of State Counselor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Wang Yi at the annual HoMs Retreat organized at the Embassy of Romania in Beijing, a great honor for Romania.

Romania favors the idea of synergizing the EU’s Europe-Asia Connectivity Strategy and the EU-China Connectivity Platform with the Belt and Road Initiative. In doing so, we may stand a better chance to promote the fundamental principles securing alignment with our core interests, through transparency, inclusiveness, open procurement and level playing field, including in public procurement. For Romania, it also means a potential to enhance and better capitalize the pivotal role of the Black Sea.

The Connectivity Platform is a useful tool in bringing together EU’s and China’s infrastructure visions and projects, also to the benefit of the region. We welcome that the EU Trans-European Transport Networks are among the economic corridors in support of the Belt and Road Initiative and we follow with interest the evolutions on the future Joint Study on sustainable railway-based Corridors between Europe and China.

In this regard, I would like to mention that, in Romania, initiatives of cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative are currently pursued only at the level of the private sector – for example, railway company Grampet participates in the TransCaspian International Transport Route, one of the routes of the New Silk Road. Constanța Harbor signed protocols of cooperation with Ningbo Qingdao and Zhoushan ports in China, with the latter cooperating also within Civitas – Portis project, as partners in the consortia.

Romania became, on 28th December 2018, the 69th member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and participates as a shareholder with an important subscribed capital (153 million USD). I hope that in the near future Romania will attract investments under this umbrella, in sectors of great potential, such as agriculture and irrigation.

I truly believe the bilateral relations between Romania and the People’s Republic of China are indeed complex and multi-layered, but I am confident that they will be pursued in the same pragmatic and sincere manner, in the decades to come, to the mutual benefit of our countries and regions, living up to the commitments of the Declaration of the Ample Partnership of Friendship and Cooperation, which also turns 15 this year.

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