On May 29, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks and jointly met the press with Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic in Guiyang. A reporter wonders China’s response to doubts and even challenges faced by the China-CEEC Cooperation mechanism although it has scored fruitful results and won wide support in the past nine years.
Wang Yi said, the China-CEEC Cooperation is an emerging cross-border mechanism. We have witnessed its creation and growth and accumulated useful experience. Its success can be summarized as follows: practical cooperation, openness and transparency, freewill-based consultation, and the objective of promoting accelerated development of CEE (Central and Eastern European) countries, boosting European integration, and injecting new impetus into China-EU relations.
First, the bilateral cooperation and regional cooperation between China and CEE countries can be integrated. China has long been committed to developing sound bilateral relations with CEE countries, and this is the foundation. The sound bilateral cooperation can provide better conditions and environment for regional cooperation. At the same time, China-CEEC cooperation can combine regional resources, and leverage the scale effect, injecting new impetus into and breaking new grounds for the bilateral relations. Thus, the two reinforce each other rather than reject each other.
Second, China-CEEC cooperation has real needs, internal force, and unique value. Compared with the developed countries in the West Europe, most CEE countries are emerging economies that have markedly different priorities and needs of cooperation with China and hope all the more to accelerate infrastructure construction, attract external investment and expand export to China. Thus, China-CEEC cooperation is highly complementary. The two sides have established various new platforms such as China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo, China-CEEC SME Cooperation Forum, and SINO-CEEF Holding Company Limited, increased the bilateral trade by nearly 85 percent, and made significant progress in a batch of landmark projects such as Budapest-Belgrade Railway, and China-Europe Land-Sea Express Line, which are well received by governments, enterprises and all walks of life in CEE countries.
Third, China-CEEC cooperation is an important part of China-EU cooperation. China-CEEC cooperation focuses on pragmatic economic and trade cooperation, which does not involve the field of defense and security, has never had geostrategic intentions, and has no intention of engaging in any sphere of influence. The cooperation is conducive to the balanced development of the Europe on the whole, and the faster European integration. At the same time, we always emphasize that the China-CEEC cooperation should abide by market principles and EU standards, follow the principle of respecting participants and consensus building, establish more open cooperation, and deliver its benefits to all parties. The development fueled by three engines such as the original force of bilateral relations, China-EU cooperation, and China-CEEC cooperation, so why not do it?
Wang Yi emphasized, whether it is bilateral relations, China-CEEC relations, or China-EU relations as a whole, they are platforms for dialogue, exchanges, and cooperation between the Chinese and European people. China and Europe are partners, not rivals, and both sides should view each other as opportunities rather than challenges. We hope to work with all European countries, and EU institutions to deepen China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, strengthen cooperation, deliver the development and prosperity of the two strong forces of China and the EU, and promote democracy in international relations and a multi-polar world.