'Europe season' visits aim for mutual benefit

Updated: 2013-11-29 07:03

By Fu Jing in Brussels (China Daily)

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China's growing engagement with Central and Eastern European countries is an essential part of its China-Europe strategy, which has focused on achieving strategic win-win outcomes, said a senior Chinese diplomat.

"China has made great efforts to enhance mutual understanding and the willingness to deepen cooperation," Xu Jian, Chinese ambassador to Poland, told China Daily recently in an exclusive interview.

"Premier Li Keqiang's visit and talks in Romania with the regions' leaders demonstrate China's consistent efforts."

Xu, who was Chinese ambassador to Romania before his current position, said Beijing has been bridging the gap and exploring the potential of deepening exchanges in Central and Eastern Europe. By comparison, China's ties with Western European countries are relatively mature.

China launched the political dialogue with the region last year when then premier Wen Jiabao visited Poland. And Premier Li carried on the momentum through his summit with European Union leaders in Beijing last week, his first since taking office in March.

Observers have begun to refer to this month as Chinese leaders' "Europe season", following the frequent exchanges between China and EU member states.

"Poland, as the biggest trading partner of China in the region, has put China on the priority list when developing foreign relations, which is very encouraging," said Xu, adding that its top leaders have frequently stressed the strategic importance of deepening ties with China.

The ambassador said the Polish government has launched a "Go to China" project, but he did not elaborate.

Poland, like other countries in the region, is still engaged in transforming its economic development patterns, the ambassador said, and China can offer its experience, technologies, finance and investment to speed up the process. "It is very complementary in this regard," Xu said.

Poland has been China's biggest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe for eight years, Xu said, so bilateral relations have been fruitful. Trade volume reached $14.3 billion in 2012. "The two-way investment is also picking up," Xu said.

Investment and trade are expected to grow quickly within the framework of the EU-China 2020 strategy, which will double the trade volume, the ambassador said.

Poland's cultural strength and traditional friendship with China are the foundations for the future development of bilateral relations, Xu said.

Poland is the biggest country in the region regarding size and population, and it has growing influence in regional and international affairs, he added.