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China, Europe partners put shoulders to the wheel

By LIU XUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-28 09:31
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China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries should work together in various fields to their mutual benefit now and once the COVID-19 pandemic passes, especially under the 17+1 framework and as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese and CEEC officials say.

Collaboration has been a powerful force during the pandemic, with China and the 17 countries helping each other by donating medical supplies and communicating on pandemic prevention and control.

"The cooperation between the two parties has not diminished due to the outbreak of the pandemic," said Wang Chao, president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, in an online conference on Friday.

At the webinar, former leaders of the CEEC as well as officials and scholars from China discussed how the two sides could work together against the pandemic and for a better future.

In the field of medical technology, China and some of its CEE partners are "actively promoting cooperation in vaccine scientific research", Wang said.

In June many companies from the region took part in the China Import and Export Fair, exploring new methods and ideas for economic and trade collaboration, he said.

Valdis Zatlers, a former president of Latvia, said the CEEC and China should find more in common to enhance mutual trust and deepen cooperation.

The 17+1, a cross-region platform built eight years ago on a shared vision, is "a powerful complement "to China-European Union relations and collaboration, he said.

The two sides need to "discuss together and do things together" to improve mutual trust and find new areas in which they can integrate values of different cultures, Zatlers said.

Sustainable development

"We must embrace multilateralism and find good leadership," he said. "In fact, our (CEEC and China's) goal has always been the same: we need sustainable development."

Zlatko Lagumdzija, a former prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the 17+1 partners could hardly do better than share information, a way also of solving problems that the world faces.

He encouraged countries to work together through the 17+1 platform because fighting COVID-19 has shown that solidarity and partnership are critical in preventing health, economic and environmental crises.

"The Sino-CEEC mechanism can be a place where Europe as well as certain areas can meet China in search for a shared future through cooperation."

Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the 17+1 mechanism has strongly promoted the growth of the Sino-CEEC relationship, and the Belt and Road Initiative provides more opportunities for collaboration.

The two sides "must abide by the rules and regulations of the European Union" and "adhere to the principles of transparency, green and environmental protection, as well as sustainable development", he said.

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