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Sino-European relations get a boost

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-02-11 08:14
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A train loaded with medical equipment, including surgical face masks and protective gowns, departs Yiwu, Zhejiang province, for Madrid, Spain, in June to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. [Photo by Lyu bin/for China Daily]

During summit, CEE countries pledge to work more with China on pandemic

China and Central and Eastern European countries have yielded new consensus and have introduced fresh impetus for their cooperation at the just concluded China-CEEC Summit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said late on Tuesday.

Wang made the remarks while briefing Chinese media on the results of the gathering chaired by President Xi Jinping, who delivered a keynote speech at the summit via video link in Beijing the same day.

Established in 2012, the China-CEEC cooperative mechanism is a transregional platform for pragmatic collaboration based on traditional friendship and aimed at common development.

The Tuesday summit marked the highest-level meeting since its launch, and it was also the first major diplomatic event hosted by China this year, according to Wang.

All parties warmly responded to Xi's proposition that China is willing to work with Central and Eastern European countries to achieve common development goals, Wang said.

The summit released a list of outcomes, comprising roughly 90 intergovernmental and business cooperation agreements signed since the eighth China-CEEC leaders' meeting in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in 2019.

The documents cover various areas such as quarantine, education, science and technology, transportation and energy infrastructure, finance, investment, e-commerce and tourism, Wang said.

At the summit, Xi announced a series of cooperation initiatives and measures in fields including economy and trade, agriculture, major projects and people-to-people exchanges.

Leaders at the summit adopted goals for this year, charting the course for future cooperation by jointly identifying four priorities-uniting to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and furthering pragmatic cooperation, connectivity and green innovation, Wang said.

Speaking about the 9-year-old group, Wang said its concept of cooperation has become more mature and the synergy of the member countries' development visions has grown.

The nations interact closely under the mechanism's framework, and their efforts have yielded fruit, according to Wang. Their cooperation also benefits China's individual ties with the region's countries, people's livelihoods and regional development.

The summit has attracted widespread attention for its role as a key international, multilateral event held amid the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the face of the outbreak, China and the CEE countries have helped each other, actively sharing experiences on epidemic prevention and control as well as the resumption of production, Wang said.

The two sides have supported each other with goods intended for the virus fight, and the shipping capacity of China-Europe freight trains has increased by more than 50 percent, playing a critical role in the shipment of medical equipment, Wang noted.

During the summit, Xi stressed that China and the CEE countries should lead the global fight against the pandemic and strengthen cooperation in epidemic prevention and control, medical treatment, health and vaccines.

All parties at the summit said they appreciated China for its anti-pandemic assistance. Many added that China's proposition shows its sense of duty as a major country and boosts their confidence in the fight, and they are willing to deepen cooperation with China on vaccine production and distribution and medical research and development, and to promote economic recovery, Wang said.

Wang added that the summit further promoted multilateralism, as most countries persist in working together to meet challenges in the face of the pandemic, and leaders of all parties have clearly stated support for free trade at the summit.

Cooperation between China and the CEE countries is an important part of China-European Union relations, Wang said.

Leaders of those nations said the summit also marks a good start for China-EU relations in the new year, and China-CEEC cooperation has become a new highlight in China-EU ties as it bridges Asia and Europe, Wang added.

All parties are willing to further enrich the connotation of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, Wang said.

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