Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Joining hands in tapping the potential of profound friendship

By Li Keqiang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-19 07:28

Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from the speech delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Third Meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries in Belgrade on Dec 16, 2014.

I am pleased to meet so many friends, old and new, in the city of Belgrade for the Third Meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs).

In 2013, we had a successful meeting and released the Bucharest Guidelines for Cooperation. The past year witnessed growing political mutual trust and frequent high-level exchanges between our two sides. I have had very good discussions, either in Beijing or on other occasions, with many of the leaders present today. Two-way exchanges keep expanding, and our cooperation between youths, different localities, think tanks and media, as well as in education are more active than ever before. China and seven CEECs have celebrated the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties, a testimony to our profound traditional friendship.

The international political and economic landscape is undergoing profound and complex changes. Countries are faced with the pressing task of working for steady growth, greater employment and structural adjustment. On the other hand, regional hotspot issues keep emerging, and security and stability are facing severe challenges. That said, however, peace and development remain the underlying trends of the time. China will remain committed to the path of peaceful development and to its win-win strategy of opening-up, and will continue to work to uphold global peace and regional security and stability. We are ready to work with CEECs and other countries for the sustained growth, prosperity and stability of the world.

China is the world's largest developing country while Central and Eastern Europe is home to many of Europe's emerging market economies. Our economies are cut out for each other, hence the great potential for cooperation. By working together in the same direction, we will be able to create huge cohesion and dynamism, which, in turn, will help us withstand the downward pressure, facilitate our growth and achieve industrial upgrading.

In this context, I wish to make the following proposals.

First, foster new highlights in China-Central and Eastern Europe cooperation. CEECs enjoy a solid economic foundation and are endowed with rich natural resources, as well as a high level of scientific and educational development. China has a huge market of 1.3 billion people, a well-established industrial system, a full-fledged equipment manufacturing sector in particular, as well as sufficient capital. We are well able to realize mutual complementarity, industrial integration and common development. We will build on what has been achieved under the Bucharest Guidelines, actively implement the Belgrade Guidelines, and start the formulation of the Medium-term Agenda for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries on the basis of our respective medium- to long-term domestic development plans and the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. Hence, with a focus on infrastructure development and cooperation in production capacity, underpinned by financial cooperation, we will be able to move our cooperation forward while fully accommodating each other's concerns.

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