By H.E. Mr. Hu Yeshun, the Chinese Ambassador in Latvia | The Baltic Times
On September 6, to implement the outcome of the Warsaw Meeting between Chinese and Central and Eastern European (CEE) leaders in April, and step up the friendly cooperation between China and CEE Countries, the Inaugural Conference of the Secretariat for Cooperation between China and CEE Countries and the First National Coordinator’s Meeting was held in Beijing. H.E. Mrs. Ingrida Leverence, representing the government of Latvia, along with National Coordinators or representatives from other CEE Countries attended the meeting.
In the meeting, the Chinese side enunciated ‘12 Measures’ to promote the friendly cooperation between China and CEE countries, elaborated on the plans about how to carry out measures such as ‘the $10 billion Special Credit Line,’ ‘the $500 Million Investment Cooperation Fund,’ as well as sending Chinese Trade and Investment Promotion missions, establishing an Expert Advisory Committee on the construction of a transportation network between China and CEE countries, jointly setting up Economic and Technological Zones, and also plans to organize a series of events on culture, education, tourism and youth exchange issues. Representatives of the 16 CEE countries in return briefed on the actions their respective countries have taken, or will take, to step up cooperation between CEE countries and China. All sides expressed satisfaction over the progress. The establishment of the Secretariat has therefore laid down the working network for cooperation between China and CEE countries, and has provided new opportunities and space for enhancing friendly cooperation between the central and local governments, and enterprises of China and CEE countries.
Over the past 30 years, the overall cooperation between China and Europe has been continuously expanded, leading to the establishment of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. As an important part of Europe, driven by the traditional friendly relations, the CEE countries have developed all-dimensional and multi-level cooperation with China. Despite the severe lashing of the European debt crisis, the CEE countries have maintained good economic foundations. Thus the complementarities and opportunities of cooperation with China have been increased. It is in the interest of common needs to establish an equal, mutually beneficial and win-win partnership. In this context, the Chinese side is highly confident to promote further development of the cooperation.
As an important country in the Baltic region, Latvia is an integral part of the EU and plays an important role in the CEE region. Especially noteworthy is that it has taken the lead in coming out of the economic crisis, which prepared considerable potential for strengthening cooperation with China. It’s therefore of practical significance to make good use of the Secretariat platform and bring out new development of cross-border cooperation. To this end, as the Chinese Ambassador to Latvia, I believe we should seize the current opportunity and achieve the following goals in China-Latvia relations.
First, to further strengthen political mutual trust. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 21 years ago, the Sino-Latvian relationship has made substantial progress. China respects the independent choice of Latvia on its development path, and regards Latvia as a natural partner in the Baltic and CEE region. We wish to further strengthen the friendly exchanges between the governments, parliaments, political parties, etc., enhance mutual understanding, consolidating the political foundation of the Sino-Latvian friendly relationship.
Second, to further broaden practical cooperation. According to statistics of the Chinese side, in 2011 the Sino-Latvian trade volume amounted to $1.25 billion, and the figure reaches $675 million in the first half of 2012, a year-on-year growth of 23 percent. However, this is far behind the actual demands of both sides. China wishes that under the framework of ‘12 Measures’ both sides would actively explore new ways to increase mutual investment and trade, strengthen economic and financial cooperation, and promote cooperation in infrastructure construction, transportation & logistics, high technology, clean energy and environmental protection, etc., fostering new growth engines in bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Third, to further promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Currently, the cultural, educational and art exchanges have been the most dynamic part of the Sino-Latvian relationship. On this basis, both sides should use the upcoming occasions such as the China-CEE Countries Cultural Cooperation Forum, Education Policy Dialogue, Young Political Leaders Forum, Tourism Promotion Alliance and Research Fund on Relations between China and CEE countries, strengthen the understanding and friendship between the two peoples by various forms of exchanges, consolidating the civil foundation of the Sino-Latvian relationship.
The Chinese Embassy in Latvia is now ready to take in your views and insights, and looks forward to more people of vision joining this mutually beneficial process.