Ambassador Qu Zhe published signed article with title of advance 16+1 cooperation into new era on Estonian newspaper Aripaev

Before the 6th Meeting of the Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries to be held in Budapest, Hungary on 27th November, the Chinese Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Qu Zhe published a signed article with title of on a majoy financial and business newspaper in Estonia Aripäev on 23rd November. Here is the English text:

By Chinese Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Qu Zhe

 

In Spring 2012, government leaders from China and 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Warsaw and convened the First Meeting of Heads of Government of China and the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), during which 12 measures to improve cooperation between China and 16 CEE countries were announced. The event unveiled a new chapter for relationship between China and 16 CEE countries and became the landmark in the history of "16+1" cooperation.

Over the past five years, we have adhered to the position that "16+1" cooperation compliments and provides added value to bilateral relations between China and each of the 16 CEE countries and China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Based upon the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, China and the 16 CEE countries work hand in hand to strengthen practical cooperation in various fields. In the spirit of openness, transparency and win-win cooperation, the European Union was invited to participate in all "16+1" summits as an observer. We are glad to see "16+1" cooperation is moving forward together with China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization.

Central and Eastern Europe is in the area where active exchanges between Asia and Europe take place. It is worth mentioning that the alignment of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and the Investment Plan for Europe (or Juncker Plan) provides new opportunities for "16+1" cooperation. The Medium-Term Agenda for Cooperation adopted at the "16+1" summit in 2015 has played an important role in joining efforts from all sides. The "16+1" format facilitates countries from different regions with different systems to find a new path to work together for common good and win-win cooperation. Its positive spillover effects are emerging as the format has already delivered shared benefits for us all. "16+1>17" has become the common understanding and commitment by leaders from China and 16 CEE countries.

Over the past five years, the scope of cooperation with "16+1" format has expanded quickly and yielded many tangible results. Government leaders have convened five "16+1" summits and adopted five guidelines. China has set $ 10 billion loan to support cooperation with CEE countries. An investment cooperation fund (China-CEE Fund) was successfully launched. In spite of sluggish global trade, trade volume between China and 16 CEE countries increased to $ 58 billion last year from $ 44 billion in 2010. The Chinese direct investment to Central and Eastern Europe in 2016 was $ 8 billion - eight times larger than that of six years ago. With the implementation of China-Europe land-sea express passage and Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea seaport cooperation, over ten major infrastructure projects, such as the Stanari Thermal Power Plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Danube river bridge in Belgrade of Serbia, have started construction. In addition, more than 10 platforms have been established within "16+1" format and a range of cooperation mechanisms on science, technology, education, culture, health have been created.

"16+1" cooperation also brings new vitality into China-Estonia relationship. The "16+1" summit is now an indispensable platform for frequent communication between top government leaders, which is essential for enhancing mutual trust and promoting practical cooperation. The Chinese Premiers and the Estonian Prime Ministers held bilateral talks during every "16+1" summit in the past five years – more frequently than before, discussing many practical issues and setting out future plans together. Several documents on agriculture, quarantine, healthcare, education and culture were signed between our two governments. Our economic and trade relation is growing steadily. The oil shale power plant in Jordan - our first large-scale joint project in another country, has started construction. Business between China's SF Express and Estonia's Omniva is expanding at a fast pace. Didi Chuxing, a leading Chinese ride-sharing company, is now a strategic partner of Taxify. Estonian piano is getting popular among many Chinese musicians. Estonian wooden houses have already found their way to Chinese market. An increasing number of Estonian enterprises are interested in selling their products and services to Chinese market and vice versa. With more frequent exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, youth and tourism, our people-to-people exchanges and local cooperation are more active than ever before.  

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the launching of China's reform and opening-up policy. Very much like Estonia, China has benefited from reforms and opening up to the outside world. Without reform and opening-up, it would be impossible for China to lift more than 1 billion people out of poverty and become world's second largest economy in less than forty years.

At the early stage of China's reform and opening-up, the Chinese Government formulated a "three-step" roadmap of development. The first step is to address the subsistence problem, followed by preliminarily building a moderately prosperous society as the second step. These two goals have been successfully accomplished in advance.

Last October, the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China was convened in Beijing. The conference came to an important conclusion that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered into a new era and the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. The principal contradiction now is between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life.

The Party Congress drew up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century. In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, we will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society to see that socialist modernization is basically realized. In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, we will develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

To lay a solid foundation for achieving these goals, the Chinese Government and the Chinese people are working hard to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.

China's economy has contributed more than 30% in average to global growth for the past four years, and it will continue to be one of the main engines to world economy in the years ahead. We are committed to deepening comprehensive reforms and opening our doors wider to the world. We are ready to work together with other countries to make global growth more invigorated, more coordinated, more inclusive and more sustainable so as to build a community of shared future for mankind.

In the coming five years, China is expected to import $8 trillion of goods, attract $600 billion of foreign investment and make $750 billion of outbound investment. All this will create a bigger market, more capital, more products and more business opportunities for other countries.

The Chinese proverb says "the bonfire burns high when everybody adds wood to it" and Estonian wisdom tells us "tasa sõuad, kaugele jõuad". As the Sixth Meeting of Heads of Government of China and the Central and Eastern European Countries will be held soon in Budapest, I am confident that leaders from China and 16 CEE countries will take this opportunity to build on past achievements and open up the future together, so as to advance "16+1" cooperation into a new era and unveil a new chapter for bilateral relations between China and 16 CEE countries as well as China-EU cooperation.  

 

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