|Written Interview with Media from Central and Eastern European Countries by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang|
Part I China-CEEC Cooperation
2. What are the CEECs' advantages in cooperating with China? How do they increase exports to China to balance two-way trade?
3. How could China-CEEC cooperation be aligned with the effort of building China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization and China's "Belt and Road" Initiative?
China firmly supports the European integration process and hopes to see a more united and prosperous Europe. China appreciates the political will of the CEECs to join the EU and respects their choice. China has supported CEECs with concrete actions in accelerating their own development and promoting the EU's overall development. China and the EU, the biggest developing country and the biggest grouping of developed countries in the world today, share growing common interests and are deepening their mutually beneficial cooperation. We have full confidence in the future of China-Europe relations.
China-CEEC cooperation is an important part of China-Europe relations. China-CEEC cooperation, as an important innovation in the overall China-Europe cooperation, has maintained sound momentum of growth in the past three years, and has become an important growth area and engine for China-Europe ties. Last August, 15 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, whose economies combined account for two thirds of the national total, participated in the Second China-CEEC Local Leaders' Meeting. During the meeting, the three provinces of Hebei, Zhejiang and Fujian alone reached cooperation agreements worth US$2 billion with local governments of CEECs, turning a new page in China-Europe exchanges at the local level. Connectivity is the highlight of China-CEEC cooperation and a bright spot in China-Europe cooperation. The Mihajlo Pupin Bridge is the first large infrastructure project Chinese companies undertook in Europe. China's proposal of building the China-Europe land-sea express line on the basis of the Belgrade-Budapest Railway and the Greek port of Piraeus will directly impact an area of 340,000 square kilometers and a population of 32 million. The express line will greatly enhance the transport and logistics network of countries along the way, promote their economic growth and people's livelihood, and deepen China's mutually beneficial cooperation with these countries. It will set a model for China-Europe cooperation on connectivity.
China's "Belt and Road" Initiative is one for peace and win-win cooperation. It champions a spirit of openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning. China-CEEC cooperation values equality and mutual benefit. Hence, the two are very much aligned and have a lot in common. CEECs, as a bridge spanning over the Eurasian continent, enjoy distinct geographical advantages. China is ready to work with CEECs to make overall planning, improve the operation of the China-Europe international cargo trains, push forward the construction of the China-Europe land-sea express line and strengthen subregional connectivity in Central and Eastern Europe, so as to jointly foster a fast, smooth and efficient Asia-Europe transport and logistics network, for the benefit of people along the route.
4. What challenges will China-CEEC cooperation face in the future and how should we cope with them? Given the different national conditions of CEECs, what can be done to ensure the sustainability of China-CEEC cooperation and make sure that all get to benefit from such cooperation?
Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, China-CEEC cooperation has grown into an important platform for China-Europe cooperation in a brief span of three years. The mechanism, which has shown great scale and cluster effect, has been steadily recognized by the international community, and our people have placed high hopes on it. The biggest challenge China-CEEC cooperation may face is the potential gap between countries' expectations and the actual cooperation outcomes.
The Central and Eastern European countries, despite their different national conditions, share commonality in their cooperation with China. They all have a strong desire for cooperation in infrastructure, including highways, railways, ports, power plants, tourism, agriculture and culture. They all hope to attract more investment and expand exports. China has a vast territory and huge market, and even the season may vary from one region to another. Different localities in China all have their own development features and cooperation needs. All this presents opportunities for our mutually beneficial cooperation. We need to note that countries may focus on different specific cooperation priorities in China-CEEC cooperation, and may choose to conduct projects in their own way, and with their own pace and intensity. A lack of coordination may reduce the overall effect and quality of cooperation.
Therefore, we have focused on developing new areas of growth while taking into consideration the different development features and practical needs of CEECs. The purpose is to fully leverage the geographic advantages and sectoral strengths of the 16 countries. Main entities in specific areas, given their advantage of easy access to information and communication, may increase collaboration and mutual sharing to achieve better allocation of resources and greater results of cooperation. We may establish a "B-to-B" business cooperation model, and improve the overall layout of China-CEEC cooperation so that all will get involved, benefit from the cooperation and achieve common development.
The above idea has been widely supported by CEECs. In fact, it was a major deliverable of the Bucharest meeting. To fully harness the creativity and enthusiasm of all parties, we will not seek uniformity in the operation of associations. Instead, countries are encouraged to take advantage of their own strengths. Such an approach has paid off. In the past year, associations for tourism, agriculture, provincial governors and institutes of higher learning have been set up. During this meeting, we will have the inauguration ceremony of the China-CEEC Business Council, and cooperation platforms will be set up for infrastructure, energy, and think tanks in time to come. The China-CEEC Association of Tourism Promotion Agencies and Businesses has become a main designer and important player in the 2015 Year of China-CEEC Tourism Cooperation and Promotion. The China-CEEC Association of Governors of Provinces and Regions is playing a bigger role in local-level cooperation. I am fully confident that with joint efforts of all sides, the associations will give strong boost to our cooperation in various areas, providing the most powerful support and most solid anchor for the sustained growth of China-CEEC cooperation. In this I have full confidence.
Part II China's Cooperation with Romania
China and Romania have carried out productive practical cooperation under the framework of China-CEEC cooperation, in particular, in the area of energy. The China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) will develop new units for the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant. Are there other Chinese companies interested in participating in energy projects in Romania?
Last year, the second China-CEEC Heads of Government Meeting was successfully held in Romania, a milestone in the process of China-CEEC cooperation. The Bucharest Guidelines for Cooperation issued at the meeting laid out a comprehensive plan, identifying the priority cooperation areas and projects. Over the past year, the Guidelines have been smoothly implemented. Under this framework, China-Romania practical cooperation has developed vibrantly with important breakthroughs made in particular in the energy sector including nuclear power, hydropower and coal-fired power.
China's nuclear technology develops rapidly, and features safe and stable operation, rich construction experience, and the biggest nuclear power capacity under construction. Since 2013, the Chinese and Romanian governments and businesses have signed a series of documents on nuclear power cooperation, which have laid a solid legal foundation for the furtherance of cooperation. CGN has won the bid for units 3 and 4 of the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant. Companies of both sides need to intensify efforts and complete the preparations for construction as quickly as possible.
Chinese enterprises are taking an active part in projects such as the Rovinari power station, the Mintia-Deva power plant, and the Tarniţa hydropower plant. China will share experience and enhance exchanges with Romania to further advance practical cooperation in energy and achieve win-win results.