Consolidating Traditional Friendship, Deepening Mutually-Beneficial Cooperation and Promoting Common Development
- Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Talks about Premier Wen Jiabao's Visit to Iceland, Sweden, and Poland and His Attendance of the Hanover Industrial Fair
From April 20 to 27, 2012, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council paid an official visit to Iceland, Sweden and Poland and attended the opening ceremony of the Hanover Industrial Fair (Hanover Messe) in Germany and the Partner Country events. As Premier Wen's trip was drawing to a close, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi introduced the main activities and outcomes of the trip to the accompanying journalists.
Yang said that the international situation is undergoing profound and complex adjustment, the world economy is experiencing a difficult recovery, and the Europe's debt situation is generally stabilized and moving toward a good direction; however, there are still many uncertainties. China and Europe are both at a critical period of development and are both facing the historic task of reform and development. It is the common aspiration of both sides to help each other and carry out win-win cooperation. In such a new circumstance, developing and maintaining China-Europe relations along the right direction and moving bilateral practical cooperation towards higher and bigger goals is not only in line with the fundamental interests of both sides, but also conducive to promoting world economic recovery and safeguarding world peace and stability. Premier Wen's trip to Europe this year is a major diplomatic move of China to Europe and therefore attracted great attention.
The four countries visited by Premier Wen are important countries representing different regions in Europe. They hold a positive attitude toward the cooperation with China and the cooperation potentials are tremendous. Premier Wen also attended the Ministerial Dialogue of Stockholm+40 - Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development and the China-Central and Eastern Europe Leaders' Meeting and the Second China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum in Warsaw. He attended over 70 events and delivered many important speeches in an eight-day intense trip. Through political, economic and cultural interactions on bilateral and multilateral occasions, Premier Wen comprehensively push forward the friendly cooperation between China and the visited countries and the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, fully expounded China's policy propositions such as insisting on reform and opening up, upholding the principle of equality and mutual benefit, and seeking for sustainable development, and showcased the image of China as a peace-loving and responsible country seeking for development and cooperation. With diverse forms, rich activities and fruitful results, Premier Wen's trip achieved a full success.
I. Opening a new chapter for the friendly relations between China and the visited countries
1. Uplifting China-Iceland relations to a new level. Yang said that Iceland has long pursued a friendly policy towards China. Iceland was among the earlier group of countries that recognized China's market economy status. Iceland enjoys outstanding advantages in geothermal energy and other green energy technologies. Premier Wen's visit to Iceland is the first visit by a Chinese premier since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iceland. The purpose of his visit is to consolidate friendship, deepen cooperation and uplift bilateral relations to a new level.
Premier Wen and the Icelandic leaders reached a series of important consensus, which laid the foundation and pointed out the direction for the future development of bilateral relations. The leaders of the two countries identified three priority areas of cooperation. First, to accelerate the Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations and strive to complete the negotiations next year. By then, it will be the first FTA between China and a European country and it therefore bears great significance. Second, to strengthen investment cooperation and ensure the success of big cooperation projects. Third, to promote the cooperation in geothermal energy, polar research and other related areas. The two sides signed related inter-governmental cooperation agreements. Iceland supports China to become a member of the Arctic Council in a bid to jointly promote the peace, stability and sustainable development of the Arctic region. Premier Wen also made a special trip to Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant and had in-depth discussions with experts and scholars. The Icelandic leaders believed that Premier Wen's visit is of great historical significance and is another milestone for bilateral relations.
The Icelandic and international media generally considered that Premier Wen's visit will not only bring opportunities to the development of Iceland, but also bring hope to the Nordic countries eager to access China's investment. The geothermal cooperation between China and Iceland will help to promote the transformation of China's energy model to an environment-friendly model and help China achieve sustainable development.
2. Upgrading the level of Sino-German friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation in an all-round manner. Yang said that Germany is a big power in Europe, the largest trading partner of China in Europe and the main source of investment for China. In the course of jointly coping with the international financial crisis, the two countries have significantly enhanced political trust and pragmatic cooperation. Last year, China and Germany established a governmental consultation mechanism and bilateral relations have witnessed significant development. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany and bilateral cooperation is facing new opportunities.
Germany attaches great importance to Premier Wen's visit. Chancellor Angela Merkel accompanied Premier Wen throughout his main activities in Germany. Premier Wen proposed to formulate a package of cooperation programs, including carrying out large-scale economic and technical cooperation in infrastructure development, investment, trade, finance, and other areas and advancing bilateral cooperation in various fields in an all-round and expedited manner. Merkel responded positively to Premier Wen's proposal and considered that strengthening Germany-China cooperation bears strategic importance and international influence. The two sides agreed to instruct their respective departments to start consultations on the implementation as early as possible. Premier Wen reiterated that China firmly supports the European integration process and has confidence in Europe. China is willing to work with the international community to play a due role in dealing with the debt crisis in Europe. Merkel made positive comments on the important role played by China in stabilizing the euro and the European economy and said that Germany is willing to promote the EU to strengthen cooperation with China.
After a lapse of 25 years, China has once again become the Partner Country of the Hanover Industrial Fair, where China showed to the world the strength of "Made in China" and the potentials of "Created in China". It has injected a new impetus to Sino-German economic and trade cooperation and the world economy. While visiting the booths of Chinese and German enterprises, Premier Wen encouraged the entrepreneurs of both countries to seize the opportunity, deepen cooperation and promote industrial innovation and development of the world. He stressed that China's opening-up policy will remain unchanged and China will continue to create a favorable environment for investment. Premier Wen made a special trip to the headquarters of Volkswagen and witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between Chinese and German automobile companies on setting up factories in Xinjiang. Premier Wen's trip to Germany has further consolidated the growing momentum of Sino-German relations and enriched the connotations of Sino-German strategic partnership.
The international media generally considered that China and Germany have become solid and reliable partners. The German political and business communities have confidence in the market and investment environment of China, welcome China to play a greater role in world economic arena, and look forward to greater participation in China's modernization process.
3. Actively expanding new areas of pragmatic cooperation between China and Sweden. Yang said that Sweden is an important Nordic country and is also the first western country to establish diplomatic relations with new China. China and Sweden are important trading partners. The two sides enjoy broad prospects for the cooperation in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development.
Premier Wen delivered the positive message of Sino-Swedish friendship to Sweden and showed a sincere desire to promote Sino-Swedish cooperation. The leaders of China and Sweden reached a consensus on strengthening cooperation in environmental protection, sustainable development, and innovation. The two sides issued a document on strengthening strategic cooperation in sustainable development and will establish a long-term partnership in policy dialogue, scientific research, industrial cooperation and international cooperation. The two sides also signed a number of cooperation agreements involving energy conservation, environmental protection, financial regulation, infrastructure development and other related fields. China will establish a Chinese Cultural Centre in Sweden to promote mutual understanding between the two peoples. The Swedish leaders spoke highly of China's development achievements and said that Sweden is willing to deepen cooperation with China and jointly improve the ability to participate in the global competition. They believed that the two peoples can become good friends and partners on the path of sustainable development.
The Volvo project is an example of successful cooperation between Chinese and Swedish companies. Premier Wen visited the headquarters of Volvo. He urged the entrepreneurs of both countries to focus on interpersonal communication and exchanges and continue to carry forward the spirit of mutual understanding, tolerance and support so that the cooperation bears more fruitful results.
4. Further promoting the development of China-Poland relations. Yang said that Poland is a big country in Central and Eastern Europe, the largest trading partner of China in Central and Eastern Europe, and the first new EU member state to establish the strategic partnership with China. The sound development of China-Poland relationship will help to boost China's pragmatic cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe as a whole and promote the comprehensive development of China-Europe relations.
The two prime ministers had an in-depth exchange of views on implementing the consensus establishing China-Poland strategic partnership reached by President Hu Jintao and President Komorowski last year. The two prime ministers said that the two countries respect each other's choice of development path. The two countries should take this visit as an opportunity to improve the cooperation mechanism, set clear targets, and develop specific measures to push the China-Poland strategic partnership forward. The two sides decided to establish the prime ministers' regular meeting mechanism to strengthen high-level exchanges. The two sides decided to establish an intergovernmental cooperation committee to promote the bilateral cooperation in various fields in an all-round manner. The two sides decided to start developing the long-term plan for the bilateral economic and trade cooperation and set up a steering committee for industrial cooperation. The two sides decided to strengthen cooperation in investment, infrastructure development and high-tech, propel the balanced growth of bilateral trade, and strive to double the trade volume in five years. Many of these initiatives are groundbreaking in the relations between China and Central and Eastern European countries and will inject new momentum to the development of China-Poland relations and exert a broad and far-reaching positive influence. The Polish leaders said that China-Poland relations are at the highest level in history. Poland is willing to strengthen the all-round cooperation with China and play an active role in promoting relations between China and Central and Eastern Europe and between China and Europe.
People-to-people exchange is a highlight of Premier Wen's visit to Poland. Premier Wen actively promoted the two countries to expand exchanges in culture, education and tourism and between local governments. He invited 50 Polish youths to China to consolidate the traditional friendship and increase the understanding between the two peoples, especially between the youths. Premier Wen, at the invitation of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, delivered a televised speech to introduce the results and the significance of his visit to Poland, the China-Central and Eastern Europe Leaders' Meeting and the Economic and Trade Forum. Premier Wen visited the Chopin Museum and exchanged views with the artists in memory of Chopin. He also visited the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial in remembrance of the victims who died there during World War II. He said there would be no bright future if the history is not well learned. He also reaffirmed China's firm position of maintaining peace and adhering to justice.
The different communities in Poland spoke positively of the significance of Premier Wen's visit to Poland and considered that China-Poland friendship has a solid foundation and Premier Wen's visit will increase the breadth and depth of bilateral cooperation and push the bilateral relations to achieve new development.
II. Bringing the friendly cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries onto the track of rapid and all-round development
Yang said that China and Central and Eastern European countries, based on the traditional friendship, have conducted sound cooperation. In recent years, the economy of the Central and Eastern European countries showed a rising trend as a whole and the growth potentials are tremendous. Under the new situation, especially facing the challenges of the international financial crisis, the two sides have strong desire to enhance mutual understanding and strengthen economic and trade cooperation.
In Poland, Premier Wen attended the China-Central and Eastern Europe Leaders' Meeting and the second China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum and delivered an important speech respectively, comprehensively expounding China's guiding principles and thinking for the cooperation with the Central and Eastern European countries. He also exchanged views with the participating leaders on how to implement the consensus. The leaders agreed to develop mutual relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and build the future-oriented friendly partnership for common development based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Premier Wen proposed 12 initiatives on deepening relations with Central and Eastern European countries. He stressed that developing relations with the countries in Central and Eastern Europe is an important part of China-Europe relations, will inject a new vitality into China-Europe cooperation and is line with the common interests of both sides. The participating leaders spoke highly of the Initiatives and measures proposed by Premier Wen and expressed their unanimous agreement. They considered this an embodiment of the great importance China attaches to strengthening the cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries and China's pragmatic attitude towards such cooperation. They considered that it would inject a strong impetus to mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields and effectively promote mutual development and regional cooperation. They expressed the willingness to work with China to actively implement the outcome of the meetings and uplift the relations between China and Central and Eastern Europe to a new level.
The leaders of all the Central and Eastern European countries, including 14 prime ministers and 2 deputy prime ministers, attended this event. Such a large gathering reflected that the Central and Eastern European countries place importance to and look forward to developing relations with China. The two sides issued a press communiqué, speaking highly of the leaders' meeting and the economic and trade forum, emphasizing the role of high-level exchanges in leading and driving the development state-to-state relations, and expressing the willingness to continue to carry out such forms of cooperation. Both sides considered that expanding and deepening mutual relations is in line with the common aspirations and fundamental interests of China and Central and Eastern European countries and their peoples. The two sides are willing to continue to deepen pragmatic cooperation in trade, investment, finance and other areas, strengthen people-to-people exchanges, and enhance communication and coordination on major international and regional issues so as to jointly cope with challenges.
The success of the leaders' meeting and the trade and economic forum has portrayed a bright future for the friendly cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries and has sent out a strong signal that the two sides will strengthen the comprehensive cooperation.
Premier Wen also held bilateral meetings with all participating leaders and exchanged views with them on bilateral relations and issues of common interests. It enhanced mutual trust, expanded consensus, and strongly boosted the development of bilateral relations between China and Central and Eastern European countries.
The Polish and international media reported Premier Wen's attendance of the event and the contents of Premier Wen's speeches. They considered that China and Central and Eastern European countries enjoy complementary advantages. Cooperation will not only benefit both sides, but also help both sides to jointly explore the entire European market and promote the development of China-Europe relations.
III. Actively expounding China's policies and positions on taking the road of sustainable development
FM Yang said that China has uplifted sustainable development as a national strategy. China is committed to accelerating the transformation of economic development mode and building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society. During the trip to Europe, Premier Wen delivered many important speeches, comprehensively and systematically elaborating on China's policies and positions on adhering to the reform and opening up and firmly taking the road of sustainable development.
Premier Wen Jiabao attended the Ministerial Dialogue of Stockholm+40 - Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development and delivered a keynote speech. This is an important event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Ministers or minister representatives from 72 countries attended the dialogue. Premier Wen introduced China's practices and great achievements in sustainable development. He noted that China is a staunch supporter and practitioner of sustainable development. China has identified resource conservation and environmental protection as a basic national policy, has uplifted the strategy of sustainable development as a national strategy, and has established the scientific concept of development as an important guiding ideology for economic and social development. Over the past 40 years, China has faithfully fulfilled the commitments to the domestic and the international community. Premier Wen raised initiatives to the international community and stressed the importance of equal environmental right, win-win situation of development and sustainability, and global governance for sustainable development.
At the opening ceremony of the Hanover Industrial Fair, Premier Wen delivered a speech entitled "Adhering Reform and Opening up and Promoting Innovative Development", elaborating on the tremendous achievements of industrialization in China since the founding of new China, especially since the reform and opening up and indicating that China adheres to building an innovative country, taking a new road of industrialization, and achieving comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable economic development. Premier Wen raised three propositions: vigorously developing the physical economy, promoting scientific and technological innovation, and promoting open cooperation, which pointed out the direction for countries to actively cope with the international financial crisis and achieve sustainable development the world's industry.
The participants made positive comments on China's sustainable development strategy and China's policies and positions on promoting international cooperation in sustainable development. The domestic and foreign media had quick and full coverage of Premier Wen's speech and considered that Premier Wen delivered a clear message of China's adherence to the path of sustainable development to the world and showed China's confidence and determination to pursue green development, harmonious development, and common development.
Yang concluded that Premier Wen's visit is a successful journey of friendly cooperation and has achieved the expected goals of deepening mutual trust, expanding consensus, boosting confidence and enhancing cooperation. Premier Wen's trip is bound to exert an important and positive influence on the friendly and cooperative relations between China and the visited countries and the comprehensive development of China-Europe relations.