China, CEECs show positive example, experience: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 09, 2021 11:53 PM

Participants attend the 5th China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) 17+1 High-level Tourism Forum in Riga, Latvia, on Oct. 23, 2019. Photo:Xinhua

The summit of China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) was held via video link on Tuesday. Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the summit and delivered a keynote speech. He said, "Guided by the conviction that '17 plus 1 could make more than 18,' we have set up a multi-dimensional cooperation framework led by the leaders' summit and covering 20-plus sectors to ensure the participation of all CEE countries." President Xi also mentioned that "Mindful of each other's concerns, we have drawn up plans and decided on projects based on the national reality of each country, and encouraged all countries to find the best way to leverage their respective strengths in cooperation." 

The China-CEEC cooperation mechanism started in 2012. The West often makes sarcastic remarks, including groundlessly assuming that the real intention of China is to divide and rule the EU. Yet their cooperation has been moving forward and has become one of the driving forces for the economic development of related countries. Its effect has been highly positive.

The economic development level of Central and Eastern Europe is generally not as good as that of Western Europe. Every political shock in Europe will affect Central and Eastern Europe, and the two regions would become the center and frontline of such shocks from time to time. But when it comes to development, Central and Eastern Europe would always lag behind. The development trend from the Atlantic Ocean tends to decline when it reaches Central and Eastern Europe.

When the East gradually rises, Central and Eastern European regions have shown a certain geographical advantage that they did not have in the past. Strengthening cooperation with China becomes a logical choice for CEECs. This is not geopolitics at all, but an inevitable reflection of relevant countries' natural desire to accelerate development.

In recent years, the China-Europe Railway Express has covered most CEECs, and more than 30,000 trains have been operated. It has become the main artery connecting China and Central and Eastern Europe in the new era. Trade has increased by nearly 85 percent in nine years and the number of mutual tourist visits has grown nearly five times.  There are major projects invested by China in Greece, Serbia and Croatia, which have brought benefits to related companies and the public in these countries. 

China and Central and Eastern Europe do whatever is conductive to their development and promote win-win cooperation. This is how the two sides' cooperation has continued to expand. Central and Eastern European countries are still affected by many parties and there will inevitably be some complicated factors. But it is also one of the important successful lessons to try to suppress those complicated factors, prevent them from being over-fermented and strive to achieve more cooperation beneficial to both sides.

It now appears that the scale and depth of cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe is still not balanced. Some countries, due to the political pressure from the outside, may have many concerns. This has made it more complicated for these countries to launch cooperation projects with China. There is still a lot of room to make our cooperation clearer.

Among major countries, China cooperates with foreign countries with the purest intentions. It is willing to develop friendly relations with other countries and oppose politicized diplomacy and foreign cooperation. The Chinese people reject spheres of influence or using cooperation as a diplomatic means. As long as other countries do not take the initiative to complicate their relations with China, China will never turn economic cooperation as a diplomatic maneuver against a third party.     

 There is true spirit of equality and mutual benefit between China and CEECs. It's like the icing on the cake that benefits all relevant countries. There are no internal calculations within the China-Central and Eastern Europe cooperation mechanism, nor does it target other countries. Between the two sides is frank cooperation that yields tangible gains. It sets up a positive example and offers valuable experience.