China-CEEC cooperation 'pragmatic, effective,' FM says after Czech considers exiting from '16+1' investment platform
Published: Jun 10, 2022 05:52 PM
Zhao Lijian Photo: VCG

Zhao Lijian Photo: VCG

Anyone without prejudice will come to the conclusion that China-Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC) cooperation is pragmatic and effective, and China is willing to work with CEEC to jointly promote cooperation mechanism further and deeper to benefit the people of all countries, China's Foreign Ministry said on Friday, in response to the Czech Republic's consideration of exiting from China's 16+1 investment platform for CEE.

"China-CEEC cooperation, together with bilateral relations and China-EU relations, has constituted the three major platforms for China-CEEC relations, and has become an important part and useful supplement of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing on Friday.

He said that China-CEEC cooperation is a cross-regional cooperation platform jointly built by China and CEEC including the Czech Republic, and has made positive contributions to the win-win cooperation and common development between China and CEEC. 

A resolution calling for the Czech Republic to quit the "16+1" mechanism has been passed to the government after the Czech parliament's foreign affairs committee unanimously approved it in mid-May, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday. The consideration comes after Lithuania pulled out of the then "17+1 platform" last year, which inflicted huge damage on its domestic economy. 

Jan Lipavsky, Czech's foreign minister who has long been a China hawk, said that the Czech Republic has seen little investment from China through the 16+1 platform despite grand promises. 

According to Zhao, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of China-CEEC cooperation. In 2021, the trade volume between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries reached a record $133.55 billion, a year-on-year increase of 32 percent, against the backdrop of the raging epidemic outbreak. The growth rate is also much higher than that of China's trade volume with the EU during the same period.

"Facts speak louder than words, and the data epitomizes the fruitful cooperation carried out by the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism over the past 10 years," Zhao said. 

Global Times