Xi meets Duda as two countries to push ties to higher level
Published: Jun 24, 2024 11:40 PM
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Polish President Andrzej Duda review the guard of honor in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 24, 2024. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Polish President Andrzej Duda review the guard of honor in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on June 24, 2024. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday held talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is on a state visit to China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two countries signed a series of bilateral cooperation documents in trade and agriculture, and the two leaders also exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis.

Noting Poland was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China, Xi said bilateral relations have maintained steady progress since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 75 years ago.

Since China and Poland decided to upgrade their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership eight years ago, exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various fields have expanded and deepened in an all-round way, benefiting the two peoples, he added.

Xi said that "The key to the success of China-Poland relations is that both sides have been able to draw wisdom and strength from the historical and cultural traditions of their respective nations and adhere to independent development of bilateral friendly relations." 

China has decided to implement a 15-day unilateral visa-free policy for Polish citizens, Xi noted. 

Duda said at the meeting that Poland is willing to keep close multilateral communication and coordination with China, push for further development of the Polish-China comprehensive strategic partnership and make positive contributions to promoting world peace and stability. 

Poland will assume the rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of next year, and is willing to play a constructive role in promoting EU-China relations and continue to promote cooperation between Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) and China, said the Polish president.

A key to peace

Xi stressed at the meeting with Duda that "China's stance on the Ukraine crisis is to encourage peace talks and seek a political resolution. At present, efforts should be made to prevent the conflict from escalating, and to create conditions conducive to peace talks. This aligns with the interests of the international community, including Europe."

"China opposes those who use normal China-Russia trade relations as an excuse to deflect focus and smear China. China encourages and supports all efforts conducive to a peaceful resolution of the crisis and promotes the establishment of a balanced, effective, and sustainable European security framework. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in the political resolution of the Ukraine crisis in its own way," Xi noted.

Poland is a country with long-standing tensions with Russia, and is a key member of NATO that is deeply involved in the Ukraine crisis. Duda's visit to Beijing proves that some voices from the West, especially the US, who claimed that the development of China-Russia ties would damage China's relations with European countries, are far from correct, said experts. 

The facts prove that China is a responsible and neutral major power that can withstand disruption from a few countries like the US and effectively communicate and develop ties with conflicting parties of the Ukraine crisis at the same time, analysts noted. 

"China is a country that can independently develop ties with other countries without targeting any third party, so China can develop ties with Poland and other EU members, and can also develop ties with Russia," Cui Heng, a scholar from the Shanghai-based China National Institute for Shanghai Cooperation Organization International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, told the Global Times on Monday.

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Monday that the Ukraine crisis and security of Europe are complicated issues that require engagement with all kinds of countries, not only major EU members like France and Germany, or the conflicting parties like Russia and Ukraine, but also countries that are directly concerned and that have influence like Poland.  

"China-Poland ties or China-EU ties and China-Russia ties do not necessarily affect each other, because we have broad common interests that need to be developed and we have the wisdom to avoid meddling in the situation in Europe, while also playing a constructive role to help the relevant parties find a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine," Cui noted.  

Ahead of his visit, Duda said in an interview on Radio Zet on Friday that "I am trying to maintain friendly relations with China. Poland has always had decent relations with China and I would like that to be continued," the AP reported on Monday.

The Polish leader told the station that peace in Ukraine will be discussed. Asked if he believes that China holds the key to peace in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Duda said: "I think that to a large degree, yes," the AP reported.  

Bilateral cooperation

China and Poland share broad common interests on economic cooperation and trade, and the two countries are also seeking more people-to-people exchanges. Xi said at the meeting with Duda that the two sides should jointly build the Belt and Road with high quality, ensure and advance cooperation on major projects such as the China-Europe Railway Express, and strengthen cooperation in areas such as trade, agriculture, digital economy, green industry and clean energy. 

"China welcomes more high-quality Polish agricultural and food products to enter the Chinese market, supports the expansion of two-way investment and hopes that Poland will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises," Xi remarked. 

For years, China has been Poland's second largest trading partner and Poland has been China's largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the past five years, bilateral trade between China and Poland has registered an average annual growth rate of more than 10 percent, and bilateral trade in 2023 hit $42 billion, Sun Linjiang, the Chinese ambassador to Poland, said in his article published in the People's Daily on Sunday.

Sun said Poland was one of the first countries to sign the intergovernmental memorandum of understanding with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. There is a growing presence of Chinese businesses in the Polish market, and their direct investment in the European country has totaled more than $4 billion, wrote the ambassador.

Polish beef and blueberries have been on Chinese families' dining tables since an agreement for the products to enter the Chinese market was signed last year, Sun said.

The state visit by the Polish president sends a positive signal that China and Poland are committed to mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, and are working together to address challenges, Sun noted.

"We believe that the meeting between the two heads of state will give new impetus to the development of relations between the two countries and between China and Europe," said the Chinese ambassador.