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Moldova eyes more substantial ties with China

(Xinhua)

10:47, October 14, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Moldova's Vice Prime Minister Iurie Leanca on Thursday pledged to make greater efforts to further ties between his country and China.

"We feel deeply positive about the excellent relationship between Moldova and China," said Leanca, adding that the ties are based on mutual respect, friendship and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Leanca, also foreign and European integration minister, is making an official visit to China at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

He told Xinhua in an interview that what is important now is to "bring more substance and more content to this excellent relationship."

He said trade has improved in recent years and positive figures have been seen in regards to rising imports and exports between the two nations.

Data from China shows that the bilateral trade volume reached 87.23 million U.S. dollars in 2010, much higher than that of ten years ago.

"It's in the best interests of Moldova that our products have access to the Chinese market," Leanca said, highlighting Moldovans' desire to bring their "strategic products," which is primarily wine, onto the shelves of Chinese stores.

The vice prime minister said Moldovans welcome Chinese products, but they want more "Chinese investment in Moldova."

Leanca said he talked to various business leaders in Beijing during this visit, from both state and private companies, on how to realize the great potential of their investment in Moldova's infrastructure, energy, agriculture and new technologies.

"We are very happy to observe the trend that interest here is growing in investing in Moldova," he said.

Leanca said Moldova's labor force is cheap but well-educated, which provides the central European country with a competitive edge to attract foreign investment.

Leanca said his colleagues are also working with the Chinese side to simplify the existing visa system between the two countries to make entry easier for business people and tourists.

"Whenever we go to any (other) European capital, we see a growing number of Chinese tourists, which of course is an additional source of income for every country," he said, adding that Moldova does not want to be "an island not visited by Chinese tourists."

Leanca believes human contacts and cultural exchanges play an important role in the development of bilateral ties.

In 2001, the two governments reached an agreement on educational cooperation, under which China and Moldova have sent a number of students to each other's country.

"We want more young Moldovans studying in China in the very good universities to learn the Chinese language, to get familiar with the history and civilization," said the diplomat, adding that students will play an active role in building bridges between the two countries and advancing bilateral ties in a "vivid and vibrant" way.

Born in 1963, Leanca has worked with Moldova's foreign service for more than 20 years.

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