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China-Czech ties to leap forward after Xi’s trip: commentary

(People's Daily)    09:50, March 25, 2016

On the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day state visit to the Czech Republic next Monday, the People's Daily published a commentary on the visit, saying his trip will elevate China-Czech ties to a new high and inject impetus to collaboration between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC).

Xi’s visit, on invitation of Czech President Milos Zeman, will be the first by a Chinese head of state since the two nations established diplomatic ties 67 years ago.

The trip also arrives at a new stage in bilateral ties. The article illustrated that with bilateral trade volume in 2015 totaling at $11 billion, the Czech Republic is now China’s second-largest trading partner in Central and Eastern Europe, while China is the largest trading partner of Czech Republic outside the EU.

In addition, the country is a major regionalinvestment destination for Chinese enterprises. China has invested over $700 million in the country, accounting for 14 percent of its total investment in Central and Eastern Europe.

As an industrial country, the Czech Republic boasts rich industrial resources, sound infrastructure and well-educated citizens, which offer huge potential for China-Czech collaborations in manufacturing, nuclear energy and infrastructure.

Moreover, historic opportunities in bilateral cooperation are abound in building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the commentary stressed.

Both sides signed a memorandum of understanding on building the routes last November.

Located at the center of Europe, theCzech Republic offers strong infrastructure in railway, road, air and sea transport. The construction of the routes will push cooperation to new highs by providing them unprecedented opportunities in docking their development strategies, plans and policies.

As a key to state ties, people-to-people exchanges between the two also flourish. For example, a seminar on Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, a book that outlines the full political ideas of the top leadership, was recently held for the Czech Chamber of Deputies.

After reading the book, both Chinese and Czech political heavyweights and scholars praised the wisdom of the Chinese leadership in solving domestic and international roadblocks.

The Chinese people also feel a connection to Czech culture. Books such as The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and The Good Soldier Švejkby Jaroslav Hašek are famous in China. Panda and Little Mole, a 52 episodes animation series produced by China and the Czech Republic, will soon be another product of their friendship.

This year also marks a year of China-CEEC people-to-people exchanges, which further provides opportunities for bilateral cultural communication, commented the article.

The rapid growth of China-Czech ties reflect China’s closer ties with all the Central and Eastern European countries.

Over the last three years, from Warsaw to Bucharest, from Belgrade to Suzhou, “16+1” cooperation has been developing as fast as a high speed train.

Two important documents - the Mid-term Plan on China-CEEC Cooperation and the Suzhou Guidelines for China-CEEC Cooperation - were adopted last November, laying the roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the next five years. The partners are now striding towards peace, tranquility, development and prosperity.

As this year witnesses the start of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), also an important year to promote China-CEEC pragmatic cooperation, Xi’s visit bearseven more significance. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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