Zhao Lei's keynote speech at China Poland Forgien Policy Forum
Seize the opportunity and promote China-Poland Strategic Partnership to a new level
(20 June, 2016, Warsaw, Poland)
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to witness this historic moment of President Xi’s visit to Poland in China-Poland history, and it is also a great honor to be invited to give a speech on the first panel and exchange my views on China-Poland Strategic Partnership with you. We are happy to see that President Xi’s visit to Poland has elevated the strategic partnership to a new level. The two heads of state have reached new consensus on bilateral relations and charted for a brighter future. The practical cooperation in various fields between China and Poland has exceeded bilateral relations and embraced broader platform and richer content. This calls for joint efforts to implement consensus reached by the two heads of state, and promote China-Poland Strategic Partnership on bilateral level, as well as in the context of “16+1 cooperation”, as well as China-Europe relations. These three levels can be mutually beneficial and complementary, and make headway together.
1. China-Poland relations remain ever-new
For most Chinese people, Poland is not strange to them. Situated in Warsaw, Park Lazienkowski is well-known to the world and many Chinese people call it as Park Chopin as it houses a statue of Chopin. What is less known is that there is also a Chinese avenue with a long history in the park. The avenue was first built by the Polish King who had a great passion for Chinese art and culture. In the next two hundred years, the Chinese avenue has, along with the Polish people, witnessed the tremendous changes of Poland and the fighting for national independence and liberation. Several years ago, with the joint efforts of friendly people from both China and Poland, the Chinese avenue was being renovated and rebuilt, which fully shows the traditional and ever-lasting friendship between the two peoples.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Poland is among the first countries which established formal diplomatic relations with China. In 1951, the two governments has co-funded the establishment of Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Company, the first joint venture after the founding of the PRC, which has played an important role in breaking the economic blockade imposed by the western countries on China. In recent years, the two countries have conducted frequent high-level political dialogue, elevated the economic and trade cooperation, and expanded exchanges in the fields of culture, education and technology. During the International Chopin Piano Competition in the year 2000, Mr. Li Yundi, an 18-year-old Chinese young man, with his excellent performance and perfect interpretation of the Chopin music, became the first participant to be awarded First Prize in 15 years, as well as the first Chinese to win the Prize and the cultural envoy between China and Poland. To honor his outstanding contribution, the Polish government issued him the first Chopin passport worldwide, which has been well-known in the cultural exchange between China and Poland.
In 2011, China and Poland have established the Strategic Partnership, opening up a new chapter in the bilateral relations. In recent years, both sides have maintained frequent high-level contacts, deepened the economic and trade cooperation, and expanded exchanges in culture and education. Learning Chinese has become more and more popular among children and adults in Poland , and the 4 Confucious Institutes and classes are hard to meet such needs. In August 2014, China’s “Long March 4” rocket has successfully launched the Polish satellite, marking the first cooperation in the aerospace between China and Poland.
With the mutual promotion of “16+1 cooperation” and the “Belt and Road” initiative, China-CEEC cooperation, especially China-Poland cooperation has become deeper, more comprehensive, more practical, and achieved favorable results. China and Poland can tap their cooperation potential in infrastructure, logistics, manufacturing, innovation, new energy, and agriculture under the “Belt and Road” framework. With the establishment of China-CEEC education policy mechanism and China-Poland University Presidents Forum, exchange of visits on both sides has been expanded, bilateral cooperation on language teaching has been deepened. With the high importance attached by the central governments from both countries and their great support, local-level cooperation has become an indispensable part of China-Poland Strategic Partnership. The local-level cooperation forum has been held three times, which has promoted the practical cooperation and bilateral relations.
President Xi’s visit to Poland has opened a new era for the development of bilateral relations and injected new vitality for our traditional friendship. Standing at the new historical start and entering in a new development phase, both Chinese and Polish people face the task of developing our countries, and share the common dream of a prosperous and strong nation, and a happy life for the people. The Chinese people stands ready to, along with the Polish people, deepen practical cooperation in various fields and promote the strategic partnership.
At the same time, we also come to know that the major trade partners of Poland are still European countries. As an important country along the Silk Road Economic Belt, economic and trade cooperation between China and Poland has much potential to tap and a bright future ahead. We shall make joint efforts to plan for the bilateral cooperation. We share many common interests in the development plans of our countries, and “16+1 cooperation” and the “Belt and Road” initiative will bring about important development opportunities for Poland and China-Poland relations. We shall seize these opportunities and promote the practical cooperation to achieve more favorable results.
2. China-CEEC relations develop rapidly
In 2012, the first leaders’ summit of China and Central Eastern European countries was held in Poland, and during the summit, the “16+1” cooperation mechanism was first established. Poland, as the host country of the summit, has made outstanding contribution to the establishment and development of the mechanism. Over the last four years, the “16+1” cooperation mechanism has grown through the economic and trade forum, Secretariat for Cooperation between China and CEEC, meeting of national coordinators, ministerial-level economic and trade meeting, and local leaders meeting. China and CEEC, with a long history of close exchanges and profound traditional friendship, have built a solid basis of political trust in the new era. China and CEEC need to adopt flexible policies according to their own domestic situations and match their development strategies on the basis of equality, openness and inclusiveness. Meanwhile, China is seeking a win-win situation among China, CEEC and the EU by taking into consideration concerns of all sides and keeping up with China-Europe cooperation. That to be said, we have explored a new pragmatic cooperation model among countries that have different social systems in different regions.
The “16+1” cooperation mechanism has been great promoted and enhanced with the introduction of “the Belt and Road”. CEEC, accounting for one quarter of more than 60 countries that are located along “the Belt and Road”, are an important part of the global emerging markets. The “Belt and Road” has not only expanded the investments and trade among countries along the line, but also acted as a bridge of culture and friendship between China and CEEC.
Poland, as the only initial member country of AIIB among the CEEC, has played an important role in the promotion of “the Belt and Road”. Poland and China have sighed ‘One Belt, One Road’ cooperation agreement, and both sides are formulating the implementation plan. The freight trains such as Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe and Chengdu-Europe Express have built connections between China’s inland provinces and cities, and Lodz, Poland, the new transportation hub on the European continent. These railways not only form an important part in southern Eurasian railway, but also bring a large number of visits and investments.
China and Poland should also enhance industrial capacity cooperation. The Chinese government is actively promoting its competitive industries and equipment to go global, and this plan shares many common points with Poland’s Re-industrialization strategy. Both sides shall explore new cooperation projects based on the respective development needs and advantages. China owns high-quality equipment and mature technologies and is very competitive globally in areas of infrastructure construction, railway, highway, harbor, tele-communication and construction materials. China stands ready to explore cooperation projects with Poland.
We hope that China and Poland, on the platform of “16+1” cooperation mechanism, can seize the historic opportunities to promote the docking of “the Belt and Road” Initiative and Poland’s national development strategy, so as to jointly develop China-Poland and China-CEEC relations.
3. China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership steadily push forward
In 2014, China and EU for the first time declared that both sides will build the Four partnership relations featuring peace, growth, reform and civilization, which has opened a new chapter for China-EU relations. Nowadays, China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership steadily push forward. Politically, both sides has deepened mutual understanding and expanded consensus through the 3 main mechanisms of strategic dialogue, economic dialogue, cultural communication and dialogue in high level.
Economically, China is EU’s second largest trade partner, EU has been China’s largest trade partner in a decade. The China-EU trade partnership is one of the largest and the most dynamic trade relations in the world. In terms of people-to-people exchange, more than 5 million people have traveled between both sides every year, which builds emotional connections, promotes exchange and communication among civilizations. In international and regional affairs, China and EU keep close contact and coordination, promoting multilateralism and the key role of the United Nations in international affairs, to actively deal with global challenges.
Xi Jinping has addressed many times to European people that one can not learn about China well without knowing Chinese history, culture, as well as Chinese spiritual world and modern China’s deep reforms. We consider that in order to develop China-EU relations, it is important to respect the following principles: First, mutual respect and seeking common interests while reserving differences. As a famous Chinese proverb goes, “Wise men seek common points, ignorant men seek divergences.” Both sides should not either interfere in each other’s internal affairs, nor harm the other’s core interests and major concerns.
Second, to stick to equality, mutual benefit and win-win results. Both sides should be opposed to trade and investment protectionism, and to settle trade disputes through consultation based on current international rules. Third, both sides should promote high-level guidance, expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and promote mutual understanding. Both sides should gradually eliminate misunderstanding and prejudice. Forth, both sides should uphold the principle of independence, while in dealing with mutual relations, not only based on their own position, but also be committed to the common interests of the region and the world.
Currently, China-EU’s four partnerships are being pushed forward steadily, China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation has been fully implemented, with the deepening of cooperation in political, economic, cultural fields, as well as in international affair. China is now deepening reform comprehensively featuring innovation, coordination, green, open and sharing development.
There are many similarities between China and EU’s development concepts. The establishment of the following five collaborative platform: China-EU joint investment fund, the platform of industrial capacity cooperation, digital, legal affairs, personnel exchange dialogues, further improves the China-EU all-round cooperation model. As long as the two sides are in a constructive manner in dialogue, seeking consensus and cooperation, China-EU relations will be able to achieve a more comprehensive and balanced development.
In my view, China and the EU should accelerate the implementation of The Belt and Road Initiative, dock the Belt and Road Initiative with the EU’s overall development strategy and major national development strategies as soon as possible; to connect China’s international capacity cooperation programs with EU’s "Juncker" investment plan; to connect the “16 + 1 cooperation” with the overall China-EU cooperation. The early signing of the equal and mutual beneficial China-EU Free Trade Area Agreement, signing of high-quality, high-level China-EU investment agreement, as well as recognizing China’s market economy status, should be the common concerns of current China-EU cooperation.
I hereby would like to talk about China's market economy status.
In May this year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution refusing to recognize China's market economy status. China believes that this resolution is not constructive at all. Over the past years, China has been providing the EU with a stable and reliable market, creating a lot of jobs. We would like to deepen economic and trade cooperation with the EU on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We also hope that the EU will hold an objective view of China's development, respect the WTO rules, and comply with treaty obligations.
Both China and the EU are important forces in the world’s political and economic order, both sides have many common interests, being committed to take the path of peace, reform and development, standing for diverse world civilizations. As strategic partners, China and Poland should fully devote into China-EU cooperation. China hopes that the EU countries, including Poland, view the mutual relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, and build the Four partnerships and to contribute practical experience for the building of new international relations featuring win-win cooperation.
4. Build the more comprehensive inter-party exchanges between China and Poland.
I am from the International Department of the Communist Party of China, having been engaged in the work of the Central and Eastern Europe for more than twenty years, I visited Poland many times, also, I met many Polish people from different sectors in China. I have experienced and witnessed the development of bilateral relations. Over the years, I could feel that inter-party exchanges play a unique role in bilateral relations. The International Department, Central Committee of CPC, is responsible for external work for the Communist Party of China.
The Communist Party of China actively conducts foreign exchanges, its goal is to strive for a peaceful international environment for China's modernization, to promote the healthy and stable development of relations among China and other countries, to contribute to the world peace, economic development and human progress.
To this end, the Chinese Communist Party is willing to establish and develop various forms of exchanges and cooperation with those political parties which are willing to communicate with CPC by transcending differences in ideology and social systems, respecting the Four cardinal principles: “Independence, full equality, mutual respect and mutual non-interference in internal affairs”, and to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, to seek convergence of interests, to expand mutually beneficial cooperation and promote the development of state relations.
At present, we have established the inter-party relations with main political parties in most countries of the Central and Eastern Europe. We exchange experience on state governance, to promote economic, trade, cultural, regional cooperation. In recent years, the Youth Politicians Forum of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, China-EU High-Level Forum of Political Parties and other mechanisms and platforms, which sponsored by the International Department, Central Committee of CPC, have played an active role in deepening relations between political parties of China and Central and Eastern European countries, including Poland.
China and Poland have different national conditions and social systems, but both sides are facing new opportunities and challenges. Currently, the inter-party exchanges between the two countries are facing greater development space. In the future, our side will strengthen strategic communication with major political parties of Poland based on the four fundamental principles of inter-party exchanges, and communicate governance experience, to boost pragmatic cooperation and deepen exchanges among social organization and think tanks under the inter-party framework. By doing these, we can make the inter-party exchanges a stable force and accelerators of bilateral relations, so it can become an indispensable part of China-Poland strategic partnership.
In the end, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the China-Poland cooperation can achieve positive results in various fields, I wish the forum a complete success. Also, taking this opportunity, I wish the Polish national football team will have success in the European Cup!