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Wang Yi on Cooperation Between China and Central and Eastern European Countries ( "17+1 Cooperation")
2019-12-15

On December 14, 2019 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar of Slovenia met the press together after their talks. Wang Yi briefed on the Chinese side's views on cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries ("17+1 cooperation").

Wang Yi expressed, the "17+1 cooperation" is a trans-regional cooperation platform established according to the shared will of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). Since its inception eight years ago, an all-round, multi-level, and wide-ranging multi-dimensional framework has been established and cooperation mechanisms have been built in nearly 20 areas, with early harvests and important outcomes achieved in every area.

As agreed by the 17 CEECs, the China-CEEC Summit will be held in the first half of 2020 in China. This reflects the great importance the Chinese side attaches to the "17+1 cooperation", and also answers the 17 countries' common aspirations of elevating our cooperation. The Chinese side intends to focus on the theme of interconnectivity, green innovation and openness and win-win results. It matches the development trend of our times, conforms to the goal of all countries in Europe and is in the direction of China's cooperation with other countries. The Chinese side is willing to, through this summit, upgrade our win-win cooperation, open up new prospects of mutual benefit and drive China-Europe relations for new development.

Wang Yi pointed out, the "17+1 cooperation" is a component of China-Europe cooperation, and also a beneficial complement to the cooperation between China and the European Union (EU). The cooperation is a voluntary choice China and the CEECs have made in light of our needs for each other, and it does not mean starting all over again and by no means intends to divide Europe. It is conducive for the CEECs to accelerate development, and therefore help promote the European integration process. While we carry out the cooperation, we uphold the concept of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, and follow the international rules that are universally acknowledged, act on market rules and EU standards, as well as respect and coordinate with all sides. The EU and other interested parties are invited to observe every conference within the China-CEEC framework. The consensus reached under the "17+1 cooperation" is open to and beneficial for all sides.

Wang Yi expressed, the "17+1 cooperation" is now in a new phase of improvement and upgrading. We hope to, through the summit next year in Beijing, better align the "17+1 cooperation" with the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, EU Strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia, the Three Seas Initiative, also known as the Baltic, Adriatic, Black Sea Initiative, and the development strategies of all CEECs. While we pursue full and in-depth progress in traditional cooperation areas, we need to expand cooperation in new areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, financial technology, life sciences and ecology and environment, and to realize the high-level and high-quality development of the "17+1 cooperation". Through the "17+1 cooperation", we hope to champion multilateralism, promote free trade, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the EU and build an open world economy together.

Wang Yi said, Slovenia has always been the active participant and important contributor of the "17+1 cooperation". It is hoped that Slovenia will make new contributions to the summit to be held next year in Beijing.

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