Moving Toward the Future Hand in Hand--Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao Introduces Vice Premier Li Keqiang's Visit to Hungary, Belgium and the EU Headquarters
At the invitation of the Hungarian government, the federal government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the EU, Vice Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Hungary, Belgium and the EU Headquarters from April 30 to May 4. Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao received an interview of the central media on the visit.
Song said that the visit will be another major diplomatic activity of China to develop relations with Europe following Premier Wen Jiabao's recent visit to Poland, Sweden and Iceland and attendance at the Hannover Messe in Germany. It fully demonstrates the great importance the Chinese government attaches to the relations with the EU and Central Europe.
He noted that the bilateral relations have grown stably since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two sides in 1975. We established the all-round strategic partnership. Our annual bilateral trade volume has increased by 200 folds compared with the time when the two sides just built diplomatic ties. Our bilateral cooperation in various fields is expanding and people-to-people exchanges are thriving. We have gradually set up the "three pillars" of political, economic and trade and people-to-people dialogue and cooperation covering more than 60 areas. China and Europe have become indispensable partners in each other's development process.
The international situation is undergoing complicated and profound changes, globalization is getting deepened and countries are more interdependent. Both China and Europe are in a crucial stage of economic and social development and face the historical task of speeding up development and adapting to the changing situation. No matter in order to maintain our own sustainable development or to solve the increasingly complicated global issues, it is the call of the times for China and Europe to further strengthen the all-round strategic cooperation.
Li's trip to Europe will be an important activity to deepen China-Europe cooperation under the current international circumstances.
The visit to the EU headquarters will be the priority activity of Li's trip. He will meet with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso respectively to exchange views on China-EU relations and other issues of common concern. Leaders of the two sides will also jointly attend the China-EU High-level Forum on Urbanization and the China-EU High-Level Energy Meeting. Both events are important measures to implement the results of the 14th China-EU Summit. Urbanization is a key part of the "12th Five-year" plan and bears the potential of future growth of the Chinese economy. With an urbanization rate of 72.6%, Europe has built advanced ideas and technologies in this area. Energy is critical to the sustainable development of world economy. It is very important for China and the EU to step up dialogue and cooperation in the fields of urbanization and energy. The cooperation potential is huge and prospects are promising.
Belgium is a typical small and medium-sized developed country in Europe. Since China and Belgium built diplomatic ties 40 years ago, the bilateral relations have grown steadily. Belgium is one of the earliest western countries transferring technologies to China and setting up joint ventures in China. China-Belgium direct equity investment fund is the first China-foreign industrial investment fund. The success of the Europalia - China Art Festival in Belgium in 2009 shortened the distance between the two peoples. During the stay, Li will meet with King Albert II and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo respectively, visit leading Belgian enterprises and hold exchanges with non-governmental friendly groups of Belgium.
Hungary has traditional friendship with China. Since the two countries established diplomatic ties more than 60 years ago, China-Hungary relations have advanced stably. In 2004, the two countries built the friendly cooperative partnership. Premier Wen Jiabao visited Hungary successfully in 2011, which is the first visit paid by a Chinese premier to the country over the previous 24 years. Wen also attended the China-Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum, which has created critical opportunities for China to deepen cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries. Hungary is also an important trade partner of China in Central and Eastern Europe and the Central and Eastern European country with the most concentrated and largest amount of investment of Chinese enterprises. During the visit, Li will exchange in-depth opinions with the Hungarian leaders on the development of bilateral ties, witness the signing of cooperation agreements on finance, small and medium-sized businesses and agricultural technologies and attend exchange activities with youth.
Song pointed out that through Li's visit China and Europe will from a new historical starting point open another window of friendship and cooperation in the future. We expect the visit to achieve the goals of consolidating mutual trust, deepening cooperation and building a promising future of the bilateral relations. He believes the visit will significantly promote the development of China's relations with Europe, Belgium and Hungary and exert a far-reaching influence on the China-EU all-round strategic partnership.