2016/6/18 EurAsiaInfo –Chinese President Xi Jinping published a signed article on leading Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita under the title of “Setting Sail for Full Speed Progress of China-Poland Friendship” on Friday, ahead of his state visit to the European country.
The English translated version of the article is as follows.
Setting Sail for Full Speed Progress of China-Poland Friendship
By H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
At the invitation by President Duda, I will soon be making a state visit to the Republic of Poland, which will be my first visit to Poland as the Chinese President. I look forward to having in-depth discussions with President Duda and other Polish leaders on enhancing bilateral relations, deepening practical cooperation and strengthening coordination and cooperation between China and Poland on major international and regional issues.
I visited Poland in the 1990s, which left me a deep impression. The Polish people are diligent, intelligent and courageous, and the country has a proud history and brilliant culture. Nicolaus Copernicus, exploring the vast universe, pioneered the theory of “the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the Universe,” transforming mankind’s understanding of the Universe. Madam Curie, studying the micro world, discovered the two isotopes of Polonium and Radium, which paved the way for the development and application of the theory of radioactivity. Like music lovers all over the world, the Chinese people are fond of F.F. Chopin, a towering musician of Poland. The melodious tunes of Chopin’s piano compositions, in particular, have a powerful resonance in our hearts.
Though China and Poland are geographically far apart, our friendly interactions date back centuries. In the middle of the 17th century, Polish missionary Michal Boym came to China. He wrote many books based on his extensive study of Chinese society, history, medicine and geography, and became the first European to introduce scientific and cultural achievements of ancient China to the West, winning the reputation of “the Marco Polo of Poland.” Both the Chinese and the Poles believe that “true friendship stands out in difficult times.” This was borne out during the WWII when our two peoples sympathized with and supported each other, forging a deep friendship. Dr. S. Flato, Wolf Jungerman and many other Polish friends traveled long distances to provide medical support in China during its war of resistance against Japanese aggression. Witold Urbanowicz and Wlodzimierz Szymankiewicz fought in China as members of the allied forces assisting China. With heroic sacrifices, the Polish people made important contribution to the final victory of the Anti-Fascist War and the restoration of world peace.
Poland was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. The past 67 years of diplomatic ties have witnessed the deepening of traditional friendship between our peoples. In the early years of the People’s Republic, Poland gave strong support to China’s economic and social development, especially in fields such as mining, sugar making and shipping. The Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Company, which was set up in 1951 and still runs well today, was the first Sino-foreign joint venture incorporated in the People’s Republic. The Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble was the first foreign performing group to visit the People’s Republic. Its songs and dances, like Mazurkas, Polonaises and Little Cuckoo, are still familiar to many Chinese.
In recent years, China-Poland relations have enjoyed fast growth. President Duda and I reached extensive agreement on increasing high-level interactions, deepening strategic mutual trust and expanding practical cooperation across the board during his successful visit to China at the end of last year. And the two sides signed an MOU on jointly building the “Belt and Road.” All these have laid a solid foundation for exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in all fields. Poland became one of the first countries in Central and Eastern Europe to establish a strategic partnership with China and was the first CEE country to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
In recent years, China and Poland have achieved stable economic growth and remained each other’s biggest trading partner in their respective regions for consecutive years. In 2015, two-way trade reached 17.09 billion U.S. dollars. Mutual investment grew steadily. And the two sides continued to expand and enhance cooperation in mining, infrastructure, transportation and logistics, finance, aerospace, science and technology and agriculture.
We also maintained dynamic people-to-people exchanges. “Happy Chinese New Year in Poland” has been held for six years, while such events as Polish culture season and Polish cultural festival are gaining popularity in China. Five Confucius Institutes have been established in Poland. More and more Chinese universities have started to offer Polish language programs. The China-Poland Regional Forum has been held successfully for three sessions, providing a platform for sub-national interactions. Our people-to-people exchange has grown more diverse in form and rich in content, injecting fresh vigor into our traditional friendship.
Central and Eastern Europe as a sub-region boasts the greatest potential for growth in all of Europe. China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) share a profound traditional friendship, sincere desire for cooperation and strong economic complementarity. This is the source of the vitality and great potential for cooperation between China and the CEECs (16+1 cooperation). Over the past four years, guided by the spirit of mutual respect, mutual benefit, openness and inclusiveness, the 16+1 cooperation has maintained strong momentum, expanded and deepened, and has become more mature and ready for harvest. We should promote the 16+1 cooperation with a forward-looking and people-oriented approach, and aim to make greater contribution to the prosperity of Europe and the growth of China-Europe relations.
As comprehensive strategic partners, China and the EU have maintained strong relations which hold out great promise for further development. In 2014, during my visit to the EU headquarters, the EU leaders and I agreed to develop China-Europe partnerships for peace, growth, reform and progress of civilizations, identifying the strategic direction for China-Europe cooperation in the new era. Progress has been made concerning the five platforms we agreed to build, i.e. co-investment vehicle, connectivity platform, legal affairs dialogue, digital cooperation and mobility of the people.
Both China and Europe are now carrying out structural reforms to boost economic and social development. China is acting on its new vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. It is upgrading its growth model and economic structure to maintain medium-high speed of growth and move to medium and upper ends of the industrial chain. The EU is implementing the investment plan for Europe, and has rolled out a combination of policy measures to sustain the growth momentum in Europe. As the world’s two major forces, two big markets and two celebrated civilizations, China and Europe have every reason to enhance synergy in their development strategies, deepen shared interests, promote common growth and contribute to world peace and development.
The 16+1 cooperation and China-Europe relations cannot go far without the growth of bilateral ties between China and countries of this region. China-Poland relations are now facing great opportunities. Madam Curie once said, one never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. I hope that this visit will be a good occasion for me to work with Polish leaders to enhance cooperation between our two countries across the board and achieve a higher level of development and broader and deeper growth for the 16+1 cooperation and China-Europe relations.
We should treat each other as equals, build up mutual trust, and jointly meet the challenges of our times. Over the past 67 years, China and Poland have made remarkable achievements along their own path of development in keeping with their national conditions. Confucius, the great philosopher in ancient China, once observed that “a gentleman upholds high principles in all his pursuits and fulfills his mission with good faith.” In the same spirit, our two countries should view bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, accord each other understanding and support on issues of core interests and major concern, and ensure steady and sound growth of China-Poland relations in the coming years.
We should align development strategies and jointly explore ways of development. Poland is at the heartland of Europe. It is also where the Amber Road and the Silk Road meet. Several China Railway Express trains to Europe pass through Poland or are bound for Poland. Based on the MOU signed between the two governments on joint building of the Belt and Road, the two sides should speed up the formulation of cooperation plans, identify and prepare for major projects and work for early harvest.
We should deepen practical cooperation and jointly boost economic development. Poland is pursuing reindustrialization, while China is seeking international cooperation on production capacity. China is ready to join the Polish reindustrialization drive through cooperation on production capacity. China is also keen to cooperate more closely with Poland in such sectors as energy, infrastructure, transportation and logistics, communications and aerospace, with a view to raising the quality and level of bilateral cooperation.
We must expand people-to-people ties and consolidate traditional friendship. Both China and Poland have great historical and cultural heritages. We should learn from each other and expand cooperation on culture, education, tourism, sports and at sub-national levels. We should encourage the younger generation to take the baton of friendship and do their part in deepening and renewing our traditional friendship.
We must make good use of existing platforms and jointly promote regional cooperation. Poland was the first proponent of 16+1 cooperation and hosted the first Meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European countries. It has actively supported and participated in 16+1 cooperation, and has played an important role in boosting investment and commerce within this framework. We are ready to work with Poland and all other Central and Eastern European countries to make good use of the 16+1 mechanism for regional cooperation and deliver more benefits to the people of our 17 countries.
We should enhance China-Europe cooperation and create a better future together. China and Europe need to follow the trend of the times for peace, development and win-win cooperation. We should deepen strategic cooperation, increase communication and coordination on international affairs, and contribute to building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and a community of shared future for all mankind.
Let us work together to set sail for a voyage of win-win cooperation and steer the vessel of China-Poland friendship at full-speed toward a brighter future for China-Poland, China-CEEC and China-Europe relations.
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