Foreign Affairs
China, Romania to deepen traditional friendship, strengthen co-op
Last Updated: 2013-11-25 08:10 | Xinhua
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend a China-Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) leaders' meeting and pay an official visit to Romania as a guest of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.

It will be the first visit by a Chinese premier to Romania in 19 years and also Li's first visit to the Central and Eastern Europe since he took office in March.

"Premier Li's official visit to Romania will significantly lift bilateral ties, and inject new impetus to the two countries' traditional friendship and practical cooperation," said Cui Hongjian, director of the European Department at the China Institute of International Studies.

During his visit in Romania, Li will meet with Romanian leaders and give a speech at the parliament.

As China's time-honored friend, Romania set up diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Oct. 5, 1949, four days after the PRC was founded. It also devoted great efforts to the restoration of UN membership for the PRC in 1971.

Sound political relations between China and Romania have laid a solid foundation for pushing forward their practical cooperation.

The two countries have maintained frequent high-level exchanges. Both President Xi Jinping and Li met with Ponta at the Local Leaders' Meeting of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) held in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality on July 2-4.

During the meeting, Xi said that China is ready to work with Romania to expand exchanges and cooperation in various areas, enhance coordination in multilateral affairs and lift bilateral ties to a higher level.

Li, during talks with Ponta, highlighted the profound friendship, mutual respect, understanding and support between the two peoples, and called on the two sides to expand cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, renewable energy and culture.

During his stay in China, Ponta pledged that Romania will actively work to intensify China-Romania cooperation in politics, trade and culture, and promote both China-CEE and China-European Union (EU) relations.

Feng Zhongping, vice president of the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said Romania has adopted a balanced policy when developing its foreign relations -- attaching importance to relations both with Western countries and with China.

The two countries have also conducted multi-faceted cooperation.

Two-way trade has reached 3.27 billion U.S. Dollars by October this year, while that in 2000 stood at less than 300 million dollars. China's current total investment in Romania tops 160 million dollars.

Analysts said that Romania has high expectations of drawing Chinese enterprises' investments and expanding cooperation with China in infrastructure construction, renewable energy and agriculture.

Chinese enterprises, such as the leading information and communications technology solutions provider Huawei, has boosted local employment and provided technological support for Romania.

Huawei, which now boasts a 70,000-strong research & development (R&D) team globally, opened its official subsidiary in Romania in 2003. It currently employs some 800 people in Romania and has helped created more than 2,500 job opportunities in the country.

According to Wang Haitao, CEO of Huawei Romania, the company is planning to further expand its presence in Romania in the coming years, by investing 120 million dollars in the country by 2018.

Achievements have also been scored in cooperation in areas such as education, science and technology, culture, health and tourism.

So far, four Confucius Institutes have been launched in Romania to advance cultural exchanges between the two sides.

The enhanced China-Romania relations will set an example for bilateral relations between China and other CEE countries, said Cui Hongjian.

Located in the northeast of the Balkan Peninsula, Romania is the eastern gate to the EU. Practical cooperation between China and Romania also helps boost China-Europe cooperation.

Feng Zhongping said developing China-Romania relations will help supplement China-Europe and China-CEE relations and will certainly promote the development of the CEE and Europe as a whole.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Thursday, Ponta said Li's visit to Romania and the China-CEE leaders' meeting will further bolster the cooperative ties between the two sides.

"Premier Li Keqiang's trip to Romania will be a historic one," Ponta told Xinhua, "The fact that prime ministers of 16 Central and Eastern European countries would gather in Bucharest for the China-CEE leaders' meeting is proof of the strong will of these countries to strengthen our friendly ties with China and further shore up our mutually benefiting economic and trade cooperation."

Analysts agreed that Li's visit to Romania will be of great significance to China-Romania relations, cooperation between China and CEE countries and China-EU relations.

Li's upcoming visit also demonstrates that China continues to attach great importance to the relations with CEE countries as well as those with EU.

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