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Xi's Czech visit opens new chapter for both nations

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

03-30-2016 14:59 BJT

By Zhou Dongyao, special commentator with Panview

President Xi Jinping is making his first state visit to the Czech Republic and his first trip to a central and east European country, which is also his first visit to a European country in 2016.

It marks a milestone for bilateral relations, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and upgrading the strategic partnership to a new level. It also benefits China-Central and East Europe cooperation and China-Europe ties.

It is the first time for a sitting Chinese president to step on the soil of "Golden Prague" in 67 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Czech President Milos Zeman welcomed Xi by deploying convoy fighters and a salvo of 21 guns.

The two have met three times in the past two years – first at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014 and the second during Zeman's visit to China in October the same year, and last September when Zeman came to China to attend  commemorative activities.

Zeman has witnessed China's huge changes and deepened his understanding of the nation.

His visit to China in spite of leg problems and oppositions last September had proven a lot, which made him the only president of a European Union country to attend China's military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of World War Ⅱ.

Beijing and the Chinese also remember his respectful attitude towards history. During the Second World War, the Czechs never yielded on European battlefields and suffered grave sacrifices and hardships. They've always held deep respect towards anti-fascist heroes, including Julius Fucik.

Xi and Zeman have held fruitful meetings. They've met leaders from all walks of life and this visit would open a new historical chapter. A series of economic cooperation agreements have been signed covering aviation, industrial parks, tourism infrastructure, investment, energy, mining industry, finance and fund-raising.

Cooperation plans have also been reached among public health and news publishing organizations, academies of social sciences of both countries. Beijing and Prague have established twin-city relations.

The Czech Republic is an important country in the Belt and Road economic sphere. Xi's visit will promote the synergy of the important development strategies and policies of the two nations and strengthen their financial cooperation so as to help the Czech Republic become a financial center.

The Czech Republic is an important country in central and east Europe, a member of the EU and a member state of the "16+1" China - Central and East Europe cooperation mechanism.

The country has a population of more than ten million people and covers an area of about 80,000 square kilometers. As one of the manufacturing centers in Europe, Czech has the highest level of industrial development in central and east European countries.

Czech's average GDP (gross domestic product) is about $ 19,000 dollars, ranking among the top in central and east Europe. Each year China imports over 200,000 Skoda cars, which account for a quarter of Czech's gross volume of exports.

Czech's crystal, leather products and Pearson beer are popular among Chinese customers. As a world heritage, Prague has attracted about 285,000 Chinese tourists last year, and expenditures have topped that of all non-EU country visitors.

Stories like The Good Soldier Vejk and The Mole have made generations of Chinese readers familiar with Czechs' humor and wit. The same goes for their national game ice hockey.

In recent years, China and Czech have warmed up bilateral ties, deepened political trust, and intensified high level interactions to promote a golden era and create a strategic opportunity for enterprises in both countries.

Beijing seeks to enhance docking of respective developing strategies and expand exchanges in all fields. Trade volume between the two nations has reached $ 11 billion dollars, ranking the second largest in central and east Europe. It holds huge potential.

Czech is becoming a hot spot for Chinese investments. In the end of 2015, China's investment had reached $ 1.6 billion dollars and Czech’s $ 1.8 billion dollars.

China-Czech relations have received a hard-won spring. Just like the apple and gingko saplings presented between the two leaders, friendship and cooperation between China and Czech will run deep in a brighter future.

 Zhou Dongyao, special commentator with Panview

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

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