Xu Jian, Ambassador of China to Poland
"Bosom friends make distance disappear".Though thousands of miles away, China and Poland are old friends. Poland made many "firsts" in our diplomatic history: among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC, set up with us our first joint-venture (Chipolbrok), the first to sign a culture cooperation agreement (in 1951), etc. For 67 years, in spite of changes in the international landscape, our relations have stood the test of time and should be cherished all the more. We should say, the stable growth of our relationship benefits from the approach to state-to-state relations based on equality and mutual respect for each other's choice of development path and the type of sincere and trustworthy people-topeople ties.
China and Poland established a "Strategic Partnership" in 2011. For five years, our bilateral relations have been on a fast track.
In these five years, we saw better policy communication between us, and the two countries became more important partners to each other. The Polish President visited China, Chinese Premier visited Poland, our Foreign Ministers exchanged visits, four rounds of vice-minister level strategic dialogue have been held. We exchange views on national development strategies, and keep smooth communication on international issues.
Also in these five years, we set up more bilateral and multilateral platforms to expand our cooperation. We had the first Plenary Session of the China-Poland Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, and for five years in a row, hosted Regional Forum for local cooperation. China- Central and Eastern European Countries Cooperation (in short, the "16+1" cooperation, a tailor-made instrument for 16 CEE countries' cooperation with China) started in Warsaw in 2012. After four years, it has developed into a full-fledged framework, led by an annual leaders' meeting, covering numerous fields. Under this framework, the China- CEE Joint Chamber of Commerce and Contact Mechanism for Investment Promotion Agencies are established in Warsaw. More importantly, China and Poland became partners for the "One Belt One Road"initiative (Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road) and co-founders of the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank).
And these are five years of harvest. Our bilateral trade increased by over 30%, the number of Chinese students in Poland doubled. Up to now, Chinese companies invested 1.29 billion dollars in Poland, creating 14,000 jobs, 80% for locals. Now there are three Beijing-Warsaw direct flights a week, six major freight rail lines from China passing through or finishing in Poland. We have 27 pairs of sister cities, 60,000 to 70,000 tourists visiting each other's country and more than 30 cultural groups exchanging visits annually. Poland now has five Confucius Institutes while Polish-language teaching will soon be available in nine universities in China. Given all that, China and Poland are coming closer, both in geography and in heart.
At the invitation of President Duda, Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Poland in the coming days. It will be a landmark event, as the last visit to Poland by Chinese President was 12 years ago. This is a new step forward in our relations, and „Strategic Partnership 2.0" will open a new chapter of our cooperation.
When Silk Road Connects Amber Road
China is situated in eastern Asia, on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean. Poland lies in the heart of Europe and serves as a bridge between its east and west. In ancient times, the Silk Road opened the traffic across Eurasia while the Amber Road ran through the land of Europe. China and Poland were honored to be gateways of the two commercial routes respectively. Today, we each have our strengths and successful stories of growth, and are more than willing to cooperate. If engaged in close collaboration, we could be pioneers to connect the Silk Road and the Amber Road, the Asian market and the European market.
The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is a revival of the ancient Silk Road spirit. It paints a blueprint of the longest economic corridor in the world. This initiative has been echoed by about 60 countries along the route. Several projects, mainly infrastructural works, are carried out in Central Asia, South Asia and Eurasia. Last year, China's investment in countries along the route increased by 18.2%. We know that Poland is also engaged in regional cooperation to create a common representation and build an economically competitive region. Should the new Silk Road connect the new Amber Road, more market potential will be unleashed. After all, win-win cooperation follows the trend of the 21st century.
In the coming five years, China will import more than US$10 trillion worth of goods, and invest over US$500 billion overseas. Outbound visits by Chinese tourists will exceed 500 million. We're ready to share development opportunity with Poland, to make our bilateral cooperation more fruitful, and to take our strategic partnership to a new level.
To Build a Long term Partnership, and How
The height of our relations depends on the cooperation in international affairs and the support for each other's development. Since China is a major emerging country in the world while Poland is an important EU member, our relations should be a front-runner in China-EU relations, especially for the China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and the progress of civilization. Besides, we do have common elements in our development plans: we are both at a crucial stage of development, aiming for restructuring, innovation and international outreach. We could explore and formulate regional cooperation through dialogues, connect China's "One Belt One Road" initiative with Poland's Long Term Development Plan, China's initiative of international industrial capacity cooperation with Poland's re-industrialization process, and integrate "16+1" cooperation with China-EU relations. This would help forge an interconnected growth between us.
The width of our relations lies in the connection of two markets, and how actively our economic cooperation will be stimulated and boosted. There's much potential yet to be fully tapped: infrastructure, logistic, cargo transportation, agriculture, cooperation between local governments, SMEs, clean energy, business innovation, to name but a few. For China, we would like to see a more balanced trade through dynamic growth, an enlarged two-way investment. The Chinese market welcomes quality fruits, dairy and other agricultural products from Poland. Besides being a large market, China also has a fairly advanced equipment manufacturing industry, big building capacities for infrastructure and generally adequate funding. We could be a good partner in Poland's construction of logistic and industrial parks, high speed railway, port and airports and a favorable resource for equipment and technology. As to Chinese companies and financial institutes, they are willing and open to receive proposals from Poland's investment promotion agencies, local governments and businesses.
Finally, the depth of our relations is determined by people-to-people bonds. China has a time-honored history and culture, while Poland is a wonderful place for literature, art and science. Both of us are known for rich heritages, talented people, peace-loving traditions and growing economies, which makes us best positioned to share our fine cultures, tourism resources and market space, to make our people better known to each other. And an important thing is, we should always promote exchanges between young people, as they are the future of our country and the future of our friendship.
We're looking forward to a new era of China-Poland relations.