Vice-president meets Polish delegation
Leading a 70-strong ministerial and business delegation to China, the Polish foreign minister voiced his strong support for the Belt and Road Initiative as he met with Vice-President Li Yuanchao on Wednesday.
Poland fully supports the initiative proposed by China, the Polish FM Grzgorz Schetyna said, and is looking forward to carrying out concrete cooperation to deepen relations.
Li said he looked forward to boosting the relationship between the countries through trade, finance, environment protection and greater exchanges at local government level.
Wednesday also saw Schetyna launch a key strategic forum with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, setting out future relations including increased trade.
The forum, the 1st plenary session of the China-Poland Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, was inaugurated after Wang and Schetyna signed the committee's charter before the meeting.
China is now pushing forward cooperation regarding the initiative and appreciates that Poland has been working closely with China in related areas, Wang said. The establishment of the committee injected new vigor into the strategic partnership between the two countries, he added.
The Polish delegation consisted of business leaders from the food, environment, transportation and information technology sectors and one of their main tasks is to seek more Chinese investment in Poland.
Poland is in a strategic position for the initiative as its railways connect east and west, the FM said, and discussions are underway between Chengdu and the Polish city of Lodz regarding dedicated cargo transport centers to transport goods between the two cities.
In 2014, trade between China and Poland reached $17.2 billion, an annual increase of more than 16 percent, which is far higher than the growth rate between China and the European continent.
Zhao Junjie, a researcher on European international relations with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the cooperation over Belt and Road Initiative between China and Poland plants the seeds for future prosperity.
For China, cooperation with Poland could set an example for other central and eastern European countries as it is a gateway to Europe and a viable market in its own right with a population of 38.5 million. For Poland, cooperation brings the prospect of more investment, better infrastructure and even greater geo-political influence in the region, Zhao said.
Poland may be the second European country to sign up to the initiative following Hungary as they have prepared a memorandum of infrastructure cooperation with China involving their rail and harbor construction projects.