|Speech by H.E. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council of People’s Republic of China At the Palace of the Romanian Parliament
Bucharest, 27 November 2013
Your Excellency Crin Antonescu, President of the Senate,
Romania is the first stop in my first visit to Central and Eastern European countries as Premier of the Chinese government. Ever since I set foot on this beautiful land, I have been overwhelmed by the friendship of the Romanian people towards the Chinese people. Today, it is my pleasure to address, upon invitation, the Romanian Parliament at the Palace, the largest parliament building in the world. Standing here, I cannot but be awed by its magnificence and grandeur. Many of you present here have been long committed to the China-Romania friendship. On behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to express our sincere thanks to you and extend cordial greetings and best wishes to the great people of Romania.
Over 20 years ago, I visited Romania as head of a Chinese youth delegation. Today when I am revisiting this country, I have seen tremendous changes and an amazing new look. In recent years, in particular, Romania has properly managed the impact of the international financial crisis and the European debt issue, achieved a steady economic growth, maintained social and political stability and ensured people’s well-being. Romania has become an important emerging market in Europe and has been reputed as “a tiger of Europe” with growing regional and international influence. We sincerely rejoice over your achievements and we believe that the Romanian people will surely create an even brighter future.
Romania boasts a time-honored history and numerous cultural heritage and ancient relics. China-Romania relations have a long tradition. In the 17th century, Nicolae Milescu-Spataru, a Romanian traveler, wrote a best known book Travel in China based on his own experience and he was one of the earlier European messengers who introduced China to the West. In the 1930s and 1940s, David Iancu and Bucur Clejan, a doctor couple from Romania, went all the way to China and joined the Chinese people in the anti-Fascist war, saving lives and risking their own. Their heroic stories have been widely told. In 1949, Romania was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and the China-Romania friendship has since taken a deep root in the hearts of our two peoples. Since the beginning of the 21st century, our bilateral relations have developed into a new stage with increased political mutual trust, expanded business cooperation and enhanced cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Like a giant ship, China-Romania relationship has braved the waves, withstood the test over the years and has now sailed to the future with great confidence. If the ship is to sail safely to the shore, the ship must have a good “rudder”, “filled sails” and solid “anchors”.
―Coordinated development strategies may serve as the steering “rudder”. Our two countries have always respected each other, treated each other as equals, firmly supported each other’s core interests and fully respected each other’s choice of development path. China is the largest developing country in the world and Romania the second largest among Central and Eastern European countries in terms of population and area. Romania is looking east for cooperation while China is expanding its westward opening-up. When our two countries are moving towards each other, there would be more common interests between us.
―In-depth practical cooperation may serve as energizing sails. There is vast potential for cooperation between China and Romania, both being promising emerging economies. Romania enjoys rich resources, high-caliber labor and solid industrial and agricultural foundation, while China has a large market, fairly advanced equipment manufacturing industry, big building capacities for infrastructure and generally adequate funding. If our two economies complement and reinforce each other, both will benefit from it. China has become Romania’s largest trading partner in Asia while Romania an important pivot in China’s cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries and the whole Europe. Given the huge potential for cooperation between China and Romania, China will continue to deepen practical cooperation with Romania and ensure that our two peoples benefit from the cooperation outcomes.
―Solid traditional friendship may serve as anchors for stable relations. Over the past 60 years and more since the establishment of diplomatic ties, our two countries have always lived in amity with each other and shared weal and woe. In the 1950s, the selfless assistance that Romania and other Central and Eastern European countries offered China contributed significantly to the early industrialization in the New China. When Romania was hit by the catastrophic floods in 1970, the Chinese people, in spite of their own difficulties, donated funds for the disaster relief and reconstruction efforts of Romania. Our two countries have actively engaged in many cultural exchanges. Many Chinese people today still love to talk about Romanian films such as the Danube Waves with great relish. Likewise, Chinese TV series, including the Three Kingdoms, are also very popular among Romanian people. As a Romanian proverb goes, “River stones remain, while water flows away.” The China-Romania friendship has withstood the test of the times and taken on a new look with greater vigor and vitality. The friendship between the two peoples has lasted beyond time and space and has laid a solid foundation for the sustained development of China-Romania relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, the international landscape is undergoing profound and complex changes, with in-depth development of multi-polarity, accelerated economic globalization and greater integration of state interests. While developed economies have begun to see some positive signs of recovery, several emerging economies are once again faced with considerable downside risks. It remains the top priority of all countries to handle the crisis, achieve recovery and maintain and improve people’s well-being. Closer China-Romania cooperation will help boost the economic development of Central and Eastern Europe, and, to a larger extent, that of China and Europe as a whole. China stands ready to join hands with Romania in moving forward steadily and pursuing common development. To this end, I wish to propose the following:
First, we should enhance political trust. China and Romania, both with a strategic vision, both have given priority to their cooperation in their diplomacy. We need, more than ever, to base ourselves on the long-term interests, respect each other, accommodate each other’s major concerns and expand common interests. We should further increase exchanges at all levels, including between our legislative bodies and legislators, which are all the foundation of our cooperation and development. The Joint Statement released this time is yet another important document in China-Romania relations. It lays out a comprehensive plan for growing our relations in the new circumstances, and, as such, must be implemented at a faster pace. Next year marks the 65th anniversary of China-Romania diplomatic relations. This is an opportunity we must seize to open a new page in our relations.
Second, we should tap potential for practical cooperation. We are both eager and keen on cooperation. We should seize the opportunity, expand two-way trade and upgrade industrial cooperation. In the spirit of equality and mutual benefit, China is ready to develop its trade with Romania and import more quality Romanian products in a bid to narrow the trade imbalance. The two protocols signed this time between the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the PRC and the Romanian quality inspection and quarantine agency will provide guarantee for Romania to export its farm produce and and livestock to China. Next year, China will import about 5,000 cattle from Romania and will gradually increase its import of cattle in the coming 10 years. Our two countries may enhance exchanges and cooperation in the farming, energy, telecommunication networks, solar products, aviation, finance and other fields, and jointly build a China-Romania economic and technology park. The Romanian government has introduced a new visa procedure to facilitate the travel by Chinese entrepreneurs to Romania this year and the competent departments of our two countries have signed the memorandum of understanding on promoting mutual investment, which will create favorable conditions for expanding two-way investment.
Third, we should create new highlights in big cooperation projects, which may give a strong boost to and produce a demonstration effect on the practical cooperation between the two countries. Many of the infrastructures in Romania are in need of renovation and upgrading. China has strong and competitive infrastructure enterprises, with rich experience and advanced technologies and equipment. And the “China-made” infrastructure products are very popular across the world. China has made efforts and developed the capacity to manufacture advanced and sophisticated equipment in some fields. The popularity of China-made equipment in the international market, China’s readiness for cooperation with Romania and other countries and its capability to produce infrastructure that Romania needs have made it possible for China and Romania to have mutually beneficial cooperation in this field. This time, our two sides have agreed to establish project working groups on nuclear power and high-speed rail, and the working groups have already kicked off. The Chinese government supports Chinese enterprises in carrying out infrastructure cooperation with Romania, encourages its financial institutions to provide financing for such cooperation projects, and is ready to work with Romania for substantive progress in getting big projects off the ground as soon as possible.
Fourth, we should build the bridge of communication between our cultures and peoples. In spite of the distance between them, our two peoples have never stopped visiting each other and have in the process enhanced their mutual understanding and amity. Cultural exchanges help build the bridge to each other’s heart, and people-to-people contacts help open a path to friendship. We will expand and consolidate the exchanges and cooperation between our two countries in the cultural, educational and other fields so that our peoples will embrace the idea that different civilizations may draw upon each other. China will continue to stage brand-name events as “Chinese Culture Festival” and “Happy Chinese New Year” and make them a success. In the meantime, China welcomes the National Radio Orchestra of Romania to China again for a performing tour. We will increase our input into the Confucius institutes in Romania to meet the needs of the Romanian people for learning Chinese. We both should actively implement the agreement to set up cultural centers in each other’s countries and the cultural cooperation programs. China will offer government-sponsored scholarships to more Romanian students for their studies in China. We hope that Romanian students will take advantage of the “5,000 scholarships program” within the cooperation framework between China and Central and Eastern European countries. This will ensure that China-Romania friendship will be passed on from generation to generation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Like some other emerging economies, the Chinese economy has been under considerable downward pressure this year. In face of this, we have maintained policy stability and kept a cool head. Instead of increasing deficit or money supply, we have tried to unleash the market vitality, mobilize private investment and stimulate consumption by streamlining administration and delegating power. As a result, China’s economy has made steady progress since the third quarter of this year and is continuing its upward growth. China has reasons to believe that it will attain the main expected goals of its economy, including the 7.5% annual growth rate. The recently convened Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee has decided on major programmes for deepening reforms in all areas. We will comprehensively deepen reforms, continue to open wider to the outside world, and give the market a decisive role in the allocation of resources and the government a better leveraging role so that the Chinese economy may sustain a healthy growth. This will also bring new opportunities to China-Romania cooperation and China-CEEC cooperation.
The China-EU Summit held last week in Beijing adopted the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, ushering the all-round China-EU cooperation onto a new journey. Yesterday, Prime Minister Ponta and I attended the Meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries. And the Meeting issued the Bucharest Action Guideline on China-CEEC Cooperation. I believe that China-Romania cooperation may become a banner for China-CEEC cooperation and that China-CEEC cooperation will surely add new impetus to China-Europe relations.
All of you present here are eminent people of vision in Romania and indeed in Central and Eastern European countries as well. It is our shared historic mission to grow China-Romania relations. To sail far, a big vessel and the right wind are indispensable. If we stand high and look far, make serious efforts and ride the wind of the growing China-Europe relations and China-CEEC relations, the ship of China-Romania cooperation will be able to break waves and sail far.