Deals lay foun­da­tion for China-Czech re­la­tions

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Prague

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping wit­nessed the sign­ing of 15 doc­u­ments on co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Chi­nese and Czech com­pa­nies on Wed­nes­day, the fi­nal day of his visit to the Euro­pean coun­try.

The agree­ments cover mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries in­clud­ing au­to­mo­biles, nu­clear en­ergy, finance, civil avi­a­tion and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion.

They in­volve ma­jor Chi­nese com­pa­nies such as Si­no­hy­dro Group, SAIC Mo­tor, China East­ern Air­lines and China General Nu­clear Power Corp.

In a speech de­liv­ered dur­ing a round-ta­ble meet­ing with busi­ness­peo­ple and in­vestors on Wed­nes­day, Xi called for closer po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness ties with the Czech Re­pub­lic.

Quot­ing a say­ing by Chi­nese philoso­pher Men­cius that “gen­uine friends know each other’s hearts and minds”, Xi said, “Through years of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, our hearts have be­come closer.”

The two coun­tries’ in­dus­tries have much to com­ple­ment each other, pro­vid­ing great po­ten­tial for co­op­er­a­tion, Xi said, adding that the Czech Re­pub­lic has ad­van­tages in sec­tors such as auto-mak­ing and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion.

Czech Pres­i­dent Mi­los Ze­man said at the meet­ing that Chi­nese in­vest­ment in his coun­try may reach 95 bil­lion crowns ($3.9 bil­lion) this year.

Gao Hucheng, China’s min­is­ter of com­merce, said more than 200 Chi­nese busi­ness­peo­ple are ac­com­pa­ny­ing Xi dur­ing the visit for talks with their Czech part­ners.

They have reached deals worth more than 6 bil­lion euros ($6.7 bil­lion), cov­er­ing finance, ma­chin­ery, e-com­merce and tourism.

In one of the deals, China East­ern Air­lines has agreed to launch di­rect flights be­tween Shang­hai and Prague.

China has been the Czech Re­pub­lic’s largest trad­ing part­ner out­side the Euro­pean Union for years, and the Czech Re­pub­lic is China’s sec­ond­largest trad­ing part­ner, af­ter Poland, in Cen­tral and East­ern Europe.

At the end of last year, China’s in­vest­ment in the coun­try surged to $1.6 bil­lion, up from $200 mil­lion in 2013.

Through years of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, our hearts have be­come closer.”

MICHAL CIZEK / AFP

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his Czech coun­ter­part Mi­los Ze­man at­tend a sign­ing cer­e­mony in Prague on Tues­day.

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