Commentary: Record-setting visit of Austrian leaders offers new opportunities for China-Austria ties

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-07 12:33:28|Editor: Liu
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by Xinhua writers Tian Dongdong, Wang Tengfei

BRUSSELS, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Leading a 250-strong delegation of business representatives, cultural and scientific delegates as well as federal ministers, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will set a diplomatic record in Austria's modern history with their first joint visit to China in the coming days.

The collective visit by the Austrian heads of state and government, which is also very rare in the history of international exchanges, manifests the importance Vienna attaches to Beijing, and Austria's strong willingness to further develop bilateral relations.

It also shows Vienna's strong confidence and determination to tap the potential of comprehensive cooperation with China.

Official data from China show China is Austria's largest trading partner in Asia and the fifth largest in the world, while the latter is the sixth largest investor in China among the 19 eurozone countries.

But the huge potential of bilateral cooperation heralds better rankings for both sides.

On one hand, China is preparing for its first International Import Expo slated for this November, as well as the 2022 Winter Olympics. Its economy is in transition from quantitative growth to qualitative development. It has an enormous demand for modern technology, quality products, and experience in winter sports and environmental protection, to name a few -- a huge market for Austria.

On the other hand, China can benefit from Austria's know-how in such fields as environmental protection, urban planning and scientific research. Austrian companies also have a lot to offer for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Besides, within the framework of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries, Austria can play a special role in developing the region's relations with China, as the country geographically belongs to central Europe and has traditional close connections with countries in the region.

In addition, both China and Austria are advocates of multilateralism, trade liberalization, investment facilitation and peaceful resolution of regional conflicts. The two countries also share a common will to tackle global challenges such as terrorism and climate change.

Hence, Austria's rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) in the second half of this year could bode well for enhancing cooperation between China and the EU on a variety of issues.

During the Austrian leaders' visit to China, Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet them to deepen mutual trust and understanding. Both sides will jointly strengthen top-level cooperation on bilateral and international issues.

Cooperation on several concrete projects will be discussed during the visit, with relevant agreements expected to be signed. It is strongly believed that the extraordinary visit will further take bilateral relations to a new level.