BERLIN, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that the cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries is conducive to European integration, and a divided, weakened EU is not in China's interests.
Wang made the remarks at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas, in response to Xinhua's questions concerning EU and Germany's worries over the issue.
The 16+1 cooperation, a mechanism between China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, is viewed by China as a part and a supplement of China-Europe relations, Wang added.
China has always firmly supported European integration process, and China hopes the European Union will maintain unity, stability and prosperity, said Wang.
Wang noted that both supporters of multilateralism, maintainers of world stability and advocates of free trade, China and the EU have become key trading partners of each other with emerging common interests, so that a weakened and divided EU is not in China's interests, or what China wants to see.
The 16+1 cooperation mechanism is a voluntary cross-regional cooperation framework between China and CEE countries, which will help give full play to the complementary advantages of China and CEE countries. It will also be conducive to narrow the gap inside EU, and thus achieve the balanced development of Europe, said Wang.
"Time will prove that 16+1 cooperation will facilitate European integration process," said Wang.
In a bid to display the openness and inclusiveness of the mechanism, China has always cooperated with CEE countries under the framework of China-EU relations and EU's laws and rules, which can be found in the outcome documents of 16+1 meetings.
China is now considering inviting representatives from EU and its members to take part in the next 16+1 summit, said Wang.
As Germany and CEE countries are closely linked, China is also considering conducting the third-party cooperation with Germany in central and eastern European region, expecting that economic advantages of China and Germany can be combined with the development demands in this region, according to Wang.
China also welcomes companies from other EU members to take part in 16+1 cooperation, in a bid to achieve win-win situation, the Chinese foreign minister said.