LJUBLJANA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Saturday that cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) is heading into a new phase of upgrading.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Wang said China-CEEC cooperation, also known as 17+1 cooperation, is a cross-regional cooperation platform based on the common aspirations of China and the CEECs, and has yielded early harvests and important results in nearly 20 fields of cooperation.
China's hosting of a 17+1 cooperation summit in the first half of 2020, Wang said, testifies to the great importance Beijing attaches to the mechanism, and responds to the common wishes of the 17 European nations to further lift the level of cooperation.
Through the summit, China hopes to upgrade win-win cooperation, open up new prospects of mutual benefit, and push for new development of China-Europe relations, he said.
Wang pointed out that China-CEEC collaboration is part of China-Europe cooperation and a helpful complement to China's cooperation with the European Union (EU).
China-CEEC cooperation, he stressed, arises from the common desires and mutual needs of China and the CEECs, and is in no way intended to start all over again, let alone to divide Europe.
Meanwhile, 17+1 cooperation helps speed up the development of the CEECs, which in turn facilitates the process of European integration, said the top Chinese diplomat.
He added that 17+1 cooperation upholds the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, adheres to commonly accepted international rules, conforms to market principles and EU standards, and respects the consensus of all participants.
The EU and other interested parties are invited to observe every conference within the China-CEEC framework, and the consensus reached under the 17+1 mechanism is open to and beneficial for all sides, he said.
He expressed the hope that through the upcoming Beijing summit, China-CEEC cooperation will be better synergized with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the EU strategy for connecting Europe and Asia, the Three Seas Initiative and the respective development strategies of the CEECs.
While deepening traditional cooperation, China and the CEECs can expand their cooperation into new fields such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, financial technology, life science and environmental protection, he said.
China hopes that the 17+1 mechanism will contribute to safeguarding multilateralism, promoting free trade, deepening mutually beneficial China-EU cooperation, and jointly building an open world economy, he said.
Noting that Slovenia has always been an active participant in and important contributor to China-CEEC cooperation, Wang said he believes that the European country will make new contributions to making a success of the Beijing summit.