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Wang Yi Responds to Europe's Worries over the "16+1 Cooperation"

On May 31, 2018 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi jointly met the press with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of Germany in Berlin. With regard to questions put forward by journalists that the European Union (EU) and Germany still have some different voices and opinions on the "16+1 cooperation", Wang Yi clearly expounded China's position in a targeted manner that China regards the "16+1 cooperation" as a part of and a beneficial supplement to its relations with Europe.

Wang Yi said that China always firmly supports the European integration process, and hopes to see a more united, stable and prosperous EU. Both China and Europe are supporters of multi-polarization, maintainers of world stability and advocates of free trade. We have become important trade partners to each other with mutual interests being integrated gradually. A weakened and divided EU is completely not in line with China's interests, or what China wants to see.

Wang Yi pointed out that the "16+1 cooperation" is an independent and voluntary cross-regional cooperation platform established by China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), which has become a part of and a beneficial supplement to the relations between China and Europe. Carrying out the "16+1 cooperation" is not only conducive to giving play to the complementary advantages of China and CEEC, but also is beneficial for narrowing the gap inside Europe, thus realizing the balanced development of Europe. Time will prove that the "16+1 cooperation" will provide assistance for the acceleration of the European integration process.

In a bid to display the openness and inclusiveness of the "16+1 cooperation", China has always adhered to carrying out cooperation with CEEC under the framework of China-Europe relations and relevant laws and regulations of the EU. All previous sessions of 16+1 Summit have clearly conveyed the message of support for the European integration. The outcome documents have also made clear that cooperation should be carried out in accordance with the EU laws and regulations. The EU representatives have also been invited many times to attend significant events under the framework of the "16+1 cooperation". China is actively considering inviting representatives from the EU and its member states to attend the new round of 16+1 Summit to jointly discuss major plans for development and cooperation.

Wang Yi said that Germany and CEEC have close connections. China is now actively considering conducting trilateral cooperation with Germany in Central and Eastern European region. We are looking forward to combining economic complementary advantages of China and Germany with the development demand of Central and Eastern European region, jointly carrying out cooperation in specific projects, and striving for early landing, early implementation and early results of cooperation. We also welcome companies from other EU countries to actively take part in the "16+1cooperation", so as to form a sound situation with mutual benefit and multi-win results.

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