Polish, Chinese FMs discuss bilateral relations

2019-07-08 19:01 update: 2019-07-11, 13:21
PAP/Marcin Obara
PAP/Marcin Obara
Bilateral relations and ways to improve them were the theme of Monday's talks in Warsaw between Polish and Chinese Foreign Ministers Jacek Czaputowicz and Wang Yi.

On Monday both ministers attended the second session of a 2012-established Polish-Chinese intergovernmental committee tasked with planning and overseeing cooperation under the strategic partnership which binds the two countries. Also present were Polish and Chinese ministerial and institutional officials.

Czaputowicz and Wang Yi also held face to face talks.

At a press conference with Wang Yi after the talks, Czaputowicz said he and the Chinese minister agreed that the lack of balanced trade was a serious hindrance to Polish-Chinese relations. In this context he pointed out that in 2018 Polish exports to China accounted for only USD 2.5 billion of the countries' USD 33 billion trade balance. He added, however, that the Chinese side had declared steps to build a more balanced economic partnership with Poland.

"We appreciate the Chinese declaration to undertake strivings for a more balanced economic partnership with Poland. We will also continue dialogue with China concerning the elimination of barriers that hinder the access of Polish goods to the Chinese market. We appreciate the progress that has already been made in some economic areas," Czaputowicz said.

Czaputowicz reminded that in September 2018 China reopened its market to Polish poultry products, and stressed that only a few months later poultry was second on Poland's agri-food export list to China.

He also thanked Wang Yi for China's allotment of additional slots at Beijing's airports to Poland's LOT national airline. He added that the decision will allow LOT to fly from Warsaw to the Chinese capital seven days a week.

Commenting on the advantages of regular flights between Poland and China, Czaputowicz pointed out that direct air links enhanced tourism, and reported that close to 150,000 Chinese tourists visited the Polish capital last year, marking a fourfold rise in only a few years.

Wang Yi said China was prepared to import more quality goods from Poland, and stressed that both countries shared common interests and ambitions, and therefore had to strengthen their political trust in each other.

"We have measurable common interests and common ambitions, therefore we must strengthen political trust (...), create good conditions for the further enhancement of our cooperation. We must make good use of all mechanisms, including the intergovernmental committee, to support ties between our governments, our ministries, so that our cooperation stands out in Europe," Wang Yi said.

The Chinese minister also pointed to the important role of the 17+1 cooperation platform between China and the Central-East European countries with Greece, initiated seven years ago by Poland and China. As the platform's founders and largest members, Poland and Chine should oversee its work, Wang Yi said.

Asked about the participation by Chinese companies in developing 5G technology in the EU countries, Wang Yi said he had discussed the matter with Czaputowicz and was told by the Polish minister that Poland wanted to continue its non-discriminatory position towards operators involved in 5G projects. He added that Poland's stand in the matter answered its interests, and voiced contentment over the prospects of his country's cooperation in new technology with Poland.

The ministers were also asked about the impact of the recent changes in the EU's leadership on the Community's relations with China. Czaputowicz said the recent re-manning of the EU's top posts showed that the EU's political scene was becoming more pluralistic. He added that Poland wanted the EU to adopt a "broader perspective" towards China, and observed that the EU should pay more attention to the interests of its medium-sized members like Poland, and not, as to date, only those of its strongest countries.

Commenting on economic ties between China and the EU, Czaputowicz observed that although Chinese investment in Europe was high, only 5 percent of it fell to the Central-East European countries. He added that the EU wanted China to proceed with lifting trade barriers to European goods and services.

Czaputowicz also mentioned this year's 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and China, and reminded that Poland was among the first countries to recognise the Chinese People's Republic upon its proclamation in 1949. 

Wang Yi said China was pleased to see that the election of the EU's new authorities had concluded successfully, and wished the Community success in its integration strivings. He stressed that China and the EU were "a very important force on the global arena." (PAP)