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Chinese Tour of Eastern Europe Marks 70 Years of Sino-Polish Ties, New Era of EU Silk Road Relations

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Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road forum in Beijing
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Sputnik / Alexey Nikolsy

The week-long state visit, which marks 70 years after China and Poland established diplomatic ties, includes two other CEEC countries, Hungary and Slovakia.

China has begun its state tour of countries in the European Union (EU) and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), with Chinese state councillor and foreign minister Wang Yi meeting his counterpart, Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz in Warsaw on Sunday, to discuss deepening cooperation on the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), CGTN reported.

Mr Czaputowicz said that Poland was willing to actively take part in building the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as strengthening bilateral exchanges and forging China-CEEC and EU-China ties via the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation.

During Mondays opening ceremony of the China-Poland Intergovernmental Cooperation Committees second plenary session, the Polish FM said he was “happy that after four years break”, the [Committee] was meeting “for the second time”.

FM Wang Yi welcomed the Polish FMs remarks and called for Poland to exploit the BRI's transport system, adding that ease of trade between Asia and Europe has grown by rail but maritime trade had become congested due to increasing cargo ship traffic.

Mr Czaputowicz also requested “more fruitful” talks in the 17+1 format, which facilitates Chinese investment in CEEC and Western Balkan countries, in addition to closing trade “asymmetry” between China and EU trade partners.

“China is willing to share its #5G development opportunities with the world to benefit people in more countries, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when meeting the press with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz”.

— Alam Chaudry (@Alam_Chaudry) July 9, 2019

Outside of the BRI's major partners such as Russia and Pakistan, multiple countries in the EU are leading in the race to work with Beijing, with several economic powerhouses pledging further support to the landmark project and signing agreements, leading to further economic growth and interconnectivity between East and West.

Italy

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The Mediterranean country was the first G7 country to join the Silk Road after launching its China Task Force programme via the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) in August last year.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and Chinese president Xi Jinping later signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in late March and officially joined Chinas BRI project, with the Italian PM stating that it was “time for a more effective relationship between Italy and China”, in addition to pledging £760bn to the initiative.

Hungary

Talks between Beijing and Budapest took place in November last year, with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban reaffirming his pledge to the BIR at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

Mr Orban said that Hungary had become “the growth engine of Europe” and that rational socioeconomic policies in CEEC countries had helped the region to become “the source of future development”.

— TRANSLOG Connect Congress (@TRANSLOGConnect) July 9, 2019

Hungary also became the first European country to sign a bilateral agreement on the Silk Road, Orban stated, adding that his country was host to Chinese companies such as Huawei, Bank of China, Wanhua and BYD, who helped raise the countrys GDP growth rate by 4 percent, as well as launching Huaweis largest productions and logistics site outside of China.

UK

Despite strained ties between the UK and China over security and Huawei, UK chancellor of the Exchequers Philip Hammond reaffirmed its commitment to Chinas BRI in April, calling it a “vision” and stating that the UK would contribute British expertise in project financing, Reuters reported.

Mr Hammond said that the BRI had “tremendous potential to spread prosperity and sustainable development” to 70 percent of the global population, adding it was a “project of truly epic ambition”.

“The BRI is an extraordinarily ambitious vision,” Hammond said. “To turn that vision into a sustainable reality, it must work for everyone involved.”

UK telecoms giant Vodafone also launched its 5G services across the UK using Huawei equipment, breaking away from warnings in Washington not to use the Chinese tech giants IT technologies.

Germany

Whilst Berlin has

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