Executive Intelligence Review


China’s Premier Praises 16+1 Mechanism in Sofia as ‘New Model of Multilateral Cooperation’

July 8, 2018 (EIRNS)—Chinese Premier Li Keqiang yesterday told the leaders’ meeting between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), held in Sofia, Bulgaria, that the 16+1 mechanism “has created a new model of multilateral open cooperation” which has been very successful in promoting mutual trust and mutual benefit.

“Looking into the future, China will continue to adhere to the path of peaceful development, unswervingly pursue an open strategy of mutual benefit and win-win results, and work with other countries to build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind,”

according to Xinhua. “Countries are welcome to board China’s economic express to share opportunities of China’s development.” Li specifically suggested that CEE countries could participate in the construction of industrial parks, enhance financial cooperation, and “foster fresh force for innovation cooperation,” Xinhua reported.

Li went out of his way to emphasize that the 16+1 platform was by no means meant to undermine the European Union, but would actually help strengthen China-EU ties.

“There are some voices questioning whether the 16+1 cooperation is a geopolitical tool, or whether it will divide Europe. The doubts are misunderstanding.... We firmly support European integration.... A united, stable and prosperous EU and a strong euro conform to the fundamental interests of China.”

He further said:

“As long as we insist on pursuing open cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results, while staying down-to-earth with firm confidence, the 16+1 cooperation will surely be promoted steadily and it will add greater contributions to the development of China-EU ties and the world’s openness and prosperity.”

Eleven of the 16 countries are EU members, a several more are candidates for membership.

Xinhua reported that all parties agreed that the 16+1 cooperation is not a geopolitical tool, but a pragmatic cooperation platform, and they issued guidelines for such cooperation and signed more than 20 specific cooperation documents. Li stated that the results achieved over six years “have exceeded expectations.... Infrastructure interconnectivity has been promoted in an orderly manner and there have been nearly 9,000 China-Europe freight train services.” The Chinese Premier concluded that

“cooperation between China and the CEEC has achieved mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, promoted common development and improved peoples’ livelihood,”

Xinhua reported.