On April 16, 2012, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media. Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao and Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Yaoping introduced the background, main activities and significance of Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Iceland, Sweden and Poland and attendance at Hannover Messe 2012 in Germany and then took questions of the journalists. Tian Qi, Deputy Director-General of the MFA Information Department presided over the briefing.
Song said that complex and profound readjustments and changes are taking place in the international situation, a complete recovery of the world economy will remain a long and arduous process and hence countries should strengthen cooperation to jointly seek way out. Europe is an important pillar of the world arena and a constructive force for world peace and prosperity. China has been firmly supporting the European integration process and always makes the development of relations with Europe a major strategic priority of its diplomacy. Wen's visit is of great significance to comprehensively deepening China's relations with the destination countries and advancing the development of China-Europe all-round strategic partnership.
I. Visit to Iceland
Song noted that Wen's visit to Iceland will be the first one paid by a Chinese premier to the country since China and Iceland established diplomatic ties 41 years ago. China-Iceland relations have progressed significantly and friendly cooperation in all fields has been deepened in recent years. The two sides enjoy great potential of cooperation in business, geothermal and Arctic and hold a high level of consensus on further deepening cooperation. China is glad to see the positive progress of maintaining financial stability and recovering the economy Iceland has made. Wen's visit aims at pushing forward the relations with Iceland and enhancing the bilateral pragmatic cooperation tremendously on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. During his stay, Wen will meet with President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir. They will exchange in-depth views on strengthening the bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation and discuss specific cooperation priorities. China will take the opportunity of this visit to work with Iceland to raise the bilateral friendly and win-win cooperation to higher levels.
Jiang said that Iceland is the first Western European country recognizing China's market economy status and the first country in Europe conducting Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiation with China. Although impacted by the financial crisis, the bilateral business cooperation has shown a clear momentum of recovery. During the visit, the two prime ministers will witness the signing of a series of intergovernmental and business agreements, mainly involving geothermal, ferrosilicon and cooperation planning. They will also share views on the business issues in which they are both interested, including China-Iceland FTA negotiation, geothermal cooperation and Chinese businesses' investment in Iceland.
II. Visit to Sweden
According to Song, Wen's visit to Sweden will be the first one to the country paid by a Chinese premier over the past 28 years. Sweden is the earliest western country establishing diplomatic ties with New China. In recent years, China-Sweden cooperation in the fields of trade, investment and environmental protection has achieved fruitful results. Under new circumstances, China and Sweden have the same desire to further deepen the bilateral relations and enhance pragmatic cooperation. During the visit, Wen will meet with Swedish King and Parliament Speaker and hold talks with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. They will discuss the bilateral cooperation, put foward important suggestions and initiatives and exchange opinions on China-Europe relations. The visit will help increase mutual understanding and boost cooperation on sustainable development, technological innovation and two-way investment between the two countries. Wen will also attend the Stockholm+40 Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development and make a speech to elaborate China's policy propositions on promoting sustainable development and engaging in international cooperation.
Jiang pointed out that Sweden is China's eighth largest trade partner, ninth largest source of foreign investment and third largest source of technology import in the EU as well as biggest trade partner in Nordic. During Wen's visit to Sweden, ministers of trade and commerce of both sides will hold talks on the topics of corporate social responsibility, environmental protection and ecological park construction, two-way investment and intellectual property protection. The two sides will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of an energy efficiency working group in the business field under the China-Sweden Economic and Trade Joint Committee.
III. Visit to Poland
Song said that Wen's visit to Poland will be the first one paid to the country by a Chinese premier over the past 25 years and the first to the country paid by a Chinese national leader since the two countries established strategic partnership at the end of last year. Poland is a major country in Central and Eastern Europe and an important member of the EU. China and Poland enjoy traditional friendship and sound development of bilateral relations. The bilateral pragmatic cooperation in all fields has grown rapidly since the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries at the end of last year. Poland has been China's biggest trade partner in Central and Eastern Europe for 7 years in a row. During the visit, Wen will meet with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, President Bronisław Komorowski, Marshal of the Sejm Ewa Kopacz and Marshal of the Senate Bogdan Borusewicz respectively to exchange in-depth opinions on the bilateral relations, especially pragmatic cooperation and other issues of common interest. Related departments and companies of both sides will sign cooperation documents and business contracts to promote infrastructure construction, business and cultural cooperation. The visit will help both to enhance mutual understanding and trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation comprehensively and lift the strategic partnership to higher levels.
He added that Wen will hold talks with the leaders of Central and Eastern European countries in Warsaw during the visit and they will jointly attend the China-Central and Eastern Europe business forum. China and Central and Eastern European countries enjoy traditional friendship. The bilateral relations have gained sustained growth in recent years. Between the two sides various levels of contacts are on the rise and cooperation in different fields is fruitful. At present, both China and Central and Eastern European countries are in an important development stage and share strong economic complementarities and huge cooperation potential. In particular, under the background of international financial crisis and European debt crisis, both sides have the desire to deepen the win-win cooperation. The friendly cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries is an important part of the entire China-Europe relations and to deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation will stimulate the all-round progress of China-Europe relations.
Jiang said that China attaches great importance to developing business relations with the Central and Eastern European countries and expects to take joint actions to further expand the bilateral trade, step up mutual investment and promote economic and technological cooperation. We will make full use of the exchange mechanism of the intergovernmental economic and trade joint committees with related countries to actively promote investment and trade facilitation and create sound conditions for the sustained and healthy growth of business relations.
IV. Attend Hannover Messe 2012
Song said that Wen, at the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will attend Hannover Messe 2012 and the event of China's partner countries. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Germany diplomatic relations. Over the past 40 years, the two countries have maintained sound development of bilateral relations, increased mutual understanding and trust and deepened pragmatic cooperation in various fields. As an important trade partner of each other, China and Germany have built the intergovernmental consultations mechanism. In the economic field, the two countries share wide common interests and strong complementarities. They both attach importance to the real economy and are major manufacturing countries in the world. The bilateral cooperation embraces great potential. During the visit, the prime ministers of both countries will hold talks, jointly attend the opening ceremony of Hannover Messe 2012 and China-Germany Business Summit and deliver remarks and speeches. Wen's visit will further strengthen business exchanges between the two countries, broaden the bilateral practical cooperation in the fields of machinery manufacturing, energy conservation and environmental protection, consolidate the bilateral ties and bring greater benefits to the two peoples. It will become a shining point on the 40th anniversary of China-Germany diplomatic relations, enrich the connotation of bilateral strategic partnership and effectively push forward China's relations with Germany and Europe as well.