2015-03-24 22:25 ChineseTime

“Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria, will pay another visit to China after he visited China five years ago. It is an event of great significance in the history of China-Austria relations. It will be another “spring” and new opportunity for both countries to develop their relations,” said Zhao Bin, Chinese Ambassador to Austria, in an exclusive interview with Guangming Daily.

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria, will pay a state visit to China. President Xi will hold talks with President Fischer, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of NPC Standing Committee, will also meet him. Leaders of both sides will exchange views on China-Austria ties and regional and International issues of common cocern as well as make a comprehensive plan for the future of China-Austria ties. During the visit, President Fischer will attend the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015. Ambassador Zhao said, both sides will take the opportunity to further consolidate political mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation so as to step up the friendly cooperation and benefit both countries and peoples.

Ambassador Zhao said, big changes have taken place in China since President Fischer visited five years ago. At the time when China just concluded the “two sessions”, the Central Committee of CPC (Communist Party of China) has put forward the strategic layout of “Four Comprehensives” (comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepening reform, comprehensively advancing the rule of law and comprehensively strictly regulating the CPC) ,which will lead China under the “new normal” to develop its economy at a suitable speed, optimize structure and build a harmonious society as well as bring new opportunities for the cooperation between China and other countries including Austria.

Speaking of current China-Austria relations, Ambassador Zhao said, sound cooperation between both countries has been achieved in such fields as politics, economy, culture and education. Political mutual trust has been constantly enhanced due to close high-level exchanges. Both countries have enjoyed fast development in economic and trade cooperation with the total volume of trade of 8.25 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 16.7 percent over the correspondent period of last year, making China the second largest trade partner of Austria except European countries. Two-way investment is increasingly active with China’s $130-million non-financial direct investment in Austria in 2014.

As for the prospect of the two countries’ economic and trade cooperation, Ambassador Zhao said, there is strong economic complementarity between China and Austria. China has huge market potentials in energy conservation and environmental protection, new energy resources, machine manufacturing and modern husbandry due to its economic transition and structural adjustment. As a traditional industrial power in Europe, Austria has industrial and technological advantages in manufacturing and scientific and technological innovation. Both sides have a broad prospect for cooperation in fields like high-end manufacturing, environmental protection, new energy resources and modern agriculture.

Ambassador Zhao said, cooperation and exchanges in culture and education can’t be ignored when talking about the relations between the two cultural powers. They have achieved fruitful achievements in exchanges in fields like culture, education and tourism. At present, there are almost 2,600 Chinese students studying in Austria and more than 500 Austrian students in China. In 2014, nearly 500,000 Chinese tourists visited Austria and 64,800 Austrian tourists paid visits to China. Both sides can continue to strengthen cooperation in fields including culture, education, think tank and media, and further expand regional and nongovernmental exchanges so as to consolidate bilateral ties.

Ambassador Zhao said, the “belt and road” initiative put forward by Chinese government will provide more opportunities and space for China and Austria to carry out relevant cooperation. As an open and inclusive operation mechanism and platform, the “belt and road” initiative will enhance the communication and cooperation between China and Europe in development strategy, infrastructure construction and trade and investment facilitation, and build a community of shared interest, destiny and responsibility which includes political mutual trust, economic integration and cultural inclusiveness so as to upgrade the quality of China-Europe cooperation.

At last, Ambassador Zhao said, located at the center of Europe, Austria is a significant transportation hub connecting Western and Eastern Europe. It is able to play an important role in China-Europe cooperation owing to its geographic advantage, historical tradition and economic links.

Contributed by Wang Huaicheng, Guangming Daily correspondent in Vienna, Austria

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