Liu Zuokui on China's relations with Central and Eastern Europe
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has visited Romania, and is the first Chinese Premier to visit the country in 19 years. However, it is far from a fresh attempt by China to expand ties with Central and Eastern European, or CEE countries. CEE countries have often appeared in the list of destinations for overseas trips by China's top leaders, an indication of the stronger desire from both sides to boost ties.
Politically, Romania was among the first few nations to set up diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China. In 1971, Bucharest was also one of the UN members that supported Beijing's seat in the world body.
Economically, the two countries now enjoy wide-ranging cooperation. Two-way trade reached 3.27 billion U.S. dollars during the first 10 months of this year, in comparison with less than 300 million dollars for the annual total of 2000. China's current total investment in Romania tops 160 million dollars.
During his visit to Romania this time, Premier Li Keqiang attended China-Central and Eastern Europe leaders' meeting, where multiple deals were signed in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture and cultural exchanges. China has signed a major deal with Hungary and Serbia on a railway linking Budapest with Belgrade. China and Romania are also in talks to launch a railway project in Romania.
So how do experts from China and Romania view their ever-expanding relationship? What does the future look like in terms of cooperation between China and CEE countries?
Ni Hao, you're listening to People In the Know, bringing you insights into the headlines in China and around the world, I'm Zheng Chenguang in Beijing.
In this program, we speak to Prof. George Poede, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Socio-Political Sciences at the Alexander Ioan Cuza University in Romania, and Professor Liu Zuokui, Deputy Head of Department of Central and Eastern European Studies, Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.