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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » October 29, 2008
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
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Tusk in China Mission
October 29, 2008   
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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed to expand bilateral friendship and cooperation during talks in Beijing Oct. 23.

During his meetings with Wen and with Chinese President Hu Jintao, the main topic of discussion was economic cooperation, including Chinese investments in Poland and Poland's participation in the Expo 2010 exhibition in Shanghai.

"China and Poland should view and develop their relationship from a strategic and long-term point of view," Wen told Tusk, according to China's Xinhua news agency. He urged more cooperation on infrastructure, environmental protection, mining, exploration of new areas of cooperation, and promotion of more balanced bilateral trade.

Tusk noted that next year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties with China and described the partnership as "a symbol of the steadfastness of friendship, understanding, and mutual respect." In Tusk's view, his talks in Beijing demonstrated that China wants to treat Poland as one of its priority partners.

Tusk announced that China has agreed to lift bans and ease difficulties in the sale of Polish foodstuffs, especially pork. "Without waiting for my words, the Prime Minister of China announced action by his government to unlock the Chinese market," he said during a news conference. China also has declared it will purchase Polish mining equipment and will collaborate in the more efficient use of coal, he said.

Tusk participated in the opening of the Polish-Chinese Economic Forum in Shanghai on the previous day, where he encouraged Chinese businesspeople to enter into close commercial relations with Poland. Deputy Economy Minister Adam Szejnfeld outlined government programs to attract foreign investment, including Special Economic Zones and grants for companies creating new jobs.

China is Poland's largest trading partner in Asia in terms of the value of commercial exchange as well as volume of imports. For its part, Poland is China's largest commercial partner in Central Europe. "Poland and China are looking for a path to mutual understanding, which should facilitate economic relations," Tusk said. "Everyone who has seen China has to admit that good economic and political relations with China are a key to success for all the countries of the world, without exception."

The Polish premier said that while there was nothing to impede the building of complete trust between Poland and China, bilateral trade turnover was disappointingly small.

"Today, Poland is the most interesting European Union market in terms of development perspectives," he said. "That should provide significant incentive from China's point of view. It is important to us that the Chinese side sees that the will is present in Poland for Chinese companies to launch their businesses in all possible ventures."

The prime minister was referring to tenders for the construction of specialized sport facilities linked with the Euro 2012 Soccer Championships in Poland. There have also been recent reports about the possible participation of Chinese contractors in implementing Poland's highway network construction program. Tusk also said that Poland was preparing a major promotion of its economic potential in connection with Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

Responding to a reporter's question in Shanghai about the matter of Tibet and human rights, the prime minister said that the agenda of his five-day visit in China did not include the internal problems of either China or Poland. "It is important to both sides for Polish-Chinese relations to be free of any ambiguity," he said. "We, our nations and countries, have our own views regarding how relations between authorities and citizens should look. What I want to stress is that I came here to confirm that Poland absolutely respects the Chinese development model."
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