PRAGUE, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- China and the Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) are to set up an association of local government heads in a bid to advance China-CEEC cooperation, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Thursday.
Zhang said in a speech at the opening ceremony of the second China-CEEC local leaders meeting that the agreement between Chinese and CEEC leaders to hold regular meetings of local leaders has greatly promoted both sides' initiatives to carry out local level cooperation.
He said 15 of China's provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government took part in this meeting, including the top eight ones that boost the highest local GDP in the country. Their total GDP amount to more than six trillion U.S. dollars, accounting for about two-thirds of China economy.
Zhang said as the host country of the meeting, the Czech Republic has 12 of its 13 states represented at the meeting. He said other CEEC countries also sent high-caliber delegations to the meeting.
Zhang said strengthening local-level cooperation is a major content of expanding and deepening China-CEEC cooperation.
He said such cooperation is conducive to converting the nation-level policy of promoting cooperation into concrete results of practical cooperation and to prompting more institutions, companies and persons to participate in the cooperation.
He said this meeting, under the theme of "Regional Cooperation - Important Driver of Cooperation between China and the Countries of Central and Eastern Europe", will add fresh and positive vigor to the cooperation between the two sides.
He expressed the hope that the participants of the meeting would join efforts to strengthen local-level cooperation, deepen practical cooperation and advance "16 plus 1 cooperation" to a new stage.