Feature: Romanian senior diplomats, experts call for enhanced cooperation amid Chinese National Day celebrations

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by Marcela Ganea

BUCHAREST, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- A webinar on promoting the development of Romania-China relations and a photo exhibition were among the many events held in Romania this year to celebrate China's National Day.

The webinar took place at Andrei Saguna University in Constanta, southeastern Romania. It was attended both online and in person by dozens of undergraduates, Master and PhD students, and speakers including scientists and scholars, former ministers of foreign affairs and geopolitical analysts who have been working with China for decades.

Aurel Papari, the president of Andrei Saguna University, opened the webinar by reminding the audience that the university is a "Window of Shanghai," since the Black Sea's biggest port of Constanta is a twin city of Shanghai. Andrei Saguna University celebrates China's National Day, on Oct. 1, every year.

Theodor Melescanu, former president of the Romanian Senate and three-times foreign minister, expressed his enthusiasm for celebrating this symbolic day. He explained that China began to emerge on the global stage in the 1970s, since when it has become one of the strongest nations in the history of mankind; a leader in Artificial Intelligence, quantics, and 5G communications.

"China is the country that initiated the largest cooperation platform, namely the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), that is not limited to infrastructure but covers all kinds of investments, health, environment, education, sport, youth, and space, from national to local level," he said. "The world may become multi-polar, and BRI is contributing to economic globalization and free trade."

"Romania must understand the major importance of the BRI in promoting international peace, and its own needs. Constanta city should become an economic hub both through its port and as a connecting route for BRI between the East and the West," he said.

Viorel Isticioaia, Romania's former ambassador to China and former managing director for Asia and Pacific of the European External Action Service, emphasized that the current global constraints due to the pandemic provide fertile ground for Romania to revisit its relationship with China.

Romania shares several perennial features with China, including history as a guiding principle at sensitive moments, and traditions reflecting not only the past but also renewed diplomacy. Meanwhile, Romania's strong points and geographical location could help China to contribute to global economic growth, as well as contributing to Romania's economic and development needs, according to Isticioaia.

Former presidential security adviser Iulian Fota suggested that, despite the current geopolitical context and possibly a different agenda for Romania, "we should take into account that the world is no longer dominated by the West and the North Atlantic. China is emerging strongly, the center of the world is moving from West to East, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and we should talk about Eurasia and China."

Alexandru Mironov, a science journalist and former Romanian minister of sport and youth, spoke about the Belt and Road Initiative as the only project of its kind in history.

Mironov has been writing about the BRI for the past two years in a series of articles in his own magazine, Science and Technology, keeping readers informed about projects along the BRI routes around the world, as well as the latest Artificial Intelligence and technological achievements in China. He also produces radio and TV programs where he regularly invites experts on China to present the BRI.

Liviu Muresan, president of local think tank the EURISC foundation, has been working with China for more than 25 years. He suggested that Romania should find a formula to combine the BRI with other initiatives in Europe such as the Three Sea Initiative.

Chinese ambassador to Romania Jiang Yu said that "the development of Sino-Romanian relations based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win results corresponds to the fundamental interest of the two countries."

"The Belt and Road Initiative is a Chinese plan to achieve sustainable development and shared prosperity for humanity. By Aug. 2021, China had signed over 200 agreements with 172 countries and international organizations, and made a significant contribution to fighting the pandemic and to economic recovery. We hope that Romania will grasp the opportunity of the BRI, to move together along the path of a better future," said the ambassador.

Attendees were also given a tour of the photo exhibition, called, "Better City, Better Life." Enditem

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