Beijing Says that the Meeting with Eastern Europe in Sofia is not Postponed
China is in the process of intense preparatory talks on the regular summit with the countries of Eastern Europe scheduled for this year in Bulgaria, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry told Reuters. He specified that he had not heard of any postponement of the regular annual meeting.
Reuters reported yesterday, referring to three European diplomats, that China is contemplating dismantling these summits in the form of "16 + 1" and that raised concerns in Western capitals that Beijing is seeking to cause divisions on the continent.
According to diplomats, China has the potential to postpone the next "16 + 1" meeting scheduled for the Bulgarian capital Sofia later this year and to hold these meetings once every two years instead of every year.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lou Kang said in his daily briefing that he was aware of Reuters' claim but did not hear that these meetings could be diluted or postponed.
"China attaches great importance to this, and we are in close contact and communication with all parties about the preparation of the meeting (in Sofia)," he added without comment.
In addition to boosting cooperation between China and Eastern Europe, these summits also play a positive role in the development of European integration and balanced development in Europe, Lou said. The rapid development of this co-operation would not have been possible without the impetus and direction of the leaders' meetings, he added, adding that after last year's summit held in Budapest the next high-level forum is to be held in Bulgaria.
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