Interview: Bulgarian parliament speaker calls for more pragmatic cooperation with China

by Chen Hang, Marian Draganov

SOFIA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Bulgarian Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov said that his country and China should make more efforts to achieve pragmatic cooperative results, taking advantage of their good bilateral ties, in an interview with Xinhua.

Currently, Bulgarian-Chinese political and economic relations have experienced extraordinary progress, Mikov said on the eve of a six-day visit to China as the head of a government and business delegation that will tour Chongqing and Beijing.

The two countries had all the prerequisites for a great economic cooperation based on strong political collaboration but they should transfer this advantage into pragmatic achievements, said Mikov, who will hold meetings at senior political and business level, participate in two business forums and attend the signing of several bilateral agreements from Dec. 12-17 in China.

"During my visit to Beijing, an agreement on phytosanitary requirements for the export of Bulgarian corn will be signed. Exports of agricultural products to China is one of our priorities," Mikov said.

Bulgaria is ready to sign an agreement with China on commercial maritime transportation, and "I believe that agreements on export of dairy and meat products will be signed very soon," he said.

Mikov added that the opening of each other's cultural centers by the two countries in Sofia and Beijing would be another topic of his visit to China, so that the cultures of both countries could help build much closer friendship between the two peoples.

He said he expected to exchange with his Chinese partners ideas about opportunities to improve bilateral political relations, creating conditions for better economic cooperation, and cooperation between municipalities.

"I also expect to see those pragmatic efforts between businessmen from the two countries to achieve new economic results," he said.

The Bucharest meeting was very successful as guidelines for the development of relations between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries have been adopted, said Mikov when talking about the summit between China and the countries in the Romanian capital late November.

Mikov told Xinhua that he hoped China pay attention to the development of road and other related construction projects linking Greece's port city of Thessaloniki to the Central and Southeastern European countries.

Bulgaria has already been working on the project, he said. Under construction in the Bulgarian side was the Struma highway, connecting Sofia and the No. 25 highway in Greece, which leads to Thessaloniki.

He said cooperation with the Chinese side was possible on this very project and China would get favorable policies to speed up its construction, he added.