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China’s President Xi Jinping in Prague: the Danube-Oder-Elbe canal coming soon

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Czech Republic, Prague – The Chinese President Xi Jinping made a two days long visit in Prague, from Monday to Wednesday. China sees Czech Republic as a key partner in its “one Belt one Road” project, and wishes to develop further bilateral relations with Prague, especially by taking part in the construction of a new major central European canal.

Monday, March 28, the Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Prague in early afternoon, to meet, for the fourth time, with his counterpart Zeman. Since Zeman came into power in 2013, Czech-Chinese relationship improved notably. This is the first time that a Chinese leader comes officially to Czech Republic.

The two leaders discussed more than 20 topics, such as nuclear energy, finance, healthcare, aviation, technological research, cultural and students exchanges, agriculture, tourism, and about infrastructures. China is working for years on its Eurasian project of new silk road, entitled the “one Belt one Road”, designed to make a better connection between China and Europe.

This “XXIst century’s silk road” brought China to invest several time in different CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) countries, as for the harbor of Piraeus or the fast train line between Belgrade and Budapest. Henceforth the main project will be the dear to Zeman Y shaped canal, connecting the Danube, the Oder and the Elbe rivers. According to the communist vice-chairman of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament, Vojtěch Filip, the project is already at the phase of financing. The two countries will together invest 1 billion euros (8,66 billion Czech Crowns).

By connecting these three rivers, the canal will make the road between the Black sea and the Baltic and North seas much more shorter. This will be a great development for the harbors of Constanța in Romania, Hamburg in Germany and Szczecin in Poland. This canal will open up several central Europe countries which have no access to the see and will strengthen direct trade relations between Central European countries and Asia, avoiding Western Europe.

China is already a major trade partner for CEE countries, and especially for the Czech Republic, for which China is the second bigger trade partner after the European Union, with a bilateral trade reaching 11 billion dollars in 2015.