KIEV, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The relations between China and Ukraine are stepping into a new era as Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko held their talks last month.
The meeting has sent a message that the two countries are ready to deepen the political dialogue and use their complementary advantages to promote win-win cooperation in various spheres.
STRENGTHENED POLITICAL DIALOGUE
The meeting between Xi and Poroshenko, which took place ahead of the opening session of the 47th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, has drawn much attention in Ukraine.
The talks that coincided with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between China and Ukraine, were widely seen here as an event that will give a new impetus to the development of all-round relations between the two countries.
During the meeting, the leaders of China and Ukraine have reiterated their willingness to strengthen mutual political trust. The readiness of the two leaders to boost exchanges between the governments, legislatures and political parties of their respective countries was perceived by some observers here as a run-up for possible high-level visits between the two nations.
The significance of the meeting between Xi and Poroshenko also lies in the fact that Beijing showed interest in getting involved in the diplomatic efforts in resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
There is no doubt that China's experience in resolving dispute through dialogue and negotiation will serve as a good example of successful diplomacy for Ukraine and may become a turning point for finding the way out of the turmoil.
China's readiness to play a role in Ukraine's political settlement was highly welcomed by local analysts, who pointed out the move will have a positive impact on keeping peace and stability in the East European country.
"The meeting between Petro Poroshenko and Xi Jinping is crucially important. The Chinese leader, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, said he is willing to join the efforts of finding a solution to the crisis in the Donbas. This is a landmark position," said Viktor Shlinchak, head of the Kiev-based Institute of World Policy.
FRESH BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
With the development of political contacts, business ties between China and Ukraine, which have seen a sharp upswing last year, are expected to become even stronger.
The meeting between Xi and Poroshenko became a very important tool to strengthen the bilateral economic cooperation, signalling to entrepreneurs that the business ties between China and Ukraine are secured at the state level.
This is particularly important in the light of the fact that last year Chinese investors held talks with the Ukrainian government on the implementation of projects worth more than one billion U.S. dollars.
As Ukraine struggles with sluggish growth and lack of market liquidity, Chinese investment may become a breath of fresh air for the post-crisis economy of the East European country.
The investment cooperation between Ukraine and China, analysts say, is not a zero-sum game, but a process from which both countries will benefit given the complementary advantages of their economies.
Agriculture is one of the most promising areas for Ukraine-China collaboration given Ukraine's rising farm industry output, including organic food production, together with China's huge consumer market and its modern farming technologies.
The two nations may also join hands in green energy production.
Other promising areas for cooperation include construction, aviation, chemical industry, IT sector, steel and machine manufacturing, with prospects of establishing joint ventures and exporting goods to third countries.
"Ukraine has a free trade agreement with the European Union. Therefore, it could be economically advantageous for China to establish production in Ukraine to subsequently sell their goods to the huge and wealthy European market," said Andriy Novak, chairman of Ukraine's Economists Committee.
NEW CHAPTER OF FRIENDSHIP
It goes without saying that the establishment of a sustainable economic partnership between any countries requires mutual understanding and friendship between their people.
Therefore, China and Ukraine are actively promoting people-to-people contacts and carrying cultural exchanges to deepen communication between their citizens.
It is vividly illustrated by the increased number of cultural events, including musical concerts, exhibitions, and joint celebrations of holidays between Chinese and Ukrainians, held in 2016.
This dynamic of cultural exchanges is poised to further expand this year, with a calendar full of planned events featuring tours of musicians and theaters as well as folk festivals and workshops on traditional handicrafts.
However, the interaction between the Chinese and Ukrainian people is set to go beyond the cultural ties thanks to the efforts of the two governments.
During their meeting, Xi and Poroshenko suggested the two nations to hold more activities in sports, education and tourism.
In terms of sports, the two countries enjoy vast potential. For instance, experienced Ukrainian football coaches may contribute to China's goal to become a top class soccer nation by 2050. In return, Chinese athletes, who are one of the world's leading athletes in Olympic sports, may share their experience with Ukrainian sportsmen.
With regard to education, the collaboration is already flourishing. It is confirmed not only by the frequent student exchanges, but also by China's financial contributions to Ukraine's education system, including the donation of 23,500 computers to more than 2,400 Ukrainian schools in 2016.
The partnership in the education sector is expected to further develop with new rounds of student exchanges and language children camps planned for this year.
The bilateral tourism ties gained momentum last year after Kiev introduced the visa-on-arrival policy for Chinese citizens. The initiative doubled the inflow of Chinese travellers to Ukraine to 25,000 in 2016.
This year, Ukraine targets to become a hot spot for Chinese tourists in Eastern Europe. To achieve the goal, Ukrainian tourism companies are hammering out tour packages specifically designed for Chinese travellers, while the Ukrainian government is working to further liberalize visa applications and procedures.
"Our tourism relations are advancing very dynamically," said Olena Shapovalova, Vice President of Tourism and Resorts Committee at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce. She hopes in the near future, Chinese tourists will get a visa-free entry.