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On the 11th of May 2016, a discussion was held at the Embassy of China, with HE Ms MA Keqing, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Czech Republic. The discussion concerned China and the current state of relations between our countries.

The discussion commenced after a sightseeing tour across the Chinese Embassy. The garden was beautiful and we saw the same type of maidenhair tree which had been plant in Lány, Czech Republic by presidents Xi Jinping and Miloš Zeman (President of the Czech Republic, 2016) during the recent visit of the Chinese President to the Czech Republic. Across the garden, rooming houses for all members of the Chinese diplomatic mission can be found. The whole garden has been designed in the Chinese style; it is a very peaceful place, and perfect for taking a rest after the working day is over.

Subsequently, when we entered the Embassy, we viewed a short film about China. After this, we welcomed Her Excellency Ms MA Keqing and heard her speech about cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Czech Republic. A discussion started concerning questions focused on education. There are two hundred seats available for international students who are planning to study in China – every year, the capacity is filled one hundred percent. Moreover, about three hundred students from China come to the Czech Republic every year to study subjects such as economics, medicine and finance. In addition, there are two universities which teach the Czech language in China.

Later on, we started to talk about why the Czech Republic enjoys a unique diplomatic relationship with China. China sees a big future in the Czech Republic and has, with Prague, significant potential to influence the whole of the EU, and in particular, Central and Eastern Europe. The recent visit of President Xi Jinping to the Czech republic, established a new level for greater cooperation in foreign and economic affairs between our countries. Moreover, the Czech fairy tale Krteček is one of the most famous fairy tales in China, and this further reinforces the influx of tourists to the Czech Republic.

They were about two hundred thousand Chinese tourists in the Czech Republic during the year 2014, and with the projected opening of three direct airport lines in the future, this number is set to increase. In China, the most popular foreign language to learn is English; they seek to have English as a common second language. English teaching in China begins from the second class in elementary school.

China’s main goal in its current foreign policy is to enforce their economy through cooperation and seek to establish a more secure world and make it a better place – but this is is not as simple as it may seem, because every state acts in its own self-interest. Along with this broad goal, we discussed the Syria problem. China wishes to exert influence through mild cooperation, because they are not in favour of intervention in foreign countries (we may look to what has transpired in Iraq and Libya to understand why). Possibly, it could be relatively straightforward to provide sufficiently quick steps to the achievement of victory, but it is impossible to predict what impact this would have on the citizens of the state or for future generations, and it is in this regard that steps of intervention are so dangerous.

China does not have the issue of immigration to face in the way that Europe currently does, mainly because immigrants are looking to Europe rather than China is their destination. China sees the problems of the immigration issue mainly with respect to Syria. The priority must be to solve the problem in Syria, and then the issue of immigrants may be resolved.

Myanmar is the highest partner for economic cooperation with China. Additionally, China seeks to create a greater “way” for economic welfare across all of the Asian countries. Furthermore, China is willing to replace the current dollar currency with their own CNY.

Last but not least, it was noted that Putonghua, also known as Modern Standard Mandarin, still has significant local differences in many regions of the Chinese provinces. Owing to the significant varieties of dialect spread over the provinces, a lot of people in China are not able to understand each other. Thus. There is an attempt to establish a common Putonghua to avoid these current problems in the future. This may be appropriately understood as an effort to unify their language.

The final item of the whole programme was a communal dinner in the style of Chinese cuisine. It was absolutely delicious, and we were able to choose from a range of different meals and beverages. I am really proud of having been the coordinator of this event, as well as having met with HE Ms MA Keqing. On behalf of the Diplomatic Academy, we look forward to further future cooperation in the future.

Diplomatic Academy Prague