Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on July 3, where they agreed to lift state-to-state ties to a strategic partnership.
Lifting the bilateral ties to a strategic partnership will further strengthen the foundation of bilateral relations, said Radev.
He added that the Bulgarian side is ready to deeply participate in the Belt and Road Initiative by giving full play to its locational advantage in the region, and trying to become a gateway and hub connecting Europe and Asia.
The Bulgarian side is willing to expand cooperation with the Chinese side in such areas as trade, transportation, aviation, logistics, finance, innovation, local areas and people-people exchanges, and welcomes Chinese enterprises to increase investment in Bulgaria, said Radev.
"The two countries share many of the same or similar views on the international situation and should jointly safeguard the international system based on multilateralism and the international law," Xi said.
Bulgaria is also one of the first Central and Eastern European countries to sign intergovernmental cooperation documents with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi said China is willing to strengthen the synergy between the two countries' development strategies, promote infrastructure connectivity, expand trade and investment and cement people-to-people exchanges.
At the same time, Xi reiterated China's firm support for the European integration process, the EU's unity and growth and Europe's more important role in international affairs, saying that China's upholding of such stances is not an expedient measure.
This was a reference to unease in Brussels at the way in which China deals bilaterally with EU member states, in addition to building its influence via the so called 16+1 grouping of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.
"It is hoped that the new EU institutions will maintain the stability and continuity of their China policy," said Xi, who also expected the new EU institutions to work with China to promote the building of partnership on the basis of mutual respect, fairness and justice, cooperation and a win-win result.
"Bulgaria is a good friend and partner of China in the EU and an important participant and advocate of the cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries. It is hoped that the Bulgarian side will continue to play a constructive role in this regard," said Xi.