SHANGHAI, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski says he's hoping to take his country's relationship with China to a new level during a state visit this week.
Komorowski, making the first official visit by a Polish head of state to China in 14 years, said the goal of the trip is to deepen cooperation with Beijing at a time when Poland has taken a greater role in the security of Europe, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
The goal is to elevate the two country's relationship to the strategic partnership level, Poland says.
"China has witnessed a rapid economic development, as well as an enormous increase of its political clout," Komorowski told Xinhua. "Meanwhile, Poland has become a member of NATO and the European Union and is the 20th largest economy in the world."
The five-day visit, which began Sunday in Shanghai, will see Komorowski seek to forge new ties in the form of new Chinese investments in Polish businesses and the purchase of Polish sovereign debt, officials from the two countries said.
Komorowski was to attend a China-Poland investment forum in Shanghai and to meet officials from the Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Company, Polish Ambassador to China Tadeusz Chomicki told Xinhua.
The trip's agenda also included a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.
"I hope the talks will yield fruitful results for our long-term cooperation, including not only the cooperation between the economic arms of our governments, but also agreements reached by the two sides' enterprises," Komorowski said.
With the total value of Chinese investments in Poland this year estimated at $325 million, Komorowski is seeking to increase that level to $390 million per year, the Polish business news daily Puls Biznesu reported.
Slawomir Majman, president of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, told the publication the trip is meant to lay the groundwork for a new level of Chinese presence in the country.
"This will be a historical visit in that it will create a political umbrella for economic activity," Majman said.
The trip was expected to produce deals on future investment in Poland by Chinese construction machinery manufacturer Sany Group and Guangxi Liugong Machinery, which has already struck a deal to purchase a division of Polish construction machinery and military equipment maker Huta Stalowa Wola.
Puls Biznesu said Polish copper mining company KGHM and jeweler W. Kruk are also expected to ink deals with Chinese interests. Chomicki said last week cultural ties with China also should be taken to a new level.
"Both countries, both governments, have come to the conclusion that it is time to enhance our relations and to achieve a strategic partnership between China and Poland," he told the English language newspaper China Daily. "We think it is a great opportunity to show Poland as a good, strong and attractive partner for China."
Feng Zhongping, a European studies expert at the government think tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, agreed, telling Xinhua it makes sense for Beijing and Warsaw to upgrade their relationship.
"Poland is now a leading country in Central and Eastern Europe and plays an important role in the European Union," he said. "As both sides attach importance to bilateral relations, and as the world faces an economic downturn, developing relations between the two is not only important for both sides but also for Europe and the European Union as a whole."