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Premier Li’s visit to help connect Asia, Europe

Updated: Oct 31,2016 5:18 PM

Four countries in eight days -- that is Premier Li Keqiang’s tight schedule during his upcoming visit to four Asian and European countries.

From Nov 2 to 9, Premier Li will pay official visits to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Russia, and attend the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) prime ministers’ meeting, the Fifth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries, and regular prime ministers meetings.

Analysts say the visit will benefit relations between China and the three countries, improve global cooperation on industrial capacity, and facilitate the Belt and Road Initiative.

Regular meetings

A highlight of the trip is the regular meeting mechanism. Apart from the SCO meeting and China-CEE summit, Premier Li will also attend regular meetings with the prime ministers of Kazakhstan and Russia.

As a significant part of China’s diplomatic strategy, regular meetings can ensure effective implementation of foreign policy, boost strategic mutual trust and improve bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

So far, China has set up regular meetings with Russia, Germany, Poland, Australia and Kazakhstan at the premier level.

According to Sun Zhuangzhi, from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the prime minister meetings focus on practical issues, especially the implementation of bilateral cooperation projects.

Generally, such meetings are held annually.

It is important to bilateral economic ties, because regular high-level dialogue will solve problems in cooperation and offer opportunities for cooperation at lower-level government bodies, he said.

In addition, those countries are all located along the Belt and Road Initiative, so cooperation can help its implementation.

Capacity cooperation

Another purpose of the premier’s trip is industrial capacity cooperation. Several cooperation agreements are expected to be signed.

Capacity cooperation with the four countries has made some progress. For example, during Premier Li’s visit to Kazakhstan in December 2014, both countries signed capacity cooperation contracts valued at $14 billion.

“The two countries’ capacity cooperation on manufacturing industries, such as cement and plate glass, is beneficial to Kazakhstan’s economic transformation,” said Chen Yurong, an expert from the China Institute of International Studies.

Analysts also say that, as a new cooperation style, capacity cooperation will boost companies’ win-win cooperation among different countries.

Through capacity cooperation, China’s labor-intensive manufacturing industry can be transferred to less-developed countries, which will boost their economy and upgrade China’s industrial chain.

Regional cooperation

China is paying more attention to regional cooperation. The two cooperation frameworks — SCO and China-CEE — were proposed by China, showing China’s pledge to strengthen regional cooperation and maintain regional stability.

During the visit, Premier Li will propose new initiatives to boost member countries’ cooperation within the two frameworks.

According to Sun Zhuangzhi, the two frameworks are based on evaluations of member countries’ status quo.

Since its founding 15 years ago, SCO has helped maintain stability in Central Asia and boost regional cooperation.

In addition, countries in central and Eastern Europe are showing more interest in the China-CEE mechanism, seeing it as an important platform to promote complementary cooperation with China.

It is expected that Premier Li’s eight-day visit will be a trip connecting Asia and Europe, not only promoting ties between China and the four countries, but also boosting regional practical cooperation.