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Premier Li’s upcoming Eurasian visit to enhance regional cooperation

Updated: Nov 1,2016 7:21 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming visit to Eurasian countries will further enhance substantial cooperation with central Asia, central and eastern Europe, and Russia, senior diplomats have said.

Premier Li is scheduled to leave on Nov 1 for an eight-day official visit to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Russia. He will attend the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) prime ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and attend the Fifth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries in Riga, Latvia.

Premier Li will also attend the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting in St. Petersburg during his Russia tour.

The visit to Kyrgyzstan is the first visit to the central Asian country for Premier Li and an important high-level visit between the two countries this year, Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai told a press briefing in Beijing on Oct 31.

According to the official, during the Premier’s visit to Kyrgyzstan from Nov 2 to Nov 3, he will hold talks with his Kyrgyz counterpart Sooronbai Jeenbekov and meet Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev to exchange views on the Belt and Road Initiative as well as security and cultural cooperation.

The two countries will issue a joint communique and sign a string of deals on areas including economy and trade, production capacity, transportation, agriculture and intelligence property protection.

Regarding the SCO prime ministers’ meeting, Li Huilai said the Premier will propose concrete initiatives to further deepen SCO cooperation in areas of finance, trade, science and innovation.

The six members of the SCO will announce 38 measures designed to boost cooperation in areas such as transport, science and technology, infrastructure construction and environmental protection.

The visit to Kazakhstan will focus on cooperation in production capacity, according to a press release by the Foreign Ministry.

This is Premier Li’s second visit to Kazakhstan in two years, which shows that the two countries enjoy a high-level relationship and strategic mutual trust, it said.

The two countries will sign deals on trade, finance and energy, said the press release.

The Premier will then attend a meeting between the heads of the governments of China and 16 central and eastern European countries in Riga.

This is the first time a 16+1 summit has been held in a Baltic country, which is of great importance to the development of cooperation between China and central and eastern European countries, as well as the China-EU all-round strategic partnership, said Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Haixing at the press briefing.

Premier Li will attend a 16+1 leader’s round-table, deliver a speech at the sixth China, Central and Eastern European Countries Economic and Trade Forum and meet leaders from these countries, said Liu, adding that the EU will attend the 16+1 meeting as an observer.

This is also the first time a Chinese premier has visited Latvia since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Liu said.

As an EU country and a transportation hub in northern Europe, Latvia can play an important role in connecting Asia and Europe, he said.

During the visit, the Premier is expected to sign agreements with Latvia to further integrate China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Latvia’s strategic development and boost cooperation in trade, transport and tourism, said Liu, adding that China will also set up a culture center in Riga.

Russia will be the last stop on Premier Li’s eight-day trip. This is a major high-level exchange between China and Russia, said Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai.

Premier Li and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev will discuss major areas of interest and cooperation projects and sign agreements in areas including trade, energy, aviation, custom housing and education, said Li Huilai.

“China believes that the visit will improve the China-Russia all-round partnership of strategic coordination,” said Li Huilai.