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Premier Li arrives in Latvia for official visit, China-CEE summit

Updated: Nov 4,2016 5:03 PM     Xinhua

RIGA — Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Riga on Nov 4 for an official visit to Latvia.

The Premier is also here for a meeting between the heads of the governments of China and 16 central and eastern European (CEE) countries, or the “16+1” summit.

This is the first time for a Chinese premier to visit Latvia since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Upon arrival, Premier Li said the 16+1 cooperation mechanism has seen steady development and fruitful results since it was founded in 2012, and has become a key platform for friendship and common development between China and CEE countries.

Under the current international and regional circumstances, China is willing to work with all parties concerned to ensure the summit a success, and, through deepening the 16+1 cooperation, to further promote the development of these countries, which is also conducive to a balanced development of Europe and its integration, said Premier Li.

Liu Haixing, China’s assistant foreign minister, told a press briefing in Beijing earlier this week that the coming conference is of great importance both to the development of cooperation between China and the CEE countries and the China-EU all-round strategic partnership.

The Premier will attend a 16+1 leaders’ round-table, deliver a speech at an economic and trade forum, and meet with leaders of the CEE countries, according to Liu.

The EU will attend the 16+1 meeting as an observer.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Latvia.

Hailing the profound friendship between the two countries, Premier Li said he is looking forward to exchanging views on bilateral cooperation with Latvian leaders and boost the bilateral relationship to even higher levels.

During his stay here, Premier Li is scheduled to hold talks with his Latvian counterpart Maris Kucinskis, meet with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Parliament Speaker Inara Murniece.

Latvia is the third leg of Premier Li’s eight-day Eurasian tour that has already taken him to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The trip will also take the Premier to Russia.