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Spotlight: Chinese premier's visits boost pragmatic cooperation with Eurasian countries
2016/11/12

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's just-concluded trip to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Russia has taken pragmatic cooperation with the four Eurasian countries and the wider region a stride forward.

In addition to paying official visits to the four countries, Li also attended the 15th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and a meeting with leaders of 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) nations.

From synergizing development strategies, boosting production capacity cooperation to signing new cooperation documents with the countries concerned, the premier's tight schedule has yielded fruitful results in a wide range of areas.

BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE TO CONJOIN WITH KYRGYZ DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

At a meeting with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov in Bishkek, Li said China is willing to translate the high-level political mutual trust with Kyrgyzstan into more substantial cooperation results.

The two economies are highly complementary with abundant points of converging interests and great potentials for cooperation, said the premier.

Li said his country is willing to conjoin the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with Kyrgyzstan's development strategy, and push forward production capacity cooperation.

Li also expressed the hope that Kyrgyzstan will further improve its investment environment.

For his part, Jeenbekov said Kyrgyzstan is willing to further increase political dialogues with China and boost the building of the Belt and Road Initiative through bilateral economic cooperation.

Kyrgyzstan would also carry forward the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway project and highway projects in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz prime minister said.

After the meeting, the two leaders released a joint communique between the two countries and witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents in such fields as economy, technology, production capacity, transport, agriculture and intellectual property rights.

The SCO prime ministers' meeting, which was also held in Bishkek, concluded with a six-pronged proposal by Premier Li, who called upon all its members to enhance cooperation in security, economic development, production capacity, innovation, regional financing and people-to-people exchanges.

SILK ROAD ECONOMIC BELT ALIGNING WITH KAZAKHSTAN'S BRIGHT ROAD

Upon his arrival in Kazakhstan, Li said China and the country have carried out fruitful cooperation, especially in production capacity, which has played a leading and exemplary role.

When meeting with his Kazakh counterpart, Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Li pledged to better align China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with Kazakhstan's new economic policy of the Bright Road to usher in a new phase of bilateral cooperation.

The Chinese premier called on efforts to explore potentials through production capacity cooperation and the construction of major projects on connectivity.

China is willing to expand cooperation with Kazakhstan to set a good example of good neighborly relations and win-win cooperation, the premier said.

For his part, Sagintayev said Kazakhstan would like to integrate its new economic policy of the Bright Road with China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, and further deepen cooperation in production capacity, transport, energy, agriculture and innovation.

During his meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Li reiterated China's willingness to augment production capacity cooperation with Kazakhstan, and expand cooperation in energy, connectivity and deep processing of agricultural products.

Nazarbayev hailed Kazakhstan-China ties as a model of friendly cooperation between countries, saying Kazakhstan stands ready to boost cooperation in production capacity with China and push forward the implementation of more projects in the Central Asian country.

Kazakhstan is also willing to expand cooperation with China in energy, agriculture and technology innovation, and strengthen bilateral trade, Nazarbayev said.

CHINA, CEE COUNTRIES TO PROMOTE COOPERATION

While meeting with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Li said China is willing to align its development strategies with Latvia's, promote bilateral cooperation in connectivity, trade and infrastructure construction, and enhance people-to-people exchanges in areas like tourism and education.

Latvia looks forward to fortifying cooperation with China in transportation, innovation, logistics and agriculture, and welcomes more Chinese investment, Vejonis said.

Cooperation in trade, connectivity, production capacity, finance, agriculture and forestry were highlighted by the leaders of China and the 16 CEE countries during the Riga summit.

On trade and investment, the participants gave encouragement to the progress in the ongoing EU-China negotiations over an ambitious and comprehensive investment agreement. They welcomed further cooperation on enhancing trade through e-commerce platforms and urged Chinese and CEE countries' businesses to promote exports and imports of their high-quality and characteristic products through e-commerce.

Trade volume between China and CEE countries reached 56.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, up 28 percent over 2010. Chinese investment in the 16 CEE countries exceeded 5 billion dollars, while they have invested more than 1.2 billion dollars in China.

To boost connectivity, all sides supported the development of transport routes between Europe and Asia, including the development of Europe-China international railway container traffic, the establishment of multi-modal logistic centers in CEE countries and throughout the whole Eurasian Land Bridge areas, and the improvement of the international supply chain and border crossing rules on the transport corridors.

With regard to production capacity cooperation, China and CEE countries voiced willingness to strengthen the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Seaport Cooperation in the Riga Declaration issued at the end of the summit.

They agreed to support the development of industrial clusters in ports, encourage cooperation in infrastructure development, such as construction of railways and roads, logistics and warehousing facilities at sea and inland ports and industrial parks, and encourage closer cooperation in financing.

On financial cooperation, related institutions and businesses from CEE countries are invited to contribute on a voluntary basis to the investment fund set by Sino-CEE Finance Holding Company Ltd. to jointly promote China-CEE cooperation on connectivity and the development of relevant industries.

Participants in the "16+1" summit encouraged Chinese financial institutions, including the Silk Road Fund, to provide financing support for China-CEE cooperation, and support China and CEE countries in boosting practical cooperation within the framework of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, including third-party cooperation with other countries and regions.

The China-CEE Countries Investment Cooperation Fund (Stage II) will be launched and put into operation in 2017.

They also planned to explore the possibility of establishing a China-CEE Countries Inter-Bank Association.

BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE TO SYNERGIZE WITH EEU

China is willing to work with Russia to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and lift the levels of China-Russia ties and cooperation, Li said during his meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The Chinese initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes. The EEU groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

The Chinese premier pointed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovation in particular as the areas where the two countries should step up efforts to promote future cooperation.

Li also called for more efforts to strengthen financial cooperation and increase the volume of settlement in national currencies.

He said the two sides should jointly work to expand trade, safeguard world trade system and rules, and promote trade cooperation and facilitation and mutual investment.

Medvedev asked the two countries to boost cooperation in SME innovation, while actively conducting cooperation in major projects in the areas of oil and gas and nuclear energy.

They also should boost financial cooperation, he added.

The meeting produced a joint communique calling upon the two countries to deepen cooperation in a wide range of fields, including economy and trade, investment, energy and people-to-people exchanges.

Li also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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