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China-Latvia cooperation intertwined with 16+1 mechanism: Ambassador

Updated: Nov 5,2016 2:08 PM

China’s Ambassador to Latvia Huang Yong. [File Photo/China’s Embassy in Latvia]

China’s ambassador to Latvia is suggesting bilateral ties have benefited from China’s cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries under the broader framework.

During Li Keqiang’s three-day stay in Latvia, he is scheduled to meet with leaders from 16 Central and Eastern European countries.

China formed the “16+1” cooperation mechanism with the 16 CEE states in 2012.

Huang Yong, China’s Ambassador to Latvia, says China-Latvia relations have become an important component of that larger framework.

“Latvia holds a very important geographic position. Historically, it’s the meeting point between Europe and Central Asia, as well as northern and southern Europe. The core idea of the ‘16+1’ framework is to facilitate regional economic in CEE countries via building basic infrastructure, such as ports, railways and highways. Due to the geographic location of Latvia and other Baltic nations, China-Latvia cooperation has mainly focused on infrastructure construction and logistics flow.”

During the last meeting among Chinese and CEE leaders, which took place last year in Suzhou, Premier Li proposed an initiative that would see China increase infrastructure and logistics cooperation with CEE countries in the Adriatic, Black and Baltic Sea regions.

Ambassador Huang Yong says he expects the upcoming meeting to produce similarly concrete results.

“Each leaders’ meeting between China and CEE countries has produced solid results, including the signing of many cooperation deals between governments and companies. This shows that the ‘16+1’ mechanism has effectively provided tremendous opportunities for China and CEE nations. China has a stable strategic partnership with the European Union, and the EU in term supports China in contributing to the world economy and international order. So the ‘16+1’ mechanism is an important component of China-Europe cooperation. It provides tremendous potential.”

Beyond economics, the Ambassador also says people to people exchanges remain a critical component in China-Latvia relations, with an emphasis on education, culture and tourism.

He also says plans are being worked on for future cooperation in areas such as health and medicine.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Latvia in 1991.