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Premier’s trip to Romania, Uzbekistan to promote regional cooperation

Updated: Dec 2,2013 3:32 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING -- Premier Li Keqiang’s just-concluded trip to Romania and Uzbekistan, where he attended two multilateral meetings, will help China, the other member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and countries in Central and Eastern Europe promote cooperation in various fields, overseas experts and media said.

Leonid Savin, editor-in-chief of the Moscow-based magazine Geopolitika, said the SCO’s influence is increasing in the Eurasian region, adding that besides the SCO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) also plays a role in Central Asia.

The two groups could complement each other in safeguarding regional security, he said.

Elnara Baynazarova, an international relations expert from Kazakhstan, said Li’s proposal at the SCO prime ministers’ meeting to strengthen economic and trade cooperation among SCO member states, especially in transportation, will bring abundant benefits to Kazakhstan.

Building a transport corridor along the ancient Silk Road will promote regional economic development and infrastructure construction, and bring new investment and jobs to the country, said Baynazarova.

In addition, the transport corridor could bring new government revenues, including transit duties levied on commodities passing through the country, she said.

Stanislav Pritchin, an expert with the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said China’s role in Central Asia has been comprehensively enhanced.

The expert referred to China as a major investor and trade partner for Central Asian countries.

China, with its huge foreign exchange reserves, has helped Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and other countries in the region to tide over financial crises, he said. By doing so, China acquired opportunities to conduct energy cooperation with these countries, he added.

Trend News Agency, a private media outlet in Azerbaijan, said in a report that the SCO prime ministers’ meeting has yielded fruitful results.

During the meeting, heads of government of the SCO member states discussed a wide range of topics, especially their cooperation in such fields as trade, economy, science and technology, culture and people-to-people exchanges, said the report.

A Russian news website, www.centrasia.ru, reported Li’s talks with his Tajik counterpart, Kokhir Rasulzoda, on the sidelines of the meeting.

Rasulzoda said during the talks that the fruitful cooperation between Tajikistan and China has boosted his country’s economic development and people’s livelihood, according to the report.

Tajikistan welcomes investment from China and is willing to promote bilateral cooperation, in a bid to enrich the strategic partnership between the two sides, Rasulzoda was quoted as saying.

12news.uz, a news website in Uzbekistan, reported Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoev’s speech at the meeting.

In his speech, Mirziyoev spoke highly of the support provided to Uzbekistan by other SCO member states, in particular China’s preferential loans that had helped the country develop some key areas of the national economy.

Other news portals of Uzbekistan, including the official National News Agency, the Information Agency Jahon of the foreign ministry, and the newspaper Narodnoye Slove, also covered Li’s visit to the country in detail, saying it would lift bilateral relations to a higher level.

According to a poll released by the Evaluation and Strategic Research Institute, an independent think-tank in Romania, 92 percent of the respondents knew the Chinese premier’s trip to Romania and attendance at the leaders’ meeting of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

The poll also showed that 79 percent of the respondents were aware of the $10 billion special credit line, aimed at boosting trade and economic cooperation between the two sides.

In a commentary, the Polish News Agency said relations between China and CEE countries are at their best level in history.

The daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita and other mainstream media in Poland reprinted Li’s speech at the meeting, saying it charted a course for the development of cooperation between the two sides.

Romania’s policy analysis journal “Cabran Poligic” published an article by foreign policy analyst Gabriela Iongiga on its website on Saturday, saying Chinese Premier Li has won the most important image at the annual meeting of the heads of government of China and Central and Eastern European countries and the Third China-Central and Eastern Europe Economic and Trade Forum held in Bucharest.

The event is not only an excellent opportunity to remember the long-term friendly ties between Romania and China, but also an concrete step by the Romanian government to turn good intentions, shown when Prime Minister Victor Ponta visited Beijing earlier this year, into a truly viable partnership, Iongiga said in the article.

China and Eastern European countries tend to give priority to economic pragmatism, especially during a difficult time of the global economic crisis, and the Romanian leader’summit with China is a chance for Romania, Iongiga added.

Hungarian newspaper “Magyar Nemzet” published an article on Nov 27 on its website, noting that, regarding China, Hungary’s policy of “openning up to the east” seems effective.

The first important economic agreements have emerged at the summit held in Bucharest between China and Central and Eastern European countries, the newspaper said.

In Budapest, China, Hungary and Serbia have reached a tripartite agreement on the Budapest-Belgrade railway modernization, which will be financed by China, it said.

China has started to make investment preparations in Budapest to boost food trade and several more agreements are expected to be signed soon. For Hungarian businessmen, the reform policy announced by China is encouraging, the newspaper said.

The Bucharest summit is successful, it said. Central and Eastern European countries within and outside the EU for the first time showed up on an international diplomatic occasion and spoke with one voice in coordination with China.

The Voice of Russia published an article on its website on Nov 27, stressing Europe helps the world recognize the Chinese currency -- the yuan.

China strengthens diplomatic lobbying of the yuan as an international currency, the article said.

Premier Li, at the Bucharest meeting, offered to actively conduct mutual settlements between the yuan, euro and other European currencies.

Li hoped to expand the boundaries of the use of the yuan through Central and Eastern Europe, it said. China will open a line of credit to Europeans at $10 billion for joint infrastructure projects.

China’s role in Central Asia is increasing and China has been pursuing its goals in Central Asia and striving to fulfill its tasks, said Pritchin.

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