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Premier Li arrives in Bucharest for visit, summit with CEE leaders

Updated: Nov 25,2013 2:18 PM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang (R) and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta inspect the Romanian guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony upon Li's arrival in Bucharest, Romania, Nov 25, 2013.[Photo by Yao Dawei/Xinhua]

BUCHAREST -- Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Bucharest on Nov 25 for an official visit to Romania and a summit with leaders of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

During the visit, Li will hold talks with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, and meet Romanian President Traian Basescu, President of the Senate Crin Antonescu and President of the Chamber of Deputies Valeriu Zgonea. He will also deliver a speech at the Romanian parliament.

Li will visit a Chinese enterprise based in Romania and make extensive contacts with people of all walks of life so as to promote China-Romania relations and bilateral cooperation.

It is the first visit by a Chinese premier to Romania in 19 years and also Li’s maiden trip to Central and Eastern Europe since he took office in March.

He will also attend the China-CEE leaders’ meeting in Bucharest.

At the airport, Romanian youths presented bread and salt to the Chinese premier according to local traditions of greeting distinguished guests.

National anthems of both countries were played at the welcome ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Ponta, and Li inspected the Romanian guard of honor together with Ponta.

It is the first time that Romania staged a welcome ceremony at the airport for a foreign guest in 20 years.

Li will also carry out a string of multilateral and bilateral activities with his counterparts from 16 CEE countries, including a round-table leaders’ meeting and a trade forum.

He will address the opening ceremony of the Third China-CEE Economic and Trade Forum.

China and Romania have conducted multi-faceted cooperation. Two-way trade reached $3.27 billion during the first 10 months this year, in comparison with less than $300 million for the annual total of 2000. China’s current total investment in Romania tops $160 million.

Trade between China and the 16 CEE countries amounted to $45.4 billion during the first 10 months this year. Currently, Chinese companies’ investment in CEE countries has exceeded $3.5 billion, and investment in the opposite direction has topped $1.1 billion.

The 16 CEE countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

After visiting Romania, Li will travel to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent for the 12th prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.