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Premier Li’s European tour aims pragmatic cooperation, innovation

Updated: Oct 4,2014 9:38 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING -- Premier Li Keqiang will visit Germany, Russia, Italy and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) headquarters from Oct 9 to 15 and attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan from Oct 16 to 17.

The trip, also Li’s second European tour this year, will see a series of results of pragmatic cooperation and innovation.

Observers expect the upcoming trip could greatly enhance China’s relations with the destination countries, promote the pragmatic cooperation between China and Europe and propel the Asia-Europe dialogue.

PRAGMATIC COOPERATION

This will be Li’s second visit to Germany since he took office in March 2013, where he will co-chair the China-Germany governmental consultation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A China-Germany cooperation guideline is expected to be endorsed by both sides during the visit, detailing on situations and prospects of their cooperation in all fields.

A series of inter-governmental agreements will also be inked during the visit.

“The two governments will focus their consultations on formulating an action program to develop their strategic partnership and promote their pragmatic cooperation in trade, economy, technology and other fields, especially in the area of innovation,” said former ambassador to Germany Mei Zhaorong.

During his stay in Russia, Li will attend the 19th China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting and a forum with a theme of open innovation.

More than 30 mutual beneficial agreements on financial, energy and high-speed rail cooperation will be signed.

Yakov Berger, a senior researcher with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua that Li’s visit will inject new impetus into the two countries’ pragmatic cooperation.

The two sides will reach new consensus in the aspects of energy, high-speed railways and finance, and highlight bilateral cooperation in politics and on international issues, he added.

During his visit to Italy, a friendly partner of China in Europe and a key member state of the European Union, Li is expected to hold talks in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President Giorgio Napolitano and other leaders.

Li will also pay a visit to the FAO headquarters for the first time on Oct 15, which shows that China has attached great importance to international cooperation in non-traditional security fields.

It has been widely accepted that China’s achievement in food security and poverty reduction have made huge contribution to global efforts in these endeavors.

As a focus of Li’s European tour, the 10th ASEM summit in Milan on Oct 16-17 will see more efforts by China to push for deeper cooperation and enhanced mutual trust between Asia and Europe.

It will also further drive home the conceptions of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road promoted by China, which have been hailed by Renzi as good opportunities to enhance East-West cultural and political links.

INTENSIVE INTERACTION

The relations with major powers are always cornerstones of China’s diplomacy. Germany, Russia, Italy, as leading European states, are all among such major powers.

China and Germany have witnessed intensive top-level exchanges since the beginning of this year. President Xi Jinping visited the European economic power house in March, which was followed by a tour of Merkel to China four months later.

“Germany is the most important cooperation partner of China in Europe. Their cooperation, exceeding China’s cooperation with any other European state from the perspectives of both broadness and depth, has been playing a leading and pilot role in the development of the China-Europe relationship,” said Mei.

He noted that it is rare in the history of the Sino-German relations to see such intensive exchanges of top-level visits in one year.

In another development, Li’s visit to Russia as premier will be carried out against the backdrop of a historic meeting between President Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Shanghai in May, when the two heads of states jointly announced the arrival of a new era for the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.

“At the present time the bilateral relations are at the highest level ever. Ties between the two countries are the closest in different areas. This is the pinnacle of the relations and a basis for their further improvement,” said Berger.

As for the China-Italy relationship, Cui Hongjian, director of the Department for European Studies of the China Institute of International Studies, said that “Italy is an important member of the European Union, with which China can find a lot of areas to conduct cooperation.”

Located at a very key geographic hinge, Italy can help China expand its relations and cooperation with other South Europe countries. Therefore, the Sino-Italian ties have both bilateral and regional significance, he said.

Experts believed Premier Li’s trip will further enrich the content of the pragmatic cooperation between China and the destination countries, inject fresh momentum into the Asia-Europe cooperation, benefit the economic development in China, Germany, Russia and Italy, and bring a broader perspective to the stability and development in Asia and Europe.

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