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Premier’s Europe trip to yield fruitful cooperation

Updated: Oct 9,2014 8:40 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.

Li will also attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan from Oct 16 to 17, at the invitation of President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President of the European Commission Jos Manuel Barroso.

Experts said the tour, featuring pragmatic cooperation, will comprehensively deepen China’s relations with these countries, propel Asia-Europe cooperation and project China’s image as a responsible country.

HIGHER LEVEL OF CHINA-GERMANY COOPERATION

“The China-Germany ties have geared up,” said Cui Hongjian, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

Germany, as China’s biggest European partner in trade, investment and technical cooperation, is ready to establish and develop a partnership in the field of innovation with China, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to China in July.

Next year will mark the China-Germany Year of Innovative Cooperation, during which China will participate as a partner country in CeBIT 2015 in Hanover, one of the world’s largest IT fairs.

Industry informatization, finance, and aviation are expected to become new highlights of cooperation between China and Germany, said Xiong Wei, a scholar with China Foreign Affairs University.

Li will be visiting Germany for a second time since he took office in March 2013. In Berlin, the premier will co-chair the China-Germany governmental consultations with Merkel.

The two heads of government are expected to spend seven to eight hours together during Li’s visit, Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde noted.

Nearly 30 ministers from the two countries are expected to attend the consultations, during which a new roadmap for China-Germany cooperation will be drawn, said Shi.

He added that the two sides will hammer out guidelines defining the directions, fields and measures of medium- and long-term cooperation.

The guidelines, he said, will cover almost all areas, including economy, technology and environmental protection.

The main areas of China-Germany innovative cooperation will include “industry 4.0,” a strategic high-tech project of the German government, and urbanization, industrialization, informatization and agricultural modernization, which are China’s future priorities, according to the ambassador.

Li is also scheduled to attend the Hamburg Summit, the largest Chinese-European business meeting that takes place every other year in the German city.

According to Shi, the premier is expected to meet representatives from the European Union (EU) and give a keynote speech on China’s economy and its relations with Germany and Europe as a whole.

“The speech will enhance Germany and Europe’s understanding and confidence about China’s reform and development, and push forward our win-win collaboration,” Shi said.

MORE DEALS ON CHINA-RUSSIA COOPERATION

During his stay in Russia, Li will attend a regular meeting between the two countries’ prime ministers with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

As each other’s largest neighbor with enormous mutual economic complementarity and broad cooperation prospects, the two nations may highlight cooperation in energy, satellite navigation, infrastructure construction and the joint development of big planes, experts say.

Cooperation between China and Russia is of strategic significance and will not be affected by the volatile international situation or other external factors, Vice-Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said on Oct 8.

Cheng said China is the number Russia’s largest trading partner. Two-way trade reached $89.2 billion last year, and the two countries plan to raise the volume to $100 billion by 2015 and $200 billion by 2020.

To expand and deepen cooperation is the common aspirations of the peoples of the two countries, Cheng said.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION WITH EUROPE, WORLD

Li’s visit to Italy, which is holding the rotating presidency of the EU, follows Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s China tour in June.

China provides an ideal market for Italy’s mature manufacturing sector, while its demand for investment offers opportunities for China, said Wang Yiwei, a researcher at Renmin University of China.

This is Li’s second visit to southern Europe in 2014 following a trip to Greece in June.

“China is exploring new cooperation potentials with southern Europe by strengthening investment and trade links,” Wang said.

As another focus of Li’s European tour, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan will see more efforts by China to push for deeper cooperation and mutual trust between Asia and Europe.

ASEM, first launched in 1996, is an important venue for dialogue between Asia and Europe.

During Renzi’s visit to China, Li said he expected positive results from this year’s ASEM meeting in planning and propelling cooperation between Asia and Europe in political, economic and trade, social and cultural areas and in enhancing communication and building an Asia-Europe market.

The meeting will also drive home the conceptions of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road promoted by China, which have been hailed by Renzi as a good chance to enhance East-West cultural and political links.

“Chinese leaders always offer great support for ASEM. Premier Li would probably deliver an important speech at the meeting, which will connect China’s ‘One Road, One Belt’ initiative to the future development of ASEM,” said Cui of the China Institute of International Studies.

Li will also visit the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization Oct 15, the first by a top Chinese leader to the agency. During his visit, Li will deliver a speech on agricultural development and food security in China.

China is widely commended for its achievements in food security and poverty reduction.

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