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Premier highlights railway, FTA in talks with Lao, New Zealand PMs

Updated: Nov 21,2015 11:55 PM     Xinhua

The cooperation on a railway linking China and Laos has been advancing smoothly and the foundation stone will soon be laid to start its construction, Premier Li Keqiang said in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 21.

Premier Li called the railway one of the new fruits of bilateral cooperation when meeting with his Lao counterpart, Thongsing Thammavong, on the sidelines of the ongoing ASEAN meetings in the Malaysian capital.

He also mentioned the successful launch of a Lao communication satellite with a Chinese carrier rocket earlier in the day at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan province.

“I hope that both sides will keep up the momentum to achieve new progress in their economic cooperation zone and in infrastructure construction projects like expressways and railways,” he said.

He expressed his congratulations on the upcoming 40th anniversary of the founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and stressed that China is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with Laos to promote their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new level.

Laos will take the rotating presidency of ASEAN in 2016, and is also a crucial member of the newly-established Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework, Li said.

China is ready to work with Laos to bring about greater development of the China-ASEAN ties and better collaboration between countries along the Lancang-Mekong River, Premier Li said.

The Lancang-Mekong River is a natural waterway link between China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

For his part, Thongsing thanked China for its long-term assistance to the economic and social development of Laos, and pledged to promote inter-connectivity as well as economic and people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN during its ASEAN presidency.

Premier Li also met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key on Nov 21 on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings.

He told Key that China and New Zealand are complementary in their economic competitive edges and have huge potential in cooperation.

China stands ready to strengthen dialogue, communication and cooperation with New Zealand to inject fresh momentum into their bilateral relations, Premier Li said, adding that the two countries should strengthen their policy coordination and dialogue and push forward the negotiations on the upgrading of their free trade agreement (FTA).

China encourages Chinese enterprises to participate in the infrastructure construction projects in such areas as traffic and post-disaster rebuilding in New Zealand, and hopes that convenient access can be provided, Premier Li said.

The Premier also noted that his country is willing to enhance people-to-people exchanges, dialogue and communication between military forces as well as law enforcement cooperation with New Zealand.

On his part, Key said New Zealand is willing to actively advance talks on the bilateral FTA upgrade, promote trade and expand cooperation in areas including education, tourism and aviation with the Chinese side.

He said that the two countries should strengthen their communication and coordination on major international issues like climate change.

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