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Premier Li’s first overseas visit of 2016

Updated: Jul 18,2016 11:47 AM     english.gov.cn

On July 16, Premier Li Keqiang concluded his four-day visit in Mongolia and returned to Beijing with productive bilateral and multilateral diplomatic achievements.

During his four days in Mongolia, Premier Li paid an official visit to the country and attended the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit.

Fifteen bilateral cooperation documents with Mongolia were signed, and a plan for the development of Asia-Europe cooperation in the next decade was put forward at the summit.

In addition, China won wide support on the South China Sea issue at the summit.

Let’s take a look at Premier Li’s activities during his stay in Ulaanbaatar.

Productive official visit to Mongolia

Premier Li received warm traditional welcome on arriving in China’s close neighbor to the north.

The great importance of China-Mongolia relations was in evidence as all top Mongolian leaders, including president, prime minister and chairman of the State Great Hural, met with Premier Li.

Amid the friendly atmosphere, China and Mongolia signed 15 cooperation documents in trade, technology, infrastructure construction, radio and television broadcasting, laying the foundation to coordinate both countries’ economic strategies.

Visions for upgraded Asia-Europe cooperation

The 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) was another major activity in Ulaanbaatar.

Premier Li stressed that China is against all forms of terrorism, as France experienced another terrorist attack on the opening day of ASEM.

The Premier then put forward his visions for the development of the two continents in the next decade as he stressed that all parties should uphold the meeting’s consensus of mutual respect and friendly consultation, explore new ways to promote comprehensive cooperation of Asia and Europe, and enhance the scope of cooperation.

For an upgraded Asia Europe cooperation, he put forward three suggestions: innovating cooperation philosophies, adding driving forces of cooperation, and enhancing the humanistic foundation of cooperation.

His ideas offered a feasible and applicable plan for the development of Asia-Europe cooperation in the next 10 years, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of ASEM.

Premier Li Keqiang also had conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and President of the European Council Donald Tusk in the corridor after the welcome ceremony of the 11th ASEM summit.

Wide support on South China Sea issue

On the issue of South China Sea, Premier Li made efforts at the multilateral and bilateral stages during the summit and received broad support.

At an informal meeting during the summit on July 16, the Premier stressed China’s stance on the South China Sea issue, saying that under no circumstance will the arbitration award exert any impact on China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea.

“China remains committed to settling the South China Sea disputes via dialogue and consultation with countries directly involved, on the basis of historical facts and in accordance with international law, in order to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.”

His remarks received wide backing and understanding from members at the meeting.

In addition, nations’ leaders, such as Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Russia’s Medvedev, expressed their support for China on the South China Sea issue during their respective meetings with Premier Li.

Neither the Ulaanbaatar Declaration nor the chair’s statement, endorsed by Asian and European leaders at the summit’s end, contains any specific reference to the South China Sea.

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