Premier Li Keqiang landed in Beijing on Sept 28 after a fruitful foreign trip, during which he attended the 71st session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and paid official visits to Canada and Cuba. Premier Li arrived with his wife, Cheng Hong.
The trip marked several “firsts,” namely Premier Li’s first appearance at the UN General Assembly, the first of annual dialogues between a Chinese Premier and a Canadian prime minister, and the first official visit to Cuba by a Chinese premier in 56 years, since the two countries established diplomatic ties.
Premier Li presented Chinese solutions to various global challenges and bolstered ties with both Canada and Cuba, experts observed.
HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY RESULTS, PROPOSALS AT UN HEADQUARTERS
The Premier concluded his visit to the UN headquarters, which included attending the UN General Assembly, and conferences on refugees, immigration and on sustainable development.
His New York tour also displayed China’s outlook for China-US relations while assuring the world of China’s determination to maintain steady economic growth and seek greater integration with the global economy.
During his UN meetings, Premier Li pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to help solve the most pressing challenges facing the world, from refugee and migration issues to the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
On the sidelines of the conferences, Premier Li met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and held talks with leaders of the United States, France, New Zealand and Pakistan.
Topics of the talks ranged from the issue of development and climate change, to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, China’s continuous support for the United Nations, its Charter, and its role in international affairs and safeguarding world peace and development. The global economic recovery and China’s engagement with other countries through the Belt and Road Initiative were also discussed.
Meanwhile, the Premier interacted with American business circles, prominent personalities and media, including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
HIGHLIGHTS OF VISIT TO CANADA
After New York, Premier Li wrapped up a visit to Canada with a string of promising outcomes. The Chinese and Canadian sides issued a joint statement in Ottawa listing 29 important agreements.
In solidifying a new chapter in their strategic partnership, the two sides held the successful inaugural meeting of their Annual Dialogue between the Chinese Premier and the Canadian prime minister.
They announced the goal of doubling bilateral trade by 2025 based on 2015 statistics.
China and Canada acknowledged the interconnected nature of the two economies and the untapped potential of the China-Canada economic and commercial relationship, and agreed to launch exploratory discussions for a possible China-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
“Signing an FTA with Canada will be a challenge for China, as it will have to bear greater pressure than the developed countries,” Premier Li said at a business forum in Montreal. “However, China is willing to engage in FTA talks with Canada to press the low-end domestic enterprises to move up the ladder.”
The two governments also agreed to cooperate in third-party markets in order to encourage and support enterprises of both countries to pursue opportunities in those markets.
During his stay in the North American country, Premier Li visited the renowned Canadian ice hockey team the Montreal Canadiens, and dropped the first puck at a training session.
Accompanied by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Li traveled to the Bell Centre, where the two leaders were briefed about the history of the club, which was founded in 1909 and has won 24 National Hockey League championships.
Premier Li said he was pleased to experience Canada’s national sport with Trudeau in Montreal, the cradle of ice hockey.
HIGHLIGHTS OF VISIT TO CUBA
During the first official visit to Cuba by a Chinese Premier, the two countries signed more than 20 cooperation agreements covering a wide range of areas.
Many experts said the trip has helped boost economic cooperation between Havana and Beijing and promote the Cuba-China comprehensive strategic partnership, while turning a new page in relations between the two traditionally friendly nations after they established diplomatic ties 56 years ago.
While meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Premier Li pledged to further promote bilateral ties through more high-level exchanges and boosting economic cooperation.
Hailing the progress made in relations, Premier Li said China has firmly adhered to the policy of friendly ties, supported Cuba in following a socialist path and promoted bilateral pragmatic cooperation.
China stands ready to deepen economic ties and work closely with Cuba on international affairs to push forward bilateral ties, said Premier Li.
Cuban state media paid close attention to Premier Li’s visit, highlighting his visit to Havana with photos and reports. Ordinary Cubans also had plenty to say about the visit.
“Cuba’s relations with China have been very stable for many years,” said Mario Hernandez, a 58-year-old worker. “I think this visit will be very important for Cuba because it will reaffirm economic, political and social links with Beijing.”