On the evening of Nov 8, 2016, Premier Li Keqiang left Moscow for Beijing, wrapping up his eight-day trip to Eurasian countries.
From Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia to Russia across Eurasia, he visited five cities in four countries, attended four mechanism meetings and many activities, displaying once again his “Keqiang rhythm” in a tightly scheduled itinerary.
The trip not only brought pragmatic cooperation among the countries, but also strengthened the relationships.
From the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) prime ministers’ meeting to the third regular meeting between China and Kazakhstan’s prime ministers, the fifth summit of China and CEE countries (16+1) and the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting, this trip included the most regular meetings for the Premier.
Regular meetings between government leaders not only guarantee smooth communication among countries, but also help leaders set up good working relations. In September, when Premier Li visited Canada, the two countries also started an annual prime minister dialogue mechanism.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of SCO, and the fifth year for the 16+1 cooperation mechanism. Regular meetings promote healthy development of the cooperation mechanism and will bring forth positive influence to the countries involved.
As the four visiting countries are all located in the Eurasian continent, and are important countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, strengthening cooperation with China is a practical need and win-win choice. Therefore, cooperation was the keyword of the Premier’s trip.
In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, SCO member countries approved the List of Events for Further Development of Project Activities in the Framework of SCO 2017-2021, providing more drivers for cooperation on security and the economy.
In Astana, Kazakhstan, during his less than 24 hours there, Premier Li and his Kazakh counterpart, Bakytzhan Sagintayev, saw the launching ceremony for the China-Kazakhstan production capacity projects via video link.
In Riga, Latvia, Premier Li helped promote some of Europe’s infrastructure projects such as Rail Baltica, a trans-European railway linking Riga and Berlin, and the construction of ports and a logistics park under the framework of a three-sea harbor district cooperation initiative. As the Premier said, China-CEE cooperation will be as valuable as diamonds.
In St. Petersburg, China and Russia signed several agreements, expanding cooperation in infrastructures, energy, small and medium-sized enterprises, finance and agriculture.
Over a tight schedule, Premier Li still held meetings with leaders from more than 10 countries. In addition to old friends such as Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the Premier also met with leaders who were new to their positions, including his Polish counterpart, Beata Szydlo, and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
Discussing cooperation and promoting development, the exchanges among top officials added new drivers to the development of bilateral relations.
Premier Li also received a gift, a Chinese-Latvian dictionary, from Latvian Sinologist Andrejs Pildegovichs. In return, the Premier promised that in the next 10 years, China will invite 1,000 teenagers from CEE countries to study in China.