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Highlights from Premier Li’s trips abroad in 2016

Updated: Feb 2,2017 9:15 AM

In 2016, Premier Li Keqiang flew to many regions around the world to attend international meetings and pay official visits to some countries.

Premier Li’s visits witnessed diplomatic achievements, and the following are some of the highlights from his visits.

1. 11th Asia-Europe Meeting and official visit to Mongolia

Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Time: July 13-16

Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech during the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, saying that as ASEM began its third decade, all members should bear in mind the mission of building a new type of comprehensive partnership.

On July 14, Premier Li Keqiang and Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat held a meeting at the Mongolian Government Palace in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

The two sides signed more than 10 cooperation agreements ranging from economy, trade, energy, infrastructure, finance, climate change, and radio & television. The agreements will further enrich the China-Mongolia comprehensive strategic partnership.

China is willing to work with Mongolia to strengthen Asia-Europe cooperation, Premier Li Keqiang said while meeting with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in Ulaanbaatar, on July 14.

2. East Asia meetings and official visit to Laos

Location: Vientiane, Laos

Time: Sept 6-9

Premier Li Keqiang took a four-day trip to Laos, where he attended meetings of the 19th China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders’ meeting, a summit marking the 25th anniversary of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN, the 19th ASEAN-China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting, and the 11th East Asia Summit.

While addressing the East Asian Summit on Sept 8, Premier Li described the East Asia region as a land “far from conflicts and a bonanza for trade and investment,” adding that such a desirable situation is hard-earned and should be treasured by all countries.

At the 19th summit of ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea), Premier Li made a six-pronged proposal on the mechanism’s development to consolidate its role as the main channel of regional integration.

Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in East Asia during the 11th East Asia Summit on Sept 8.

He quoted an old Laotian saying, “A fence cannot be built with a single stake, and a village cannot achieve happiness without villagers’ joint efforts,” adding that he hopes all parties can push forward cooperation and promote regional peace and prosperity.

Premier Li Keqiang met with Thongloun Sisoulith, the prime minister of Laos, and witnessed the signing of more than 20 cooperation agreements covering industries such as manufacturing, trade, investment, technology and education.

3. Premier Li attends UN meetings, visits Canada and Cuba

From Sept 18 to 28, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 71st session of the UN General Assembly and paid official visits to Canada and Cuba.

Highlights of Premier’s visit to United Nations

Location: UN headquarters, New York

Time: Sept 18-21

During his first visit to UN headquarters, Premier Li Keqiang put forward proposals concerning some of the most pressing challenges facing the world and stressed peace and development as key to addressing the challenges.

-$100 million in additional humanitarian aid by China to help solve the refugee crisis in parts of the world

- Additional $100 million in annual aid to UN development agencies by 2020 on top of the amount pledged in 2015

- China’s donation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will reach $18 million in the next three years.

On the sidelines of UN conferences, the Premier met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and held talks with leaders from the United States, France, New Zealand and Pakistan.

The Premier also had close face-to-face interactions with local business groups, prominent personalities and the media, including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Official visit to Canada

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Time: Sept 21-24

During Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to Canada, China and Canada agreed to strengthen their ties in economic, trade and other fields, and to begin exploratory talks for a potential free trade agreement.

The two sides decided to:

-Initiate exploratory talks on a free trade area

-Share and return forfeited assets taken abroad by fugitive former officials, in China’s first agreement on asset recovery, considered to be a milestone in China’s international judicial cooperation

-Import Canadian bone-in beef

-Draft a joint plan for Canadian canola seed exports to China

-Collaborate on joint research, training and seminars to address the challenges of China’s aging population

Official visit to Cuba

Location: Havana, Cuba

Time: Sept 24-26

During his first official visit to Cuba, Premier Li and Cuban President Raul Castro witnessed the signing of about 20 cooperative agreements in areas including economic technology, finance, production capacity, telecommunications, environmental protection, and inspection and quarantine.

4. Premier Li visits Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Russia

Premier Li Keqiang paid official visits to Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Russia from Nov 2 to 9.

The Premier also attended the 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) prime ministers’ meeting, 5th Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries, and regular prime ministers’ meetings during those visits.

Meeting with Kyrgyz prime minister

Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Time: Nov 2

Premier Li Keqiang and Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov signed a joint communiqué between the Chinese and Kyrgyz governments.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation contracts in several fields, including economy, technology, production capacity, transportation, agriculture and intellectual property.

Meeting with Kazakh prime minister

Location: Astana, Kazakhstan

Time: Nov 3

Premier Li pledged to better align China’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with Kazakhstan’s new economic policy of Bright Road to usher in a new phase of bilateral cooperation during a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart, Bakytzhan Sagintayev.

15th Shanghai Cooperation Organization prime ministers’ meeting

Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Time: Nov 3

The Premier submitted six proposals on how SCO should cope with changes in the current global situation and join hands to achieve common development and long-term regional stability.

Meeting with Latvian prime minister

Location: Riga, Latvia

Time: Nov 4

Premier Li and Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements in such areas as economy, trade, transportation and culture.

5th Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries

Location: Riga, Latvia

Time: Nov 5

Participants at the summit jointly formulated and issued, based on the theme of “Connectivity, Innovation, Inclusiveness and Common Development”, the Riga Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, with a view to enhancing existing cooperation and fostering cooperation in new areas, such as trade and investment, industry, energy, science and technology, finance, agriculture, forestry, people-to-people exchanges, and health.

Meeting with Russian prime minister

Location: Moscow, Russia

Time: Nov 8

Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a joint statement and released a joint declaration on expanding the peaceful utilization of nuclear power strategic cooperation.

They also witnessed the signing of over 20 cooperative agreements in fields such as trade, investment, finance, civilian nuclear power, high-tech, joint border inspections, education and culture.