BUDAPEST — Premier Li Keqiang pledged to expand cooperation in various fields with Serbia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Nov 28 on the sidelines of a meeting of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC).
In a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, Premier Li said that under a comprehensive strategic partnership, China and Serbia have achieved fruitful win-win cooperation in many fields.
The Hungary-Serbia railway, for instance, has seen a “major progress” on Nov 27 with the start of construction from Belgrade to Stara Pazova in Serbia, Premier Li noted.
The Premier said he hopes the design work for the Novi Sad to Subotica section in Serbia would speed up, so as to complete the flagship project of 16+1 cooperation at an early date and inject impetus into the construction of China-Europe land-sea express line and into regional connectivity.
The Hungary-Serbia railway will connect Budapest with Belgrade, with a total length of 350 km, reducing traveling time between the two capitals from eight hours to three hours.
Meanwhile, China stands ready to work with Belgrade to push for such infrastructure and industrial cooperation projects as road, steel plant and industrial parks, as well as extend the industrial chain to achieve win-win results, he said.
For her part, Brnabic thanked for China’s support for the Serbian economy and called bilateral cooperation results “outstanding” in 16+1 cooperation.
The Serbian side is willing to work with Beijing to jointly speed up the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway and conduct cooperation in such fields as industrial parks, e-commerce and logistics, she said.
Belgrade welcomes Chinese firms to take part in its transportation and infrastructure construction, and hopes for the opening of direct flights at an early date to promote tourism and people-to-people exchanges, she added.
On the same day, Premier Li also met with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, expressing his hope that both countries would work together to make full use of the 16+1 platform to bolster China-CEEC cooperation and China-EU cooperation.
China is satisfied with the rapid growth of bilateral ties, the Premier said, noting that the two countries have witnessed many outcomes of agricultural, tourism, research cooperation.
China is ready to import competitive agricultural products from Slovenia, support more Chinese tourists to go to the Central European country, and help Chinese firms to participate in car manufacturing in Slovenia, and people-to-people exchanges to further expand bilateral cooperation.
Cerar, for his part, said the two countries have maintained friendly relations and achieved remarkable progress in economy and trade cooperation.
Slovenia is willing to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, automobile, tourism, aviation, scientific research, education and winter sports, increase the added value of their cooperation, and expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, he said.
Slovenia appreciates China’s proposals to promote 16+1 cooperation and stands ready to partner with Beijing to promote CEEC’s or even the EU’s cooperation with China, he added.
Premier Li also met with Denis Zvizdic, BiH Chairman of Council of Ministers.
Noting the continuous growth of practical bilateral cooperation, Premier Li said his country would work together with BiH to maintain high-level contact, promote bilateral ties and facilitate cooperation.
China eyes to speed up energy cooperation, a pillar of their practical cooperation, and hopes to facilitate such energy projects as power plants, Premier Li said.
The two countries should also deepen cooperation in infrastructure, make use of BiH’s location advantage to facilitate cooperation between China and the Balkan region, expand cooperation in agricultural product processing and equipment manufacturing, he said.
Moreover, the two countries should step up cooperation on people-to-people exchanges and tourism, given the opportunity presented by the visa-exempt agreement signed during the 16+1 meeting.
Stressing that developing ties with China is a critical part of his country’s diplomacy, Zvizdic said the BiH government attaches great importance to cooperation with China and win-win cooperation under the 16+1 mechanism.
The country is ready to implement the consensus reached so far, and push ahead with cooperation in interconnectivity, transportation infrastructure, power plant, agriculture, tourism, and culture.
Premier Li arrived in Budapest on Nov 26 for the sixth meeting of heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries and an official visit to Hungary.