SOFIA — Premier Li Keqiang and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov on July 6 agreed to consolidate political mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation in order to promote bilateral relations to a new level.
Premier Li met with Borissov in the morning in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, the first leg of his weeklong trip to Europe. It marks Premier Li’s first tour to Bulgaria after taking office, and also the first visit to Bulgaria by a Chinese premier in 18 years.
After the meeting, the two sides issued a joint communique, in which they highly valued the development of bilateral ties in recent years and pledged to enhance cooperation in such areas as infrastructure construction, agriculture, tourism, new technologies, innovation and renewable energy.
During their meeting, Premier Li said China and Bulgaria enjoyed deep-rooted traditional friendship which has become even stronger and vigorous.
China is willing to work with Bulgaria to take the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations next year as a new starting point to maintain high-level contacts, consolidate political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and increase converging interests so as to promote bilateral relations to a new level, Premier Li said.
The Premier expressed the hope that the two countries would increase exchanges at various levels, support each other on issues concerning the other’s core interests and major concerns, accelerate synergizing their development strategies, expand trade and investment, develop cooperation in agriculture and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.
Premier Li underlined that cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) is an important part and useful complement to China-EU cooperation and is in line with China-EU relations.
China firmly supports European integration and is willing to see a united, stable and developing European Union, Premier Li said, adding that China appreciates Bulgaria’s support for the 16+1 cooperation and active participation in the mechanism.
China is willing to work with the CEEC including Bulgaria to promote stable development of the 16+1 cooperation, Premier Li said.
He expressed the hope that as an important member state of the European Union, Bulgaria will play a positive role in promoting the healthy development of China-EU relations and in facilitating the sound interaction between China-EU cooperation and 16+1 cooperation.
For his part, Borissov said China and Bulgaria have been developing bilateral ties on economy and trade, people-to-people exchanges, education and culture through the platform of the 16+1 cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
Bulgaria is willing to enhance cooperation with China in infrastructure construction such as highways, ports and airports, Borissov said.
Bulgaria expects to show to the world through the leaders’ meeting of China and CEEC that 16+1 cooperation mechanism is not a geopolitical platform, instead it is mutually beneficial cooperation based on market rules which is conducive to promoting cooperation between the EU and CEEC, he added.
The two leaders also exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual concern. They witnessed the signing of a series of bilateral cooperation documents after their meeting.
Premier Li arrived in Bulgaria on July 5 for an official visit to the European country, and will attend the seventh leaders’ meeting of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries.