During a visit to Bulgaria and the seventh leaders’ meeting of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries from July 6 to 7, Premier Li Keqiang took time to meet with each country’s leader despite his busy schedule.
On the conference table in front of him was a pocket-size silver clock, to remind him when to meet another counterpart.
The length of each bilateral meeting was the same, regardless of their economic power or population.
A tight agenda needs considerate arrangement of every procedure. When a meeting was about to be over, the next representative would come to wait in the room across. In the interval between two meetings, service staff would rapidly change the nameplates, tea and flags. To save time, all meetings adopted simultaneous interpretation.
During these efficient and fast-paced meetings, Premier Li always invited the other side to talk first, showing respect to each state leader.
Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said Macedonia, although a small country, is willing to be a good friend of China.
Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said he knew Premier Li’s time is precious, so he would like to come straight to the point.
“In each China-CEEC leaders meeting, you would meet with over a dozen state leaders with fresh energy and unique insight,” Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said to Premier Li. “You have made a great contribution to 16+1 cooperation.”
“China has always pushed forward 16+1 cooperation with mutual respect and equality as principles,” the Premier said, “especially in such a changing world, we should stick to peaceful coexistence and harmony.”
After each meeting, Premier Li would discuss things with accompanying ministers and assign tasks in the five-minute interval.
At the same time, the staff sped around another room with 45 flagpoles, changing flags in record time for the next meeting.