Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday leaves for Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Russia for a week-long trip aimed at promoting China's relations with the four countries, boosting development of regional mechanisms and enhancing cooperation in production capacity.
During the visit, he will also attend the 15th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek and the fifth leaders' meeting of China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries in the Latvian capital of Riga.
As the four countries are all located along the ancient Silk Road, analysts believe Li's Eurasia tour will boost the joint implementation of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient routes.
ENHANCING MUTUAL TRUST
Regular bilateral and multilateral meetings will highlight Li's visit. Such arrangements are of great significance as they help enhance strategic mutual trust between China and the relevant countries and regions, ensure a systematic and steady policy implementation, and beef up bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Sun Zhuangzhi, secretary-general of the SCO Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the China-Russia premiers' regular meetings, which focus on specific projects, are crucial to bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Held on an annual basis, such high-level direct talks help resolve issues in bilateral economic and trade cooperation in a timely manner, and provide platforms for one-on-one cooperation between government departments of the two countries, particularly in economic and cultural fields, Sun said.
The Chinese expert deems China's cooperation with the four countries as exemplary, creative and pioneering, adding that China's cooperation with them will better support the construction of the Belt and Road.
DEEPENING COOPERATION IN PRODUCTION CAPACITY
Production capacity cooperation is top of Li's agenda during the four-nation visit. A host of deals are expected to be signed on deepening practical cooperation.
The China-led international cooperation on production capacity has yielded initial results over the last two years.
Chen Yurong, a senior researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, praised this approach as being well-targeted and specific, citing China-Kazakhstan cooperation in manufacturing sectors such as cement and flat glass.
"It marks a new pattern of economic and trade cooperation that moves with time, by meeting partners' needs in the systemic transformation of their economies and being future-oriented at the same time," she said.
Facing the sluggish global economic recovery, China has proposed to strengthen production capacity cooperation with these countries, which in fact represents a new type of economic cooperation, Chen added.
Such a type of innovation, she said, will enable the relevant countries to tap the potential of their economies and realize sustainable development, and will meanwhile drive bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
PROMOTING REGIONAL COOPERATION
The regular leaders' meetings of the SCO and the China-CEE framework show the importance China attaches to the role of regional mechanisms as well as Beijing's determination to enhance cooperation and safeguard regional peace and stability.
As shown in the two regional mechanisms, Sun said, China develops a pattern of regional cooperation that is different from those led by the West in that it better meets the interests of the countries concerned.
The SCO and the China-CEE framework are both new types of regional cooperation initiatives, Sun said, noting that such arrangements take into full consideration the realities of the relevant countries and are intended to realize mutual benefit on the basis of equality.
Fifteen years after its founding, the China-initiated SCO has borne rich fruit, among others, in trade, security cooperation and people-to-people exchanges.
In the Central Asian region, the role of the SCO has proved irreplaceable in maintaining stability and significant to driving growth.
During his visit, Li is expected to propose more measures to deepen SCO cooperation in all fields, promote implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, increase international cooperation in production capacity and facilitate trade and investment.
CEE countries have also witnessed tangible benefits from the win-win cooperation with China and showed growing interest in further boosting collaboration with the Asian country.
During the visit, Li will seek new consensus with CEE leaders on promoting cooperation between their countries and pursuing common development.