Chinese premier meets Albanian, Slovenian, Macedonian PMs to boost cooperation

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Riga, Latvia, Nov. 4, 2016. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met respectively with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Macedonian Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev in Riga on Friday, vowing to expand China's cooperation with the three Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

The prime ministers are in the Latvian capital to attend a meeting of the heads of government of China and 16 CEE countries that is to be held on Saturday.

During the meeting with Rama, Li said China encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Albania based on market-oriented principles and conduct cooperation on water conservancy, energy and infrastructure construction.

Hailing the progress made in major projects over recent years, Li called on the two countries to further enhance win-win cooperation within what is popularly known as the 16+1 framework.

Rama said Albania and China have carried out smooth cooperation in the areas of infrastructure construction, oil and gas, water resources and tourism, which has opened up new areas for future cooperation.

He said Albania is looking forward to good results from 16+1 cooperation and will continue to help push it forward.

During the meeting with Cerar, Li said China is willing to further promote China-Slovenia friendly ties and practical cooperation.

He called on the two countries to synergize their development strategies, and expand cooperation on civil aviation, sports and tourism.

Cerar spoke highly of the achievements scored in bilateral trade and cultural exchanges, adding that Slovenia is ready to work with China to maintain high-level exchanges, deepen bilateral and 16+1 cooperation, and further enhance people-to-people and sports exchanges.

During the meeting with Dimitriev, Li said Beijing encourages Chinese enterprises to participate in highway and railway construction in Macedonia.

He also called for more people-to-people exchanges and closer cooperation in such areas as the traditional Chinese medicine and finance so as to benefit the people of both countries.

Dimitriev said Macedonia-China trade cooperation has boosted his country's economic development.

Macedonia would like to further step up mutually beneficial cooperation and cultural exchanges with China, said Dimitriev, adding that the Balkan country welcomes more investment from Chinese enterprises in its infrastructure construction.

Li arrived in the Baltic country of Latvia on Friday morning, continuing an eight-day Eurasia tour that has already taken him to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

This is the first time for a Chinese premier to visit Latvia since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is also the first time for a Baltic country to host a 16+1 leaders' meeting since the mechanism was initiated in 2012.

The trip will also take the Chinese premier to Russia.

Editor: Li Jing
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