China appreciates Estonia's participation in Belt and Road initiative, pledging to enhance economic ties
TALLINN — Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli has expressed appreciation for Estonia's support and participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, calling on both sides to fully tap the potentials to step up economic and trade cooperation.
Zhang made the remarks while meeting with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Thursday evening in Tallinn, capital of the Baltic country.
Estonia is an important country by the Baltic Sea and an important partner of China in the Central and Eastern Europe, Zhang told Kaljulaid.
"China hopes the two countries can integrate each other's development strategies so as to add new impetus into the bilateral cooperation," Zhang said.
He called on both sides to fully explore cooperation potentials in the areas of infrastructure construction, production capacity, equipment manufacturing, agriculture and information technology in order to step up the bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Zhang said China is willing to discuss with Estonia the possibility to cooperate on the Rail Baltic, an international rail connection that will connect Estonia with Central and Western Europe and its neighbors.
China attaches great importance to the relations with Estonia, said the vice premier. The two countries celebrated 25th anniversary of forging diplomatic ties last year, marking that the bilateral ties have entered a new stage of steady and mature growth, he added.
China would like to further cement traditional friendship with Estonia, enhance mutual trust, expand two-way cooperation so as to lift the relationship to a new height, Zhang said.
For her part, Kaljulaid said her country pays great importance to the exchanges with China at various levels under the "16+1" cooperation mechanism.
The "16+1" refers to China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries.
Estonia would like to take the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative to expand its economic cooperation with China, she said.
Estonia will take the rotating EU presidency in the second half of 2017. Zhang said China firmly supports the European integration and hopes Kaljulaid and her country can exert active influence within the European Union (EU) so as to promote China-EU relations.
Kaljulaid said it is in line with both sides' interests that the EU conducts free trade with more partners. Estonia is committed to forging ahead EU-China ties, she added.
She also expressed her willingness to visit China at an early date and confidence in a brighter future of Estonia-China cooperation.
On Thursday night, Zhang also held talks with Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas, calling on both countries to boost high-level exchanges and cooperation in areas including transportation and logistics, agriculture, culture and tourism.
He reaffirmed that China will continue its reform and opening up policy featuring mutual benefit and win-win results.
Ratas noted that the two countries' economic ties now are the closest ever in history, expressing willingness to deepen bilateral cooperation in areas of economy and trade, transportation, logistics and third-party market.
Estonia hopes to welcome more Chinese tourists, Ratas added.
Zhang arrived in Tallinn Thursday afternoon from Moscow for a two-day visit. This is the second leg of his nine-day visit to five Eurasia countries. The trip will also take him to Slovenia, Albania and Kazakhstan.