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Li's visit injects fresh impetus to China-Latvia cooperation

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-05 07:21
Li's visit injects fresh impetus to China-Latvia cooperation

Premier Li Keqiang arrives in Riga on Nov 4 for an official visit to Latvia. [Photo/provided to]

RIGA -- China-Latvia relations are set to leap forward as visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his hosts have all expressed strong interest in further boosting bilateral practical cooperation in various fields.

"China is willing to deepen pragmatic cooperation with Latvia in all spheres for mutual benefits and win-win results," Li said when holding talks in Riga on Friday with his Latvian counterpart, Maris Kucinskis.

In separate meetings with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Parliament Speaker Inara Murniece, the Chinese premier also conveyed the message.

Leaders of the Baltic country offered warm and heartening responses.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Latvia. Li's trip also marks the first time for a Chinese premier to visit Latvia since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

During the talks with Kucinskis, Li said China regards Latvia as an important transit station for China-EU trade, and stands ready to participate in major infrastructure projects including Rail Baltica and the three-sea harbor district cooperation initiative, citing the nation's cost-effective equipment and rich experience in railway and port construction.

The three-sea harbor initiative refers to cooperation programs concerning the Adriatic Sea, the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, proposed by Li during the fourth leaders' meeting between China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, which was held in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou last year.

Li described Latvia as China's good friend in the Baltic area and an important partner of cooperation in the CEE region and broader Europe.

The two nations have enjoyed growing bilateral political mutual trust, deeper practical cooperation and closer people-to-people exchanges in the past 25 years, Li said.

He vowed to promote exchanges at different levels and further lift bilateral ties on the basis of mutual respect and equality.

For his part, Kucinskis said the two countries have seen smooth cooperation in the past 25 years and bilateral relations are at a record high.

He said Latvia wants to be a reliable cooperation partner of China, supporting and participating in China's Belt and Road Initiative and promoting pragmatic cooperation in infrastructure, transportation, logistics, clean oil refining, tourism, education and farm products.

He also promised to offer a stable environment for Chinese investment and become a portal for Chinese businesses to enter the CEE market.

While meeting with Vejonis, Li said China is willing to align its development strategies with Latvia's, deepen bilateral cooperation in connectivity, trade and infrastructure construction, and enhance people-to-people exchanges in areas like tourism and education.

The Chinese premier also called for more cooperation within the 16+1 framework, so as to bring common development to both countries as well as other countries in the region.

Vejonis said that China is an important cooperation partner for his country, and that bilateral cooperation still harbors great potential on top of the already fruitful achievements.

Latvia looks forward to enhancing cooperation with China in transportation, innovation, logistics and agriculture, and welcomes more Chinese investment, he said, adding that his country expects the fifth 16+1 meeting, slated for Saturday, to be a success.

During the meeting with Murniece, Li urged concerted efforts to promote exchanges between the two countries' legislatures and political parties and enhance people-to-people exchanges through cultural and sports activities.

Murniece said the Latvian parliament will expand exchanges with the Chinese side to contribute to bilateral political, economic and cultural relations as well as 16+1 cooperation.

Also on Friday, the two countries signed a series of bilateral cooperation documents in trade, transportation and culture.

As China-Latvia cooperation has entered a key phase of quality upgrading, Li's visit is set to cement bilateral consensus and chart the course for the future development of bilateral relations, said Chinese ambassador to Latvia Huang Yong in a signed article published ahead of the trip.

Latvia is the third leg of Li's ongoing eight-day Eurasia tour, which has already taken him to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and will conclude in Russia.

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