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Li's trip aims for economic integration

By Xu Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-29 10:15
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Premier set for bilateral, multilateral meetings in Uzbekistan, Thailand

Premier Li Keqiang is expected to promote regional economic integration and bolster support for the multilateral trade system in his upcoming visit to Uzbekistan and Thailand, senior officials said on Monday.

Li will make official visits to the two nations and attend multilateral meetings in Tashkent and Bangkok on the five-day trip, which starts on Friday.

Chen Xiaodong, assistant foreign minister, said at a news briefing that China looks forward to advancing pragmatic cooperation and deepening bilateral ties in the upcoming visit.

The premier will attend the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Tashkent. In Bangkok, he will attend meetings with regional groups such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including the 22nd China-ASEAN leaders' meeting; the 22nd ASEANChina, Japan and Republic of Korea leaders' meeting; and the 14th East Asia Summit.

At the SCO meeting, Li will work with leaders from member states to carry out the outcomes of the SCO summit that was held in June in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, promote unity and mutual trust and enhance cooperation in jointly building the Belt and Road, Chen said.

China looks forward to the multilateral meetings in Bangkok to focus on pragmatic cooperation, jointly cope with the downward pressure of the economy and increase the momentum for growth in East Asia, he said.

Chen also expressed Beijing's hope that the meetings will focus on multilateralism and free trade, promote economic integration at an even higher level and enable exchanges of views on regional and hot issues in a constructive manner.

He said China expected a number of outcomes from the 22nd China-ASEAN leaders' meeting, which may issue a joint statement on a strategic partnership between the two sides as well as alignment between the BRI and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.

An initiative on cooperation in developing smart cities and the establishment of a blue economic partnership focusing on oceans is in the pipeline as well, he added.

In Bangkok, Li also is expected to attend the third leaders' meeting on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement among 16 nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Li Chenggang, assistant minister of commerce, said at the news briefing that RCEP negotiations have seen remarkable progress, and all parties involved are making all-out efforts to finalize the remaining issues.

This will be Li's first official visit to Uzbekistan, and the two sides are set to sign cooperative agreements covering areas such as investment, e-commerce, production capacity and infrastructure. In Bangkok, Li will seek closer cooperation with Thailand in trade, investment, infrastructure, science and technology as well as the digital economy.

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