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Premier urges stronger EU relationship

By MO JINGXI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-04-23 08:42
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Bilateral China-EU trade reached 1.31 trillion yuan ($205 billion) in the first three months, up 10.2 percent year-on-year. [Photo/VCG]

Li also promises Sri Lanka assistance amid island nation's economic crisis

Premier Li Keqiang called on China and the European Union to send out signals to promote a steadily developing China-EU relationship and proactive cooperation as he spoke via phone with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Friday.

It is important for China and the EU to maintain two-way opening-up and cooperation and enhance communications at a time when the international and regional situation is undergoing complicated changes and economic globalization is facing headwinds, Li said.

He said that China and the EU, which are important trading partners for each other, should work to ensure their unimpeded two-way flow of goods to guarantee the stability of industrial and supply chains and to safeguard food and energy security.

Bilateral China-EU trade reached 1.31 trillion yuan ($205 billion) in the first three months, up 10.2 percent year-on-year, according to the latest data released by Chinese Customs.

Noting that China will remain committed to opening-up and deepening cooperation on bilateral, multilateral and international levels, Li said that enterprises from all countries including Austria are always welcomed to invest and prosper in the open and huge Chinese market.

Speaking on Sino-Austrian ties, Li said that the two countries have overcome differences in terms of social systems, cultures and stages of development and constantly deepened cooperation over the past 51 years since their establishment of diplomatic relations.

China stands ready to work with Austria to strengthen dialogue and communication and deepen pragmatic cooperation in all fields so as to bring forward the development of the bilateral relationship in a sound and stable way, he said.

Nehammer said his country cherishes its relations with China, follows the one-China principle and is willing to continue to deepen cooperation with China to further develop their friendly strategic partnership.

Austria supports the EU and China enhancing dialogue and communication to continuously promote the EU-China relationship, he said.

Li and Nehammer also exchanged views on the Ukraine situation. Li said that all parties should work jointly to call on related parties to achieve a ceasefire through negotiations, in particular to prevent the occurrence of a humanitarian crisis on a larger scale.

On Friday, Li also held a phone conversation with Mahinda Rajapaksa, prime minister of Sri Lanka, as the South Asian nation is currently undergoing a major economic crisis.

Li said that China fully understands the difficulties and challenges faced by Sri Lanka and is willing to provide, within its ability, any assistance urgently needed by the country to improve people's well-being.

China stands ready to play a constructive role in steadily promoting Sri Lanka's economic and social development on the premise of abiding by the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and with respect for Sri Lanka's wishes, Li said.

The premier said that China supports efforts to continue to promote bilateral cooperation projects and hopes that the two sides will start negotiations on the signing of a free-trade agreement at an early date.

Rajapaksa expressed appreciation for the urgent humanitarian assistance provided by the Chinese side and praised China's strong support for Sri Lanka when it faces difficulties.

His country is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in such areas as finance, trade and tourism to advance the negotiation process of a bilateral FTA and to constantly deepen Sri Lanka-China cooperation, he said.

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