Rail pact signed with Hun­gary and Ser­bia

BEL­GRADE-BU­DAPEST HIGH-SPEED LINE PART OF GREATER COL­LAB­O­RA­TION WITH CEN­TRAL AND EAST­ERN EUROPE

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the Ser­bian sec­tion.

Both agree­ments were fi­nal­ized on Nov 24 and wit­nessed by Premier Li Ke­qiang and Hun­gar­ian Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban.

Con­struc­tion of the rail­way will be­gin this year and is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in two years, Li told an eco­nomic and trade fo­rum at the fourth Sum­mit of China and Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Coun­tries in Suzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, on Nov 24.

In 2013, China signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Ser­bia and Hun­gary to jointly build and up­date the rail­way. All three agreed on ini­tial project last year to con­vert the cur­rent Bel­grade-Bu­dapest line into a high-speed rail­way.

Dur­ing the fo­rum in Suzhou, Li called for an ac­cel­er­a­tion of con­nec­tiv­ity projects to link de­vel­op­ment of re­gional trans­porta­tion and In­ter­net in­fra­struc­ture with China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

He said his coun­try is also will­ing to in­vest in the con­struc­tion and up­grad­ing of in­fra­struc­ture in port ar­eas of the Baltic Sea, the Adri­atic Sea and the Black Sea, to boost co­op­er­a­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity.

Mean­while, China will sup­port Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries in in­dus­trial up­grad­ing with its ad­vanced ca­pac­ity in au­to­mo­biles, steel, ship­build­ing, port equip­ment and engi­neer­ing ma­chin­ery, Li said, adding: “As long as CEE coun­tries use prod­ucts and equip­ment made by China, China will pro­vide fi­nanc­ing sup­port.”

Ac­cord­ing to the premier, China is likely to in­vest more than $1 tril­lion over­seas in the next five years. He said the coun­try would also prob­a­bly im­port com­modi­ties worth more than $10 tril­lion dur­ing this pe­riod.

Al­though China’s eco­nomic growth has slowed, growth vol­ume is in­creas­ing an­nu­ally, Li said at the meet­ing. He said as long as China’s an­nual eco­nomic growth re­mains above 6.5 per­cent over the next few years, it would get close to the tar­get of be­com­ing a high-in­come coun­try by 2020.

This will pro­vide more op­por­tu­ni­ties for the world, in­clud­ing Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, he said. The vol­ume of trade be­tween China and th­ese na­tions set sev­eral records last year, he said, adding that Chi­nese trade with th­ese coun­tries ex­ceeded $60 bil­lion.

The premier sug­gested that China and Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries strengthen co­op­er­a­tion on con­nec­tiv­ity projects, on which China holds tech­no­log­i­cal and cost ad­van­tages.

At the lead­ers’ meet­ing, both sides will ad­vance the China-Europe land­sea ex­press route, Li said. He said China can help Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean coun­tries with fund­ing prob­lems to up­grade in­fra­struc­ture in fields such as trans­porta­tion, elec­tric­ity and in­dus­trial equip­ment.

WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Premier Li Ke­qiang and most of the lead­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Fourth Sum­mit of China and Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Coun­tries (16+1) on Nov 25 in front of the high-speed train they took from Suzhou, Jiangsu prov­ince, to Shang­hai.

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