Rail pact signed with Hungary and Serbia
BELGRADE-BUDAPEST HIGH-SPEED LINE PART OF GREATER COLLABORATION WITH CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
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.
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.