Premier Li to start 8-day trip to Cen­tral Asia and East Europe

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUYONG QI in Bei­jing huy­

Six mem­bers of the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion will an­nounce 38 “prag­matic mea­sures” to boost co­op­er­a­tion in ar­eas like trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture, se­nior diplo­mats said on Mon­day.

The agree­ments are one high­light of an eight-day trip in which Premier Li Ke­qiang will visit Kyr­gyzs­tan, Latvia and Rus­sia.

The mea­sures are ex­pected to be signed dur­ing Li’s first stop, in Kyr­gyzs­tan, As­sis­tant For­eign Min­is­ter Li Huilai told a news con­fer­ence.

Li Ke­qiang is to at­tend the 15th meet­ing of Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion Coun­cil of Heads of Gov­ern­ment on Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day in the Kyr­gyz cap­i­tal Bishkek, ac­cord­ing to Li Huilai.

Chen Fengy­ing, a re­searcher at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said these mea­sures will help pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion within the SCO and en­hance China’s eco­nomic and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion in a key re­gion for the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

The SCO, orig­i­nally built around se­cu­rity is­sues, pro­vides away for China to co­op­er­ate with Rus­sia and five Cen­tral Asian neigh­bors in ar­eas like fight­ing ter­ror­ism, es­pe­cially af­ter the Chi­nese em­bassy in Kyr­gyzs­tan was at­tacked in Au­gust.

The re­gion’s na­tions also show a strong in­cli­na­tion to link their na­tional strate­gies with China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, Li Huilai added.

The premier is then ex­pected to at­tend the 5th Meet­ing of Heads of Gov­ern­ment of China and Cen­tral and Eastern Euro­pean Coun­tries in Riga, cap­i­tal of Latvia. The premier is ex­pected to sign agree­ments with Latvia to link the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive with Latvia’s strate­gic de­vel­op­ment and boost co­op­er­a­tion in trade, ed­u­ca­tion and peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes, As­sis­tant For­eign Min­is­ter Liu Haix­ing said.

Af­ter that, Li Ke­qiang will fly to St Peters­burg to join Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev for the 21st Reg­u­lar Meet­ing be­tween Chi­nese and Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ters. Agree­ments will be signed be­tween the two coun­tries to ex­pand achieve­ments in strate­gic ar­eas such as en­ergy, high-speed rail­ways and civil avi­a­tion de­vel­op­ment.

Cen­tral and Eastern Europe is a key link­age re­gion for the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and an es­sen­tial part of China-EU ties, said Ruan Zongze, vi­cepres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies. China can pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in en­ergy, con­nec­tiv­ity and in­fra­struc­ture with these coun­tries, he said.

“China’s co­op­er­a­tion with SCO and CEE coun­tries have pro­duced fruit­ful re­sults and both sides should take Li’s visit as a new chance to help re­in­force part­ner­ships that boost global peace and eco­nomic re­cov­ery,” Ruan said.

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