Foreign Affairs
Chinese premier concludes Romania trip with enhanced ties
Last Updated: 2013-11-29 08:08 | Xinhua
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wrapped up his Romania visit Thursday, after meeting with top Romanian politicians over bilateral cooperation and sitting down with leaders of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries for an annual summit.

His tightly scheduled trip, which included a round-table leaders' meeting with the CEE leaders and a trade forum, also saw a number of documents signed between China and CEE countries, including an agreement to build a railway linking Budapest and Belgrade.

His next stop will be the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, where he will attend the 12th prime ministers' meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


Li arrived in Bucharest on Monday afternoon for his first visit to the Central and Eastern Europe since he took office in March. It is also the first visit to Romania by a Chinese premier in nearly two decades.

He was greeted at the airport by his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta, who later co-chaired the China-CEE leaders' meeting held here on Tuesday. In a joint statement issued later in the day, China and Romania see their partnership is exemplary for inter-state relations.

Noting that this is the first time that Romania staged a welcome ceremony at the airport for a foreign guest in 20 years, Cui Hongjian, director of the European Department at the China Institute of International Studies, said the reception has shown the great importance Romania has attached to its relations with China.

"And you see that Romania has acted very positively throughout Li's trip...which contributed to a very fruitful visit," Cui said.

On Wednesday, the Chinese premier met with Romanian President Traian Basescu, to whom he described his visit to Romania as an endeavor to consolidate the two countries' traditional friendship and promote their practical cooperation.

China stands ready to deepen practical cooperation with Romania in such fields as trade, investment and infrastructure, expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, strengthen communication and coordination on global and regional affairs and broaden common interests to benefit both peoples, Li said.

Located in the northeast of the Balkan Peninsula, Romania is the eastern gate to EU. The eastern European country was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC). Bilateral trade between China and Romania in 2012 amounted to 3.78 billion U.S. dollars, compared with merely 3 million dollars in 2000.

Next year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and the 10th year of their partnership.

Comparing the China-Romania ties to a ship that has survived the storm of challenges over time and is sailing toward a bright future, Li said both sides need to find matching development strategies, deepen practical cooperation and secure their traditional friendship to steer the ship far and steady when addressing a full audience in the Parliament Palace on Wednesday afternoon.

"I believe that China-Romania cooperation could become a model for the cooperation between China and central and eastern European countries, which will in turn inject new impetus into development of China-Europe relations," Li said.


Speaking at the Romanian Parliament, Li outlined a four-point proposal to reinforce China-Romania ties.

First, the two sides should respect each other, take care of each other's major concerns and expand the converging points of their interests, said Li, adding that the two countries should create new prospect for bilateral ties by taking the chance of the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Romania diplomatic ties next year.

Second, efforts should be made to expand bilateral trade, lift industrial cooperation level and promote balanced trade development.

Li proposed the two countries can jointly build an economic and technological park to create favorable conditions for bilateral investment.

Third, both sides should improve cooperation by creating large cooperation projects.

China has advanced equipment and manufacturing capacities in many sectors. Cooperation between China and Romania in those areas could bring about mutual benefit and win-win results, said Li, expressing the willingness to joint hands with Romania in strengthening cooperation in nuclear energy and high-speed railways.

China supports its enterprises to launch cooperation with Romania in infrastructure construction, said Li, adding that China is willing to work together with Romania to make tangible progress in major projects.

Fourth, China and Romania should cement and expand current cultural, educational and people-to-people exchanges to pass on China-Romania friendship to the next generation.

The two countries have agreed to cooperate on building high-speed railways in Romania on the first day of Li's visit. The two sides also reached comprehensive consensus on deepening cooperation in such fields as trade, energy and infrastructure.

Bogdan Chirieac, a renowned political analyst, said the Chinese premier's visit could be a chance for Romania.

"If the government led by Ponta takes advantage of this opportunity and fructify this visit, we would quickly get rid of the crises, if not by next year, certainly by 2015," Chirieac said.

Hailing Li's visit to Romania, President Basescu also said Li's trip could help lift China-Romania ties and China-CEE cooperation to a new stage. He said Romania is willing to expand cooperation with China in various areas and continues to play a positive role in promoting cooperation between China and CEE countries.

His words were echoed by Cui, who said enhanced China-Romania relations will set an example for bilateral relations between China and other CEE countries.

"Bilateral engagement, such as cooperation between China and Romania, would most certainly serve as a driving force for the improvement of China-CEE ties," Cui told Xinhua, adding that the visit will also deepen the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership as well.

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