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China, Latvia agree to expand cooperation
Last Updated: 2016-11-05 05:00 | Xinhua
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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) meets with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis in Riga, Latvia, Nov. 4, 2016. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met here Friday with Latvia's president and parliament speaker respectively, pledging to further promote bilateral cooperation in various areas.

Li is currently in the Baltic country for an official visit and a leaders' meeting on Saturday within what is known as the 16+1 framework, which groups China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) nations.

While meeting with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, Li described Latvia as a good friend and partner in the Baltic region, and expressed the hope that the two sides will take the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic ties as an opportunity to further deepen bilateral cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equality, so as to benefit both peoples.

China, he added, is willing to align its development strategies with Latvia's, deepen bilateral cooperation in connectivity, trade and infrastructure construction, and enhance people-to-people exchanges in areas like tourism and education.

The Chinese premier also called for more cooperation within the 16+1 framework, so as to bring common development to both countries as well as other countries in the region.

Vejonis said that China is an important cooperation partner for his country, and that bilateral cooperation still harbors great potential on top of the already fruitful achievements.

Latvia looks forward to enhancing cooperation with China in transportation, innovation, logistics and agriculture, and welcomes more Chinese investment, he said, adding that his country expects the upcoming 16+1 meeting to be a success.

During the meeting with Latvian Parliament Speaker Inara Murniece, Li urged concerted efforts to promote exchanges between the two countries' legislatures and political parties and enhance people-to-people exchanges through cultural and sports activities.

He expressed appreciation for Latvia's positive role in China-CEE cooperation, saying China will work with all sides concerned to make good use of the 16+1 mechanism and tap cooperation potential for mutual benefits and win-win results.

Murniece said the Latvian parliament will expand exchanges with the Chinese side to contribute to bilateral political, economic and cultural relations as well as 16+1 cooperation.

Li's trip marks the first time for a Chinese premier to visit Latvia since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Baltic country is the third leg of his ongoing eight-day Eurasia tour, which has already taken him to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and will conclude in Russia.

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