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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Visit to Kazakhstan and Holding of Second Regular Meeting with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Attendance at 13th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States, Attendance at Third Meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEEC and Visit to Serbia, and Attendance at Fifth Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program

2014/12/12

On December 12, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for the Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Kazakhstan and his second regular meeting with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, his attendance at the 13th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States, his attendance at the third meeting of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) and his visit to Serbia, and his attendance at the fifth Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation Program. Vice Foreign Ministers Wang Chao and Cheng Guoping and Assistant Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen introduced relevant information and answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists.

I. On the visit to Kazakhstan and holding of the second regular meeting between Premier of China and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Cheng Guoping briefed that China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners to each other as well as important cooperative partners in the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt. The China-Kazakhstan relationship is currently in a period of rapid development. The two countries enjoy high-level political mutual trust, close high-level exchanges, and firm mutual support on major issues concerning each other's core interests. Relying on the advantage of adjacency with more than 1,700 kilometers of common border, the two sides have actively promoted cooperation in such fields as energy, economy and trade, investment, connectivity, as well as local-local and people-to-people and cultural engagement, playing an irreplaceably important role in promoting the economic and social development of the two countries and the whole region at large.

During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang will meet with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, hold small- and large-scale talks, attend signing ceremonies and jointly meet the press with Prime Minister Karim Masimov, and attend and address the plenary session of the second meeting of the China-Kazakhstan Entrepreneurs Committee. China expects to achieve three prospective goals through this visit: first, further strengthen strategic mutual trust and enhance mutual political support in the bilateral and international fields; second, comprehensively promote practical cooperation in various fields, particularly create new highlights and achieve new outcomes in such fields as energy, finance, connectivity and local-level cooperation, so as to promote the industrial and commercial circles of the two countries for broader cooperation; third, deepen cooperation in people-to-people and cultural fields such as culture, education, tourism and media, so as to reinforce the social and public opinion foundations of the China-Kazakhstan friendship.

Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Masimov will jointly sign and issue the Joint Communiqué of the Second Regular Meeting Between Premier of China and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, specifying the priority fields and key projects in the development of relations and cooperation between China and Kazakhstan. The two sides will also sign inter-governmental and inter-enterprise cooperation agreements involving such fields as energy, transportation, finance, people-to-people and cultural engagement, and local-level cooperation. It is believed that this visit will further carry forward the good neighborly and friendly relations between China and Kazakhstan, promote the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation, and deepen China's relations with Central Asian countries.

Wang Shouwen said that Kazakhstan is China's second largest trade partner in the Commonwealth of the Independent States and the largest recipient of Chinese investment in the Eurasian region while China is the second largest trade partner of Kazakhstan. The trade volume between China and Kazakhstan amounted to 28.57 billion USD in 2013, with a year-on-year increase of 11.3 percent. Under the influence of the international oil price and the market demand, the China-Kazakhstan trade this year has declined, but the fundamentals remain good. Next, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Kazakhstan will be developed in the following aspects: first, strengthen economic and trade cooperation concerning the joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt; second, maintain steady growth of the bilateral trade; third, enhance cooperation in investment of the non-resource fields; fourth, vigorously carry out cooperation in logistics and transportation; and fifth, promote economic and trade cooperation in adjacent areas and between the regions.

II. On the attendance at the 13th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States

Cheng Guoping briefed that since its establishment 13 years ago, the SCO has always adhered to the "Shanghai Spirit", taking the promotion of multilateral cooperation in security, economy, people-to-people and cultural engagement and other fields as the main line and making outstanding contributions to the maintenance of regional peace and stability as well as promotion of common development of its member states. At present, the member states share an even stronger aspiration to strengthen cooperation and deal with threats and challenges together under the SCO framework, and are all expecting in-depth discussions of the new situation and new problems as well as research on and formulation of new approaches and new measures at this meeting, so as to jointly safeguard regional security and achieve development and prosperity.

Premier Li Keqiang will attend small-and large-scale talks, document signing ceremonies and other activities, and work together with other state leaders to summarize the development of the SCO cooperation in various fields in the past year, broadly exchange views on the global and regional economic development, make an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges faced by the SCO in its development, carry out the consensus reached at the Dushanbe Summit, put forward operable suggestions for strengthening cooperation in various fields, and deploy and plan the development of the SCO in the next period in light of the current development concerns and needs as well as the cooperative status of the member states.

A Joint Communiqué will be issued at the meeting, approving a series of documents concerning the practical cooperation and mechanism construction of the SCO in the form of a resolution and witnessing the signing of cooperation documents in customs and other fields. It is believed that this meeting will further expand the connotation of the SCO cooperation and make new contributions to promoting the development and prosperity of the member states and the region.

Wang Shouwen said that the SCO has made remarkable achievements in regional economic cooperation in recent years, which are mainly reflected in the constant improvement of mechanism construction and the legal basis, continuous expansion of trade among member states in the region, and outstanding achievements in economic and technological cooperation. Through this meeting, China hopes to further promote the process of regional economic cooperation of the SCO, continue to uplift the level of trade and investment facilitation, expand trade among all member states, build a diversified investment and financing system, enhance the level of capacity building, and promote the member states to participate in the co-construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

III. On the attendance at the third meeting of Heads of Government of China and CEEC

Wang Chao briefed that China-CEEC cooperation (16+1 cooperation) is a new platform of cooperation jointly established by China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries to deepen the traditional friendship and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, and also a new measure to promote the comprehensive and balanced development of the China-Europe relationship. Since the launching of the cooperation, especially since the Bucharest Summit last November, the development momentum has kept strong, with the trade volume between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries significantly increased and the exchange activities in various fields as well as the establishment of the cooperation platform orderly pushed forward. "16+1 cooperation" is now in an important development period linking the past and the future. The theme of this meeting is "New Impetus, New Platform and New Engine", that is to say, "16+1 cooperation" will inject new impetus into the traditional friendship between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries, establish a new platform to expand mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries, and forge a new engine to deepen China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual benefits and win-win results.

At the time, Premier Li Keqiang will attend the "16+1" Leaders' Roundtable Meeting, attend and address the opening ceremony of the fourth China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum, and respectively meet with the leaders of other Central and Eastern European countries present at this Summit to discuss the possibility of China and CEEC strengthening cooperation in such fields as connectivity, trade and investment, finance, science and technology and energy, tourism, people-to-people and cultural engagement, and local contacts. The meeting will thoroughly review the implementation of the "Bucharest Outline", specify the development approach and cooperation priorities in the next period, and publish a high-level outcome document. It is believed that this visit will help to promote the "16+1 cooperation" to a new stage of higher quality and faster speed, building the "16+1 cooperation" into a new engine of the China-Europe cooperation.

Wang Shouwen said that China-CEEC economic and trade cooperation enjoys broad prospects. From January to October this year, the bilateral trade volume reached 50 billion USD, with a year-on-year increase of 10.1 percent, which is significantly greater than that of last year. Chinese enterprises have invested more than 5 billion USD in CEEC covering such fields as machinery, chemical industry and telecommunications in more diversified ways, and are now actively promoting cooperation in investment of nuclear power, thermal power and others projects. In the aspect of infrastructure construction cooperation, a group of projects regarding bridges, power stations and expressways are proceeding smoothly. The financial cooperation between the two sides is also being constantly enhanced. Multiple Chinese banks have set up branches in the local area of CEEC, and the first tranche of the China-CEEC Investment Cooperation Fund amounting to 500 million USD has been successfully put in place.

IV. On the visit to Serbia

Wang Chao briefed that China and Serbia boast traditional friendship, frequent and close high-level exchanges, consolidated political mutual trust, and fruitful achievements in practical cooperation in various fields. This visit is both Premier Li Keqiang's first visit to Serbia and the first visit to Serbia by a Chinese Premier in 28 years. It is of great significance to consolidating China-Serbia traditional friendship, enhancing the bilateral political mutual trust, planning the practical cooperation between the two countries and comprehensively deepening the China-Serbia strategic partnership.

During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang will hold talks with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and meetings with President Tomislav Nikolić respectively. Chinese Premier and Serbian Prime Minister will also jointly attend the completion ceremony of the bridge across the Danube River in Belgrade built by Chinese enterprises. The two sides will sign inter-governmental agreements and commercial contracts covering finance, investment, quality control, aviation, culture, information industry and others. Both sides will also put forward new ideas and measures on developing cooperative project models, fostering new growth points for cooperation, balancing the trade structure and increasing people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to further deepen the bilateral practical cooperation in various fields. It is believed that this visit will comprehensively uplift the China-Serbia relationship and vigorously promote the mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields between China and Serbia.

V. On the attendance at the fifth Summit of the GMS Economic Cooperation Program

Wang Chao briefed that the GMS is an important constituent of Asia and also a potentially significant economic growth point. After 20 years of efforts, with cooperation constantly deepened and reinforced and strategic planning continuously enhanced, the GMS has become an important platform of regional economic cooperation, a significant driving force of economic integration in the sub-region, and an important constituent of Asia's prosperity and stability. The upcoming meeting is themed as Commitment to Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Development of the GMS, and will discuss such issues as "inclusive and sustainable sub-regional development" and "cooperation and capital mobilization between the GMS and other regional mechanisms". The meeting is aimed at promoting economic and trade cooperation and connectivity in the sub-region, deepening the development partnership among the countries in the region, and specifying the direction of cooperation for the next step. By convention, a Leaders' Declaration will be issued at the meeting.

This is the first time for Premier Li Keqiang to attend the GMS Economic Cooperation Summit. At the time, he will attend the welcome banquet held by the host, the opening ceremony as well as the Summit, and hold bilateral meetings with the Thai leaders. China attaches great importance to the Summit, and expects it to further strengthen the sub-regional development partnership and uplift the level of regional economic integration with the passing of the Regional Investment Framework Execution Plan (2014-2018) as the opportunity, promote the sub-regional all-round connectivity and infrastructure construction and speed up the construction of hardware such as the regional railway union and the economic corridor while boosting the construction of software such as economy and trade, environmental protection and people-to-people and cultural engagement, and jointly plan the future direction of the GMS economic cooperation and construct a more open cooperation structure in the sub-region under the guidance of the new ten-year strategic framework.

Wang Shouwen said that the trading volume between China and other member countries of the GMS amounted to 153.41 billion USD in 2013. China's direct investment to other member countries reached 2.3 billion USD while the direct investment China received from them reached 510 million USD. At the meeting, China will put forward practical measures such as improving the construction of the Economic Corridor Forum mechanism, supporting the cultivation of sub-regional talents, and promoting the construction of cross-border e-commerce cooperation platform in the sub-region.

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