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Li Keqiang Meets with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of Macedonia, Unanimously Agreeing to Jointly Build Land-Sea Express Passage Linking China and Europe

2014/12/18

In the morning of December 17 local time, Premier Li Keqiang held a group meeting in Belgrade with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of Macedonia, unanimously agreeing to jointly build a land-sea express passage linking China and Europe.

Li Keqiang said that the land-sea express passage between China and Europe is an extension and upgrade of the Hungary-Serbia Railway. It is a substantial progress gained after the signing of related cooperation agreements by all parties during the Bucharest meeting last year. This express passage extends from the Piraeus Port of Greece in the south to Budapest of Hungary in the north via Skopje of Macedonia and Belgrade of Serbia, directly affecting a population of more than 32 million. After completion of construction, it will open up a new and convenient channel for China's export to Europe and European commodities' delivery to China.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the European Union (EU) is the largest trading partner of China. China and the EU enjoy tremendous cooperation potentials in trade and investment. Under the current circumstances of sluggish recovery of world economy, vigorously promoting trade liberalization and investment facilitation is a good remedy to withstand the economic downward pressure. China hopes for the building of more express passages between China and Europe and an increasingly bigger cake of China-EU cooperation.

Li Keqiang stressed that while promoting the construction of the express passage, all parties should adhere to the principle of co-construction and sharing, and make decisions on such matters as the cooperation pattern and financial support through equal consultations based on their respective characteristics and cooperation demands. All parties should stick to labor division and cooperation, and steadily advance related projects in line with the principle of "one matures, one implemented". The top priority is ensurance of early start and early completion of the Hungary-Serbia Railway and its extension as well as early implementation of the cooperation framework of customs clearance facilitation. All parties should also adhere to openness and inclusiveness. Adjacent countries along the route are welcomed to participate in the construction of new logistic channels of rail-sea intermodal transport linking China and Central and Eastern Europe, even the whole Europe. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with the EU and other parties in a proper way, so as to increasingly broaden the path of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the EU.

Vučić, Orbán and Gruevski said that the Hungary-Serbia Railway is a major cooperation project of Hungary, Serbia and China. Further extension and upgrading of the Hungary-Serbia Railway to build a Europe-China land-sea express passage will strongly promote the Europe-China cooperation as well as the regional development and benefit the people in the region. All countries will go all out to work closely with China, so as to start and complete the project at an early date and promote common development.

After the meeting, Li Keqiang and the three Prime Ministers jointly witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Jointly Building the Hungary-Serbia Railway among China, Hungary and Serbia, and cooperation documents on customs clearance facilitation among China, Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia.

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