Chinese premier meets Czech PM on cooperation

BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Friday met here with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, pledging to further promote bilateral ties and cooperation between China and central and eastern Europe (CEE) countries.

During the meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Li told Sobotka China is willing to cement political mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas with the Czech Republic in the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits.

China especially wants to accelerate bilateral cooperation in the areas of civilian nuclear power and high-speed rail as a way to boost mutual investment, Li said.

He also called for enhanced financial, manufacturing and third-party market cooperation and discussion of issuing RMB bonds in the Czech Republic, and intensifying exchanges on health and tourism and between local areas.

Sobotka, who is here to attend the third meeting between local leaders of China and CEE and the second China-CEE health ministers’ forum, hailed the fast development and sound cooperation between the two countries.

The prime minister, who has visited China twice in the past six months, said that bilateral ties have reached a new high during the period of time.

China and the Czech Republic forged a strategic partnership in March during President Xi Jinping‘s state visit to the country.

On the issue of the Surrogate Country approach, Li said China has fully honored its promises made when it entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) 15 years ago with enormous efforts.

He called on the EU and other economies to carry out their obligations on Article 15 of the protocol on China’s accession to the WTO as scheduled.

In accordance with Article 15 of the accession protocol signed when China joined the WTO in 2001, the Surrogate Country approach expires on December 11, 2016.

The China-EU trade disputes should be properly addressed via consultation and dialogue, said Li, adding that the issue of carrying out obligations should not be linked with other issues.

He encouraged the Czech Republic to do more work on this as an EU member, help to liberalize and facilitate trade and investment, jointly oppose trade protectionism so as to benefit both peoples.

Sobotka said the Czech Republic understands the importance of EU honoring its obligations on Article 15 of the protocol on China’s accession to the WTO, supporting early settlement of the issue.

On the 16+1 cooperation, Li spoke highly of the Czech Republic’s active support and participation.

Stressing that the China-CEE cooperation and China-EU cooperation supplement and promote each other, Li said he hopes that the Czech Republic, as an important partner of China in the EU and the CEE region, could work with China to consolidate and enhance China-EU ties and Chine-CEE cooperation and promote more outcomes from the China-EU summit and China-CEE summit later this year.

Sobotka said his country is ready to enhance cooperation with China in the areas including aviation and finance, fully support 16+1 cooperation and development of ties between China and Europe and strive to build a financial and transportation hub between CEE countries and China.

He also expressed the desire to host a China-CEE summit in the Czech Republic.

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