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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds a Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Visit to Bulgaria and Attendance at the Seventh Summit of Heads of Government of China and CEEC, and His Travel to Germany for the Fifth Round of China-Germany Inter-governmental Consultation and an Official Visit

On June 29, 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Bulgaria and attendance at the Seventh Summit of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC), and his travel to Germany for the fifth round of China-Germany inter-governmental consultation and an official visit. Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao and Assistant Minister of Commerce Ren Hongbin introduced relevant situation, and answered questions from Chinese and foreign journalists.

Wang Chao expressed that at the invitation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov of Bulgaria and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Premier Li Keqiang will travel to Bulgaria for an official visit and the Seventh Summit of Heads of Government of China and CEEC held in Sofia and then travel to Germany for the fifth round of China-Germany inter-governmental consultation and an official visit from July 5 to 10. The visits are of important significance for maintaining the sound development momentum of China-Bulgaria relations, China-Germany relations, and China-CEEC relations, as well as for promoting the in-depth development of the "16+1 cooperation".

I. On the Visit to Bulgaria

Wang Chao expressed that China and Bulgaria enjoy traditional friendship, and bilateral relations have enjoyed a strong development momentum in recent years. The Chinese side expects to increase bilateral political mutual trust, consolidate China-Bulgaria traditional friendship, enhance the integration of development strategies of both countries, and expand as well as deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields through this visit, so as to elevate China-Bulgaria comprehensive friendly cooperative partnership to a new level. Premier Li Keqiang will meet with President Rumen Georgiev Radev, and hold talks with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, exchanging in-depth views on further enhancing bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields as well as international and regional issues of common concern. Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will also witness the signing of multiple inter-governmental cooperation documents and business contracts, which will fully embody the wide dimension and high level of China-Bulgaria cooperation.

Ren Hongbin said that in recent years, China and Bulgaria have achieved fruitful results from cooperation in such areas as trade, investment and agriculture under the framework of the Belt and Road and the "16+1 cooperation". During this visit, both sides will conduct full exchanges on deepening practical cooperation.

II. On the Seventh Summit of Heads of Government of China and CEEC

Wang Chao expressed that the "16+1 cooperation" serves as a cross-regional cooperation platform jointly built by China and the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The "16+1 cooperation" has always adhered to the "balanced, universally beneficial, practical, innovative, open and inclusive" principle, achieving fruitful results. It has played an important role in promoting regional and national economic and social development, and pushing the development of China-CEEC relations and China-Europe relations. The development of the "16+1 cooperation" for the next stage will focus on three aspects of continuously improving cooperation mechanisms, deepening practical cooperation and promoting people-to-people bonds.

Wang Chao expressed that the theme of this summit is "Deepening Open and Practical Cooperation, Jointly Promoting and Sharing Prosperous Development". China has three expectations. The first is to further strengthen mutual understanding and trust. The second is to jointly safeguard economic globalization as well as trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. The third is to make plans for future development of the "16+1 cooperation". Premier Li Keqiang will attend the plenary session of the leaders' summit, the opening ceremony of the 8th China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum, jointly witness the signing of the project agreement of the "16+1 cooperation" with leaders of the 16 countries, meet the press, jointly inaugurate the first agricultural demonstration zone of the "16+1 cooperation" with Prime Minister of Bulgaria, and jointly visit the "local achievements exhibition of the 16+1 cooperation" with leaders of relevant countries. It is believed that this summit will provide new impetus for promoting the in-depth development of the "16+1 cooperation", and make new contributions to the comprehensive development of China-Europe relations.

Ren Hongbin expressed that economic and trade cooperation has always been the significant content of the "16+1 cooperation". Since the establishment of the cooperation mechanisms, both sides have made notable progress in economic and trade cooperation, with increasingly growing trade, constant and expanded investment cooperation, smooth advancement of infrastructure and other connectivity projects, diversified financial cooperation methods, as well as steady development in practical cooperation covering such fields as transport, agriculture and tourism. It is believed that under the promotion of this summit, the "16+1" economic and trade cooperation will enter into the anticipated mature and harvest period.

III. On the Visit to Germany

Wang Chao expressed that Germany has always been China's most important cooperative partner in trade, investment and technology in Europe. Since the establishment of the all-round strategic partnership in 2014, China and Germany have always maintained a high-level development momentum in bilateral relations, kept frequent and close bilateral high-level exchanges and achieved fruitful results from exchanges and cooperation in such broad fields as economy, trade, investment, science and technology, innovation, and people-to-people and cultural engagement. The inter-governmental consultation mechanism is a "super engine" for promoting practical cooperation in various fields between China and Germany. This visit will be of great significance in pushing forward the development of China-Germany all-round strategic partnership to higher levels under the new situation.

Wang Chao said that Premier Li Keqiang will meet with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and co-chair the inter-governmental consultation, and exchange in-depth views on promoting practical and innovative cooperation between China and Germany, giving play to the positive and leading role of China-Germany cooperation in China-Europe relations, jointly safeguarding free trade and multilateralism, and strengthening communication and coordination on major international and regional hotspot issues. Premier Li Keqiang and Chancellor Angela Merkel will also jointly attend the China-Germany Economic and Technical Cooperation Forum and China-Germany automated driving exhibition activity, and will jointly witness the signing of a series of cooperation documents, thus demonstrating the high level of China-Germany cooperation. It is believed that this visit will become another new important starting point for propelling the improvement and upgrade of cooperation between both countries.

Ren Hongbin expressed that the width and depth of economic and trade cooperation between China and Germany has been constantly expanded, bringing tangible interests to both sides. The potential in economic and trade cooperation remains enormous. Against the current background that unilateralism and trade protectionism pose a challenge to the global trade system and sustained economic recovery and development, strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Germany, the two largest economies at the two ends of the Eurasian continent, will surely release the positive signal of China and Germany to jointly safeguard the multilateral trade system and support free trade.

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