Premier Li highlights infrastructure projects with CEE countries

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held Wednesday a flurry of meetings with Central and Eastern European (CEE) nations' leaders, particularly highlighting interests in infrastructure cooperation.

The meetings were held a day after the third leaders' meeting of China-CEE countries in Belgrade.

When meeting his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban, Li said China is willing to maintain close coordination with Hungary and other related parties to speed up the construction of the Hungary-Serbia railway, as well as the China-Europe land-sea express passage.

Earlier on Wednesday, China, Serbia, Hungary and Macedonia agreed to build the express line, which links the Greek port of Piraeus in the south and the Hungarian capital of Budapest in the north, stringing the Macedonian capital of Skopje and Serbia's Belgrade.

Pledging closer cooperation in finance, investment and agriculture areas, Li said China will encourage Chinese companies to invest in Hungary.

He also expects Hungary to provide sound policy and stable business environment for Chinese companies, and simplify visa procedures and facilitate work permit process for Chinese workers.

For his part, Orban hailed the fruitful bilateral cooperation, saying Hungary will well implement cooperation documents and expand cooperation in various areas with China.

Li spoke highly of the traditional friendship between China and Albania during his meeting with his Albanian counterpart, Edi Rama.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Albania diplomatic ties.

Li told Rama that China is ready to play an active role in Albania's highway, railway and port construction, promote more Chinese companies' investment in cement plants, mining, economic parks and tourism.

Rama said cooperation between China and countries in the region is crucial to regional development and stability.

Albania welcomes China's investment and will deepen bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, agriculture, infrastructure construction and education, said the Albanian leader.

In the meeting with Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, Li said China wishes to forge political mutual trust with Lithuania on the basis of mutual respect and equality, so as to ensure the relationship to proceed on the correct path.

China is willing to take part in the cooperation on such projects as the Rail Baltic, and discuss with the Lithuanian side cooperation over the utilization and modification of transport infrastructure, Li said.

Butkevicius reaffirmed that China is an important cooperative partner, and Lithuania sticks to the one-China policy while firmly opposing to any force that attempts to separate China.

Butkevicius said Lithuania will advance cooperation with China in such fields as economy, trade, agriculture, transport, infrastructure construction and education.

When meeting with Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas, Li said the China-Estonia relationship now stands at a new starting point.

The two sides should protect mutual political trust and accommodate with each other's core interests and grave concerns, Li said, adding that China will advance exchange of visits of different levels with Estonia and continuously expand bilateral practical cooperation.

Li called for closer cooperation with Estonia in the locomotive industry, saying Chinese locomotive equipment boasts good quality and reasonable price.

Chinese companies are also encouraged to take part in Estonia's transport, logistics and infrastructure cooperation programs, as well as those of the Baltic area, Li added.

Estonia, Roivas said, adheres to the one-China policy, and will work with China in the construction of the China-Europe land-sea express passage and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

He welcomed more Chinese investment in Estonia, and called for expanded cooperation in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure construction.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of Macedonia, Li said he hopes that Macedonia can offer more policy support and convenience to the construction of the express passage, so that the route can benefit Macedonia and other countries along it at an early date.

China will encourage its enterprises to join in the construction of Macedonia's expressway project, and is willing to build a cement plant and a glass factory at the request of the Macedonian side, said the Chinese premier.

For his part, Gruevski lauded the success of the freshly-concluded China-CEE leaders' meeting, saying bilateral cooperation is significant to the development of Macedonia and other countries in the region.

Macedonia attaches great importance to the express passage project and will cement cooperation with China in such areas as railway, agriculture, tourism, aviation, hydropower, and the construction of industrial parks, he said.

Apart from the five meetings, Li also met with Vesna Pusic, Croatia's first deputy prime minister and minister of foreign and European affairs. Pusic attended the China-CEE summit as representative of the Croatian prime minister.

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