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Ministry of Foreign Affairs Holds Briefing for Chinese and Foreign Media on Premier Li Keqiang's Attendance at Annual China-UK Prime Ministers' Meeting in UK and Visits to UK and Greece

On June 12, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a briefing for Chinese and foreign media on Premier Li Keqiang's attendance at the Annual Prime Ministers' Meeting of China and the United Kingdom (UK) and his visits to the UK and the Hellenic Republic (Greece). Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao and Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan introduced the relevant information and answered questions from journalists.

I. The background and significance of the visits

Wang Chao said that at the invitation of Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of Greece, Premier Li Keqiang will hold the Annual China-UK Prime Ministers' Meeting in the UK and pay official visits to the UK and Greece from June 16 to 21. Following President Xi Jinping's visit to Europe this March, it is the Chinese leaders' another important visit to Europe, which is conducive to promoting the further development of the China-Europe relations, and China's bilateral relations with the UK and Greece.

Wang Chao said that Europe is an important force in today's world, and is also China's comprehensive strategic partner. In recent years, the China-Europe relations have maintained a sound development momentum, with all-dimensional, multi-level and wide-ranging exchanges and cooperation between both sides being deepened constantly. Last year, the bilateral trade volume between China and the EU reached 559.1 billion USD, and the EU has remained China's largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years. As "two major forces" in maintaining world peace, "two major markets" in promoting common development and "two major civilizations" in pushing forward human progress, the deepening of China-EU cooperation will have a positive significance in promoting each other's development, promoting democratization of international relations and pushing forward human civilization.

II. The visit to the UK

Wang Chao introduced that the UK is the first major Western country in acknowledging the People's Republic of China. China and the UK have set up the best-established high-level exchange mechanisms among China and the EU countries, such as the Annual China-UK Prime Ministers' Meeting, China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, China-UK Strategic Dialogue, and China-UK High-Level People-to-People Dialogue. The bilateral relations enjoy a good foundation, huge potential and broad development prospect.

During his visit in the UK, Premier Li Keqiang will meet with Queen Elizabeth II, hold talks with Prime Minister David Cameron, attend the welcome banquet hosted by the Chinese and UK business community, and deliver an important speech to the UK think-tanks. After Premier Li Keqiang's talks with Prime Minister Cameron, they will jointly meet the press to introduce the fruits of the visit and deliver important information to the public on deepening the China-UK relations and strengthening bilateral cooperation. This visit will further enhance the bilateral political mutual trust, charter the development course of China-UK cooperation, and add new vigor, new features and new connotations to the China-UK relations. The two sides will advance the deepening of China-UK practical cooperation, and push forward bilateral cooperation in fields such as nuclear power, high-speed railway, finance and high-tech to make new steps and explore new potentials. The two sides will propose new measures on promoting bilateral cultural mutual learning, media cooperation, educational exchanges and personnel exchanges, so as to consolidate the social base of the bilateral relations.

Gao Yan said that the economic and trade cooperation has always been the "ballast" and "stabilizer" of the China-UK relations, playing an increasingly important role in constructing healthy and stable China-UK relations. Currently, the UK is China's third largest trading partner and second largest source of actual investment in the EU, and a major destination of China's overseas investment. Last year, the bilateral trade volume between China and the UK reached 70 billion USD. China-UK economic and trade cooperation mechanism has been continuously improved, while the trade scale has expanded steadily, and the two-way investment has yielded fruitful results. She hoped that the two sides grasp the opportunities of reform and opening-up, expand cooperation in service trade, promote cooperation in infrastructure fields such as nuclear power and high-speed railway, in order to better realize the complementarity of each other's advantages, mutual benefits and win-win results. She hoped that the UK advance the EU's relaxation of export control to China, restrains from adopting trade remedy measures, and joins China in promoting the feasibility study of a China-EU free trade area, so as to create favorable conditions for the development of China-UK and China-EU trade.

III. The visit to Greece

Wang Chao said that Greece has been consistently supporting issues concerning China's major concerns and core interests, assisted with China's overseas evacuation of Chinese citizens for three times and firmly supported China in hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The China-Greece relations currently enjoy a sound development momentum, with close contacts between leaders of the two countries, constantly deepened political mutual trust and increasingly prosperous cooperation in all fields. As the rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of this year, Greece expressed for many times its willingness to play a positive role in promoting the development of the EU-China relations.

During his visit in Greece, Premier Li Keqiang will hold talks and meetings respectively with Prime Minister Samaras, President Karolos Papoulias and Speaker Vangelis Meimarakis. The two sides will issue a joint statement and sign a series of inter-governmental agreements and business contracts covering fields such as infrastructure construction, culture, maritime affairs and quality inspection. Li Keqiang and Samaras will jointly attend the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Forum and inspect the Port of Piraeus of the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company. This visit will further consolidate China-Greece traditional friendship, deepen bilateral political mutual trust and expand practical cooperation in all fields.

Gao Yan introduced that Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Greece will achieve fruitful results in economy and trade. The two sides will sign cooperative agreements in many fields such as logistics, energy, shipping, real estate, and imported wine and olive oil, facilitate the opening of the two countries' markets, and encourage cooperation between enterprises and business investment promotion institutions, chambers of commerce and associations of the two countries. China supports competent Chinese enterprises to participate in Greece's privatization projects.

In the end, Wang Chao said that Premier Li Keqiang's visits will bear great significance, rich contents and fruitful results. Both the UK and Greece attach great importance to Premier Li Keqiang's visits. Currently, all the preparations of the visits have almost been completed. He believed that with the joint efforts of the three countries, the visits will surely achieve a complete success.

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