Li goes to Budapest for China-CEEC forum

At start of 4-day visit, premier is met at airport by Hungarian counterpart

Premier Li Keqiang arrived in the Hungarian capital Budapest on Sunday to attend the sixth Meeting of Heads of Government of China-Central and Eastern European Countries and make his first visit to Hungary as premier.

On his arrival at Budapest Airport, he was greeted by Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Viktor.

Li is scheduled to attend a leaders’ roundtable meeting, the seventh China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum, and also witness the signing of cooperative agreements between China and the 16 CEE countries.

Leaders of these countries will discuss how to promote cooperation in areas such as connectivity, trade and investment, finance, green economy, and technological innovation. They will also exchange views on global issues of common concern.

After the meeting, a Budapest guideline will be released directing China-CEEC cooperation, along with a list of achievements for this year and the past five years.

Li is expected to make an official visit to Hungary. He will attend a welcoming ceremony hosted by Orban, and they will have talks, witness the signing of various cooperative agreements and meet with media. Li will also meet with Hungarian President Ader Janos and Speaker of the National Assembly Kover Laszlo.

Hungary was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the New China in Oct 1949. There have been frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries.

Hungary was the first European country to sign a cooperative document with China to align itself with the Belt and Road Initiative, Li said in a signed article published by the Hungarian Times on Saturday. The two countries have made outstanding achievements in cooperation in such areas as investment, finance and agriculture, he said.

Li received Orban during the latter’s two official visits to China, in Feb 2014 and May of this year. The two countries’ bilateral relations were upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership during the visit in May, when Orban attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Li and Orban have met each year at China-CEEC-for example, in Bucharest, Romania, in November 2013, and Belgrade, Serbia, in December 2014. In Nov 2015, Orban traveled to Suzhou, Jiangsu province, for the fourth China-CEEC meeting. The latest such meeting was in Riga, the Latvian capital, last November.

The premier’s trip, which comes after the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the “16+1″cooperation, between China and CEE countries, is vital to promoting a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Europe, Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao said at a news briefing last week.

Upon completing his trip to Hungary, the premier will fly to Russia to attend the 16th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Governments (Prime Minister) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization before the Chinese delegation heads back to Beijing over the weekend.