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Chinese premier's Britain trip aims to clear hurdles and advance cooperation
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UPDATED: June 23, 2014
Chinese Premier Concludes Fruitful Europe Tour

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left Athens for home on Saturday, wrapping up a six-day trip to Britain and Greece that infused fresh vigor into China's ties and cooperation with the two countries and with Europe as a whole.

In Greece, Li met separately with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Parliament Speaker Evangelos Vasileios Meimarakis. He also addressed the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Forum, expounding China's views on maritime affairs.

China is ready to work with Greece to achieve constant and further growth of bilateral relations and to deepen cooperation with Greece in such fields as technology, agriculture and infrastructure, Li said when meeting with the Greek president on Friday.

Li said his country sees Greece as a good friend and partner within the European Union (EU), and expects it to play an even bigger role in promoting China-Europe ties as holder of the rotating EU presidency.

In his talks with Samaras on Thursday, Li said China is fully confident about the prospect of Greece's development and stands ready to further consolidate political mutual trust with the European country and lift the comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level.

He pledged to work with Greece to explore new economic growth points, especially in maritime cooperation, saying the two countries should make joint efforts in developing maritime economy, technology and tourism, and organizing the China-Greece Marine Year program in 2015.

Calling on both sides to continuously expand bilateral trade and deepen cultural exchanges, the Chinese premier appreciated Greece's efforts as the rotating EU president in pushing forward China-Europe ties.

When meeting with Meimarakis, Li said China is ready to boost exchanges and cooperation with the Greek parliament and political parties, and called on the Greek parliament to continue backing China-Greece cooperation.

The Chinese premier, accompanied by his Greek counterpart, also inspected the Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) project, which is jointly operated by Chinese state-owned shipping giant COSCO and the Greek port authority. The pair vowed to make Piraeus the top port in Europe and expand maritime cooperation.

Addressing the China-Greece Maritime Cooperation Forum, Li said China is committed to settling maritime disputes through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. He also called for stronger maritime cooperation between the two nations.

Li arrived in Athens on Thursday after a successful visit to Britain, where the Chinese premier held in-depth talks with British leaders, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron, on advancing bilateral ties and practical cooperation.

When meeting with Cameron on Tuesday, Li proposed that China and Britain work to increase two-way trade to $100 billion by 2015. He also urged the two countries to advance cooperation in such areas as finance, high-speed rail, scientific innovation, green economy and aviation.

The Chinese premier also attended a China-Britain financial forum, co-chaired a global economic roundtable with Cameron and addressed a gathering hosted by two prestigious British think tanks.

The trip was Li's first to Britain and Greece as premier, and another major diplomatic endeavor between China and Europe following President Xi Jinping's visit to the continent in late March.

(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2014)

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