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China draws closer to Krgyzstan-Kazakhstan-Latvia

Editor: tongxinxin 丨CCTV.com

11-08-2016 11:31 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Panview Commentator

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at the 21st China-Russia Prime Ministers' Regular Meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, Nov. 7, 2016. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is traveling abroad on a four nations visit in an eight-day whirlwind tour. He visited Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Latvia last week, and is now in Russia.

Last Wednesday, Li participated in the 11th annual prime ministers’ meeting for the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), which was held in Bishek, the capital city of Kyrgyzstan. 

Li also signed major cooperation deals on economics, infrastructure and security during his trip to Kazakhstan. He has reaffirmed China’s ties with Latvia in Riga and is now seeking closer and practical cooperation with Russia.

Beijing is taking bold steps to achieve stronger diplomatic relations with countries in Central Asia, as well as with Russia and the Baltic nation of Latvia.

It’s a smart move since developed countries in the West largely ignore Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Latvia. 

SCO boosts regional security

In order to enhance closer ties, its imperative for governments in the region to boost security mechanisms to fight the so-called “three evils,” terrorism, extremism and separatism. The SCO was founded in 2001 to address such concerns.

SCO members - China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - have pledged in a joint communique “to safeguard regional security and stability along with promoting the development and prosperity of its member states.”

At this year’s SCO meeting in Bishek, delegates signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 38 key measures, including transportation, science & technology, infrastructure construction and environmental protections.

Delegates endorsed the “Shanghai Spirit,” based on “mutual trust, mutual benefits, equality, consultations, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development,” according to Xinhua news agency.

Chinese Premier Li highlighted how Beijing’s ‘Belt & Road’ initiative can help nations in the region to build more infrastructure to increase cross-border trade and investments.

Showing up for Expo 2017

Kazakhstan stands as a nation rich in oil & gas resources along with abundant mineral wealth. Nevertheless, the terrain is rugged, sparsely populated and in need of infrastructure development.

China’s ‘Belt & Road’ can play a pivotal role to construct a stronger, richer and more influential Kazakhstan. Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, must show the world it’s ready to open its doors to foreign investments. The city will host Expo 2017.

Chinese Premier Li met Kazakh officials in Astana to discuss preparations for the upcoming Expo. Beijing has already appointed a national commissioner for the event.

Chinese government officials and companies are expected to host more than 100 events at the Chinese pavillion that would cover 1,000 sg./meters in space, with the theme, “Energy of Future: ‘Green Silk Road.’”

It’s anticipated that more than 200,000 Chinese tourists will go to Expo 2017.

Latvia welcomes Chinese tourists

Small countries are hoping to boost their economies by encouraging Chinese tourists to visit them. Latvia is a small sovereign nation in the Baltic region of Eastern Europe, but its people and scenery deserve greater attention.

The Latvian government in Riga has streamlined travel visa procedures for Chinese citizens. 

Latvia will open 11 new visa centers in China, where after scheduling an appointment they can go there to get “consultations on required documents, help with filling out forms.” The visas will be processed at the Latvian Embassy in Beijing, according to news Website Baltic Course.

Latvia currently has visa centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The new centers will be located at: Changsha, Chongqing, Fuzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Shenyang, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xi’an.

Premier Li’s trip to Latvia will likely inspire more Chinese to visit the nation.

Making friends in remote places

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have traveled all over the world in recent years. They are promoting China’s positive image abroad. Many have noticed that they often visit countries that are largely ignored by Western Powers.

Well, the small countries appreciate meeting the Chinese leadership all the more. While leaders from other powerful countries tend to shun them, they can witness China’s charms and feel a closer kinship to the Chinese people.

All sovereign nations deserve respect, whether they are big or small.


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( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



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