Chinese Premier Li Keqiang starts first foreign visit Published: 2013-5-19 17:23:00

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Li eyes German trade boost
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Sunday made a speech about peaceful development and urged peace and order after World War II on his second day in Germany focusing mainly on boosting bilateral deals and expanding the European market, hinting at recent diplomatic moves by Japan.

Premier Li Keqiang begins official visit to Germany

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has arrived in Berlin for an official visit to Germany, the only EU country included in his first overseas tour since taking office.

China, Switzerland sign MOU on concluding FTA talks
China and Switzerland here on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on concluding negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).

Li’s Indian trip focuses on regional peace, trade
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang flew to India Sunday for a three-day visit as the first stop of his maiden foreign trip, which is expected to include "financial diplomacy" to further boost bilateral trade.

Chinese premier departs for four-nation visit
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang departed Beijing Sunday for official visits to four nations.

Li's visits to India, Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany are at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Pakistani government, Swiss President Ueli Maurer and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, respectively.

"Li's visit is an important diplomatic activity of the new Chinese government toward neighboring countries and Europe." -  Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao



     Visit to India

Time May 19 - May 21
Schedules visit New Delhi and Bombay;
meet with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee;
hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh;
deliver a keynote speech on China-India relations;
attend the China-India Business Cooperation Summit
Focuses border issues;
economic and trade cooperation
Voice of India Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman of India’s Foreign Ministry:
We feel that the relationship between India and China is one of the most important in the 21st century. We need to carefully nurture our growing partnership whose significance is not only the bilateral dimension but also increasingly has a global nature.
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     Visit to Pakistan

Time May 22 - May 23
Schedules visit Islamabad;
meet with President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari;
meet with Pakistani leaders from the country's parliament, political parties and military, including Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Focuses three intergovernmental deals on economic and trade cooperation
Voice of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, PML-N President:
Nawaz emphasized that he viewed China as Pakistan’s time-tested friend and it would be his endeavor to add greater substance to the existing excellent ties between the two countries.
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     Visit to Switzerland

Time May 23 -  May 25
visit Zurich and Berne;
meet with President of the Confederation Ueli Maurer, Vice-President of the Confederation Didier Burkhalter and Head of Federal Department of Economic Affairs Johann Schneider-Ammann
a memorandum of understanding on concluding negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement
Voice of Switzerland
Jacques de Watteville, Swiss Ambassador to China:
It is a great honor for Switzerland to be the first European country in Li's visit. The visit provides a new opportunity for cooperation between China and Switzerland. My country hopes that the visit can inject new vitality into bilateral relations.
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     Visit to Germany

Time May 25 - May 27
Schedules visit Berlin;
meet with President Joachim Gauck;
hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel;
deliver a speech at a business luncheon;
have extensive contact with people from the political and business communities.
Focuses "the year of languages" between China and Germany;
a series of cooperation documents on economic and trade cooperation
Voice of Germany Michael Schaefer,German Ambassador to China:
It is an important and positive signal that Li has chosen Europe and Germany as one the destinations for his first foreign visit. In the past few years, China and Germany have built up a successful partnership. The visit this time shows that China's new leadership continue to pay great attention to Sino-German relations.
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Chinese media comments:

Japan bound to lose war on history
Premier Li's speech in Potsdam will long be remembered by the international community. It will have a profound impact on the world's understanding of East Asia's history as well as its reality. 

Li’s visit shows confidence in German relationship
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived at Germany, the last stop in his first foreign trip as Premier. Given that the economic slump of the European debt crisis still lingers, Li's visit illustrates China's support for eurozone countries to overcome the crisis through their own efforts.

What China-Switzerland FTA brings about?

China and Switzerland on Friday concluded their talks over a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which will be the first between Beijing and continental Europe. The achievement was hailed as a "milestone" by political leaders and business community, while Swiss media described it as one of the most important international deals in 40 years for Switzerland.

Li's visit cements bonds, but contention shadows region
To further improve relations, leaders from both sides should also focus on promoting people-to-people contact and youth exchange programs. Through student exchange programs, Pakistan-China friendship will be transferred to the new generation on both sides.

Economic cooperation priority for Sino-Pakistani relations
Fueling further economic cooperation has been prioritized in Li's Pakistan visit. The volume of trade between both countries is expected to be enhanced. Chinese enterprises are mostly involved in fields like mining and basic infrastructure, and Pakistan is expecting China to invest in and develop other fields such as agriculture, energy and industrial zones.

Ties with Pakistan aid China's soft power
China's input in Pakistan must not be short-term or exploitative. We must not underestimate Pakistan which is temporarily at an ebb. Efforts we put into Pakistan today will be strategically rewarded in future.

Time for hard questions on Sino-Indian relationship’s future
There must be a complete, honest and meaningful revamp of the current visa regime. The level of visits is abysmal, and security considerations cannot determine the level of engagement between the two countries destined to be the largest trading partners in a decade or so.

Sino-Indian ties transcend media hype
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang started his visit to India yesterday. As China's new premier, his selection of India for his first overseas trip has widely been interpreted as a sign that China is attaching greater importance and respect to this large neighbor.

Li’s Indian visit may be thorny but fruitful
Li's current India visit is extremely significant as it marks the first top level bilateral visit from the fifth generation of Chinese leadership that took over just about two months ago after the once-in-a-decade leadership transition. The two sides have accorded it the highest diplomatic protocol and characterized it as a "State visit."

China and India downplay problems on borderlands
The peaceful resolution of the "tent confrontation" points to the maturing of India-China relations, and that both sides have the will and confidence to dissolve the crisis bilaterally and prevent it from acquiring dangerous proportions.

Chinese premier's India trip to boost cooperation, mutual trust
It is widely believed that the visit will help further remove suspicion and consolidate mutual trust between the two countries and forge a new type of strategic cooperative partnership to the benefit of both sides.

Premier Li's first foreign trip highlights multi-faceted diplomacy
Starting with India and Pakistan, the arrangement of Li's trip shows the great importance the new government has attached to relations with the two close neighbors.

As developed countries, Switzerland and Germany are important economic and trade partners for China in Europe. China and the two European nations are economically complementary.

Chinese premier's India trip to evince Beijing's unwavering pursuit of better ties
China-India interaction is gaining global prominence at a time when many in the world turn to the two leading emerging economies for hints of confidence in the post-crisis recovery process.

World watches as Li prepares for first foreign trip

To promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese Premier, during his visits, will meet local people from all walks of life.

Better understanding and deepened friendship between peoples will lay a more solid foundation for the development of relations between countries.

Foreign media comments:

Use Li Keqiang's visit to build an India-China relationship suited for the 21st century - India Times
Coming close on the heels of the weeks-long border stand-off between the two countries in Ladakh, it may be a good-cop-bad-cop routine to get India to sign on to a border cooperation agreement, which would prevent India from reinforcing its side of the border.

'India, China can reduce mistrust with faith in each other'
  - DNA India
As Li embarks on his three day visit to break new ground amid recent border stand off, analysts here said his fence mending visit with initiatives to boost trade ties could also focus on the need for settlement of border dispute.

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