ULAN BATOR, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday called for closer China-Mongolia ties to bring more benefits to the people of both countries.
Calling China and Mongolia "good neighbors and great partners," Li said in a signed article, published by major Mongolian news outlets ahead of his official visit to the landlocked Asian nation, that friendly collaboration between the two countries has been picking up steam in recent years.
Bilateral ties are currently at the "best ever" level in history, said Li, who arrived in Ulan Bator later on Wednesday, adding that he hopes his visit will serve to further deepen cooperation and forge stronger bonds between the two countries.
In his first trip to Mongolia since taking office in 2013, Li is scheduled to hold talks with Mongolia's new prime minister, Jargaltulga Erdenebat, and meet with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and Chairman Miyegombo Enkhbold of the State Great Hural, Mongolia's parliament.
He will also attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Ulan Bator on Friday and Saturday.
Hailing mutual respect and trust between the two states as well as frequent exchanges and dialogues between their leaders and at governmental-, parliamentary- and party-levels, the Chinese premier said China backs Mongolia in actively taking part in international and regional affairs, and has explicitly voiced support for its efforts to join the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
China also supports Mongolia to take part in the China-Japan-South Korea cooperation in an appropriate manner, and adopts an open attitude to Mongolia's participation in the East Asia Summit, Li said.
He said both countries should work together to strengthen coordination in the framework of the United Nations, ASEM and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), promote regional peace and prosperity, and give a boost to China-Mongolia relations.
Li noted that over the past two decades, trade between China and Mongolia has expanded 50 times, and that China has for years been Mongolia's largest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment.
The two countries are witnessing increasing cooperation in inter-connectivity, basic industries, environmental protection and other fields, he said, adding that "China is sincere and candid to aid and support Mongolia's development."
He said the two countries have reached a consensus on dovetailing China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative with Mongolia's Steppe Road program, while calling for enhanced connectivity and stepped-up industrial capacity cooperation in mining, energy, and animal husbandry.
The Chinese premier went on to laud people-to-people and cultural exchanges between his country and Mongolia, and commended the latter's efforts in hosting the 11th ASEM summit.
"As long as we treat each other with sincerity and join hands in our march forward, we would without doubt forge closer ties between China and Mongolia and bring more benefits to the two peoples," Li said.