BUDAPEST, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has vowed to bring cooperation between China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) and relations between China and Hungary to a higher level.
Li made the statement in an article published on the newspaper The Hungarian Times before attending the sixth meeting of heads of government of China and the CEEC on Nov. 26-29 in Budapest and paying an official visit to Hungary.
"This is an important meeting held at the fifth anniversary of the launching of China-CEEC cooperation (16+1 cooperation). I'm looking forward to the meeting and the visit," Li said.
Noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in May the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, Li said he is full of confidence about China-Hungary relations and the prospect of China-CEEC cooperation.
The premier recalled that the first China-CEEC economic and trade forum was held in Budapest in 2011 and, a year later, the 17 countries established a new trans-regional cooperation platform, called the 16+1 cooperation.
Over the five years, the 16+1 cooperation has been growing and the mechanism improving, bringing about remarkable progress to cooperation in all fields, Li said.
Political mutual trust between China and the CEEC countries has been deepened, with the two sides having established cooperation mechanisms in about 20 areas, he said.
Economic cooperation has been growing steadily, with bilateral trade increasing to 58.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 from 43.9 billion dollars in 2010 and the completion of a number of landmark infrastructure projects, said the premier.
People-to-people exchanges have been strengthened in the fields of education, culture, health, tourism, media, think tank, political party and youth, and at local levels, he said.
After a great start, the 16+1 cooperation demands a new direction and new momentum, the premier said, adding that he will work with CEEC leaders to review what the two sides have achieved in the five years and draw a blueprint for the future.
On China-Hungary ties, Li said both countries are beneficiaries and supporters of economic globalization, and it is in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries to stick to trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.
Speaking highly of the strategic alignment of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with Hungary's Eastern Opening policy, Li said the Belt and Road Initiative and 16+1 cooperation have put the two countries' economic and trade cooperation on a fast lane, with progress made in the areas of investment, finance, agriculture, scientific and technological innovation and small and medium-sized enterprises.
China and Hungary have also made strides in people-to-people exchange and cooperation in the areas of culture, education, sports, tourism and traditional Chinese medicine, he said.
Both sides hold that China-Hungary ties have entered the best period in history, Li said.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has set out a grand blueprint and action guideline for future development of China, said Li, adding that a more open and prosperous China will surely bring more and greater opportunities to all countries in the world including Hungary.