Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C, front) arrives in Bulgaria on July 5, 2018, for an official visit to the country and the seventh meeting of heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in Sofia. Li's visit is being made at the invitation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
SOFIA, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday arrived in Bulgaria for an official visit to the country and the seventh meeting of heads of government of China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in Sofia.
It marks Li's first tour to Bulgaria after taking office, and also the first visit to Bulgaria paid by a Chinese premier in 18 years.
Upon his arrival, Li said that China and Bulgaria enjoy traditional friendship, as Bulgaria was one of the first countries to forge diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China, and the bilateral relations have always enjoyed a sound and stable development momentum.
Li expressed the expectation to consolidate China-Bulgaria traditional friendship and promote practical cooperation in various fields through this visit, so as to elevate China-Bulgaria comprehensive friendly cooperative partnership to a new level.
China-CEEC cooperation has played a constructive role in enhancing China-CEEC ties and promoting the process of European integration, said Li.
In the context of the current rising trends of protectionism, unilateralism, and anti-globalization, the Chinese premier voiced the hope to maintain multilateralism and economic globalization, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, together with the CEEC leaders through concrete moves, so as to better benefit the people and inject impetus into regional and world peace and development.
During Li's visit to Bulgaria, he will meet with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, and hold talks with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. The Chinese premier and his Bulgarian counterpart will also witness the signing of multiple cooperation documents and meet the press.
With regard to the China-CEEC meeting, Li will discuss future cooperation with 16 CEEC leaders, witness the signing of cooperation documents and meet the press. He will also attend the 8th China-CEEC Economic and Trade Forum, visit a local achievements exhibition of the 16+1 cooperation, and jointly inaugurate an agricultural demonstration zone.
Li will also hold bilateral meetings with CEEC leaders during his stay in Sofia.
After the Bulgaria visit and the meeting, Li will travel to Germany for the fifth round of China-Germany inter-governmental consultation and an official visit till July 10.
Li's Europe tour is being made at the invitation of Borissov and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.