Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 6, 2018. (Xinhua/Gao Jie)
SOFIA, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev here Friday, and the two sides pledged to promote bilateral ties.
The China-Bulgaria traditional friendship is growing stronger as it grows older, said Li, who arrived in Bulgaria on Thursday for an official visit to the European country and the seventh leaders' meeting of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries.
China and Bulgaria are keeping close contact at all levels, and witnessing fruitful cooperation in such key areas as trade and agriculture as well as more frequent people-to-people exchanges, Li said, adding that the relationship has become an example for country-to-country ties.
China is willing to work with Bulgaria to further strengthen high-level contact and expand practical cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and common development, he added.
China welcomes Bulgaria to export high-quality agricultural products to China, and encourages competitive Chinese companies to invest in Bulgaria, Li said.
He suggested that the two countries increase engagement in the fields of people-to-people exchanges, tourism and culture, so as to carry on their friendship.
In response to Radev's proposal to set up a research center on 16+1 cooperation in Sofia, Li said China will actively study the idea.
For his part, Radev said his country is one of the earliest countries to establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China and attaches great importance to bilateral relations.
Bulgaria, he added, is willing to further consolidate political mutual trust with China and strengthen bilateral cooperation in such areas as manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, technology, culture and people-to-people exchanges on the basis of mutual respect, so as to make new progress in developing their comprehensive friendly cooperative partnership.
Bulgaria appreciates China's efforts in safeguarding the rules of global trade and market economy, and supports 16+1 cooperation, he said, adding that his proposal about the research center is aimed at contributing wisdom to the development of 16+1 cooperation and China-Europe relations.
Bulgaria is the first leg of Li's ongoing trip to Europe. It marks the first visit to the country by a Chinese premier in 18 years.