China will firmly safeguard the freedom of navigation and overflight around the South China Sea, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday at the 12th East Asia Summit. Li said China is the largest country in the South China Sea and a major country that uses the lanes in the sea, thus it shows more interest in safeguarding peace, stability, and navigational freedom in the South China Sea than any other country in the world. He stressed that peace and stability in the South China Sea benefits all countries, and with the joint efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the situation in the South China Sea tends to remain stable and shows positive signs. The related countries in the South China Sea issue have returned to the right track of negotiations and consultations, and their relations have constantly improved, he said. “Leaders of the ASEAN countries and I jointly announced yesterday the start of consultations on the text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea”, Li said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday that Beijing is willing to join Berlin in promoting bilateral cooperation to a higher level. Li made the remarks in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two heads of government spoke highly of the new progress the two sides have achieved over the past year in bilateral ties and cooperation. He also noted that the annual meeting between the Chinese premier and the German chancellor has also been fruitful, adding that the two countries have maintained fine communication and coordination over regional and international affairs. Li said China would like to maintain high-level exchanges with the German side, and ensure the new round of China-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultation a success so as to promote bilateral cooperation to a deeper, broader and higher level. Beijing welcomes businesses of all nations, including those from Germany, to expand their investment in China, and conduct technology and knowledge cooperation, Li said. For her part, Merkel said both Germany and China are committed to promoting bilateral ties, adding that her country is willing to keep up with the high-level exchanges with the Chinese side, strengthen their communication and coordination, get the preparations for the new round of the inter-governmental consultation started as soon as possible, and deepen trade cooperation for mutual benefits.
China and Finland on Monday agreed to further lift bilateral ties through pragmatic cooperation and enhancing exchanges between legislative bodies. The pledge came as Finnish Parliament Speaker Maria Lohela met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and held talks with Chinese top legislator Zhang Dejiang in Beijing. Li told Lohela China had always adhered to a policy of mutual respect and equality, which was an important principle in safeguarding world peace and multiculturalism. He said China was willing to enhance cooperation in the areas that Finland had advantages, such as innovation, clean energy, environmental protection and vocational education. Lohela said Finland was ready to work with China to take a long-term perspective to develop bilateral ties. Lohela said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Finland last April consolidated and lifted bilateral ties. “The Finnish Parliament is willing to work with the NPC (National People’s Congress), to create a sound environment for bilateral cooperation in areas of economy and trade, culture, tourism, small and medium enterprises investment from a new starting point”, she said.