China, Central, Eastern Europe Cooperate on New Transport NetworkWorld | December 17, 2014, Wednesday // 12:57| views
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Serbia`s Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic (R) sit together prior to the start of the opening session of the Third meeting of Heads of government of China and Central and Eastern European countries in Belgrade. Photo: EPA
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang met with his counterparts from central and eastern Europe on Tuesday, reaffirming his country's plans to construct a new transport network which is to bring Chinese exports into Europe.
Li together with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and their Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban are to sign on Wednesday an agreement on the construction until 2017 of a high-speed bullet train link between Budapest and Belgrade.
The two-day meeting in Belgrade has infrastructure and transport as the main points on its agenda, The Business Times reports.
One of the hopes of China is to turn the Greek port of Piraeus as a new hub for its trade with Europe.
The Chinese shipping giant Cosco has a 35-year concession to expand the two container terminals at the port of Piraeus.
Despite being badly hit by the crisis, Greece still maintains the largest merchant marine fleet in the world, with China representing one of its key customers.
Prime Minister Li spoke of huge investments into Greek railways on an earlier visit to Athens in August, even hinting at a high-speed rail project.
Before the summit in Belgrade, Li said to Serbian media that China will propose the construction of a rapid land and maritime route on the basis of the railway line between Budapest and Belgrade and the port of Piraeus.
China is hoping that through improving its cooperation with central and eastern Europe, this will also benefit its relationship with the European Union (EU).
Li assured that all the projects are going to be realised in compliance with the EU regulations.
The Chinese Prime Minister expressed his country's support for the EU, EU integration and strong Euro.
Li assured that China is interested in investing in energy, agriculture, industry and infrastructure projects in the region.
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