Li offers Bulgaria help with big projects
Updated: 2014-01-15 01:03
By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
China is willing to make its expertise in areas such as high-speed rail and nuclear power available to Bulgaria as it pursues infrastructure construction projects, Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang meets with visiting Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev at the Great Hall of People in Beijing on Jan 14, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
Li made the remarks at the Great Hall of the People as he met visiting Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, the first foreign head of state to visit China this year.
"China has advanced technology and rich experience in areas including high-speed railways, expressways, nuclear power and hydropower, and we expect to actively participate in infrastructure construction in Bulgaria," Li said, according to a news release issued after the meeting.
Bulgaria, a key transit country linking central Europe and the Middle East, has an extensive network of railways and highways, and the government has approved a grand plan to upgrade and expand it.
The country also plans to increase the share of renewable energy to 16 percent of total energy consumption in 2020 and intends to attract investment in the industry.
Li asked Bulgaria to facilitate the issuing of visas to Chinese tourists as the country has developed a promotion strategy in 2013 to attract them. There have been reports in the Bulgarian media that the country is working with other nations in the Balkan region to lure Chinese visitors.
Plevneliev told Li that his country will maintain close contact with China and welcomes Chinese companies that wish to visit Bulgaria to work on infrastructure projects.
Chen Yurong, a senior researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said Bulgaria is a "trusted partner of China". It was the second country to recognize the People's Republic of China. The two countries established diplomatic relations on Oct 4, 1949.
Chen said the time-tested ties provide a solid foundation for economic cooperation between the two nations.
Bilateral trade in goods between China and Bulgaria has quadrupled in the past 10 years, hitting $1.58 billion in the first 10 months of last year, the Ministry of Commerce said.
"It is surprising, given the sluggish global economy," Chen said. "The relationship is a microcosm of China's relations with a group of Central and Eastern European countries."
"Aside from stronger mutual trust, they will make big steps in cooperation in areas such as technology, mutual investment, and on big projects," said Chen.
Mo Jingxi contributed to this story.