Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L to R) attend a joint press conference after the Fifth Meeting of Heads of Government of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) and China in Riga, Latvia, Nov. 5, 2016. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
Furthering cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, also known as the "16+1" mechanism, will benefit not only the two sides, but also world peace and development, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Saturday.[Special coverage]
Addressing the Fifth China-CEE Summit in Riga, Latvia, Li said nations worldwide are facing grave challenges and uncertainties in boosting development against a backdrop of lackluster global economic recovery, frequent regional conflicts and growing non-traditional security threats such as terrorism and refugee problems.
"Under the new circumstances, we have become more mutually dependent as our common interests are growing," said the premier.
The "16+1" cooperation cannot fare well without a peaceful, stable and sustainable global environment, and meanwhile it has grown into a positive force propelling world peace and development, he said.
He called on the international community including the CEE countries to step up coordination to properly resolve hot issues and maintain world peace and regional stability.
Europe as an important polar of the world is highly complementary with China in terms of economy, and the "16+1" mechanism forms an integral part of China-Europe cooperation, which is conducive to the balanced development and integration of Europe, Li said.
The premier also urged the mechanism to stick to the direction of globalization against intensifying protectionism.
"We should actively promote free trade and facilitate investment, open markets wider to each other, deepen regional economic cooperation and oppose trade and investment protectionism to give ourselves growth impetus while contributing to world economic recovery," Li said.
Established in 2012, the "16+1" mechanism of cooperation involving China and 16 CEE countries has seen constant expansion.
Li is currently in Latvia for an official visit and the "16+1" summit.
His trip marks the first time for a Chinese premier to visit the Baltic country since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Latvia is the third stop of his ongoing eight-day Eurasia tour, which has already taken him to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and will conclude in Russia.