Mon, Oct 06, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Chinese premier agrees on EU summit, Russia deals

Reuters, Beijing

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) is set to attend a summit of European and Asian leaders on a trip starting next week that is to include a visit to Germany and the signing of energy and high-speed rail deals with Russia, the government said.

Li’s European trip from Thursday to Oct. 16 is his second this year, and culminates in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan, the foreign ministry said.

It takes place as the former British colony of Hong Kong has been rocked by pro-democracy demonstrations, and as the EU steps up sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

In response to the crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to China.

In May, the two countries signed a US$400 billion gas supply deal and Moscow has said it will double bilateral trade by 2020.

China is ready to seize any business opportunities in Russia resulting from Moscow’s diplomatic showdown with Europe over Ukraine, Beijing’s ambassador to Berlin said this week.

While in Russia, Li will sign more than 30 agreements on finance, energy and high-speed rail cooperation, Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

Russia have close economic and diplomatic links, and China has been unwilling to get involved in the Ukraine crisis.

While in Germany in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said that China would not take sides over Ukraine, disappointing any hopes Beijing might add weight to international pressure on Moscow for annexing Crimea.

Li will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and sign a series of agreements, Xinhua said without elaborating.

Human rights could also be on the agenda, an issue invariably raised by German politicians in meetings with their Chinese counterparts.

In a video podcast, Merkel said she hoped Hong Kong police react to the protests in a “level-headed way.”

“Freedom of opinion must continue to be guaranteed in Hong Kong, as the law says,” she said.

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