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Chinese Premier on first foreign trip

Xinhua

BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is to pay official visits to India, Pakistan, Switzerland and Germany next week, his first foreign trip as China's new head of government.

As an important diplomatic tour by the new Chinese leadership, the upcoming trip by Li spans the two continents of Asia and Europe and has sparked intense interests both at home and abroad.

EMBODIMENT OF DIPLOMATIC STRATEGY

The maiden foreign trip by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which took him to Russia and three African countries late March, marked the start of a new age of China's diplomacy.

From Xi's trip to Li's scheduled visits, both are embodiment of China's overall diplomatic strategy, with which the new Chinese leadership aims to show the outside world its commitment to peaceful development.

Li's destinations this time include both developing and developed nations, and both China's close neighbors and partners from further afield.

Qu Xing, head of China's Institute of International Studies, said that Li's upcoming trip will carry forward China's multi-faceted diplomacy.

More than three decades of reform and opening-up have shown that China's development is inseparable with the rest of the world and that a more prosperous world is increasingly associated with China. China and the world are becoming a community of shared destiny.

Coming at a time when China is playing a more prominent role on the world stage and carries increasing economic significance, Li's visits would illustrate the idea of shared destiny and China's belief in common development.

It is also hoped the visits could consolidate the peaceful environment for China's development.

FROM NEIGHBORS TO COMPLEMENTARY PARTNERS

Starting with India and Pakistan, China's two close neighbors, Li's maiden trip attests to Beijing's diplomatic priority on its ties with neighboring nations.

Switzerland and Germany, on the other hand, are important nations in Europe, a region that has the largest number of developed countries in the world. China and Europe are not only economically inter-connected, but also share consensus in building a multipolar world and achieving common development.

Specifically, India is Li's first stop - a fact that shows the utmost importance both countries place on their relations.

As the two biggest and most populous developing countries, China and India have broad common interests to work together on development. As major emerging markets with enviable economic growth, the two countries offer each other plenty of opportunities for further cooperation.

Against the backdrop of fragile world economic recovery and weak demand across developed countries, cooperation between China and India will not only benefit the two BRICS countries, but also exert a positive spillover effect upon the world economy.

China and Pakistan are called "all-weather" partners for their unusual friendship, which makes a solid foundation for an expansion of their decades-old cooperative ties.

"Rain or shine, China-Pakistan relations stand weatherproof," said Jin Yinan, a prominent Chinese military strategist with the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army.

As developed countries in Europe, Switzerland and Germany are different from China. Yet, China and the two European countries are economically complementary.

Europe currently needs China's huge market in its fight against the lingering debt crisis, while China needs Europe's advanced technologies and management expertise in its bid to achieve economic transformation and fulfill the Chinese dream of national revival.

CLOSER TIES BUILT ON THREE PILLARS

Li's four-nation tour is aimed at boosting bilateral ties by strengthening political mutual trust, expanding economic cooperation and enhancing cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Political, economic and cultural cooperations are the three pillars of a sound development of bilateral relations.

On the political level, Li is expected to meet with foreign counterparts, ministers, parliamentarians and party leaders of the four countries, demonstrating China's sincerity and confidence in strengthening political communication and cooperation with the four.

Political mutual trust has been an important premise of the healthy development of bilateral ties. During Li's visits, China hopes to reach more political consensus with the four countries, which would increase political mutual trust and boost the overall development of bilateral ties.

In the economic field, Li is to ink a host of cooperative deals and strive to achieve breakthrough in several economic and trade negotiations.

Economic cooperation between China and the four countries have flourished in recent years.

China is Germany's largest trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region, while Germany is China's largest trade partner in Europe. A free trade zone between China and Switzerland will inject impetus to bilateral cooperation. China and India have agreed on a goal to raise their annual trade volume to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. China-Pakistan trade has grown by more than 20 percent every year.

Li's visits are expected to carry forward pragmatic cooperation between China and the four nations, which will benefit not only themselves but also the global economy which is still plagued by financial woes.

To promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese Premier, during his visits, will meet local people from all walks of life.

Better understanding and deepened friendship between peoples will lay a more solid foundation for the development of relations between countries.

It is gratifying to note that China has achieved fruitful results in cultural and people-to-people exchanges with the four countries, with Li's visits set to further cement the bonds.