China's top legislator seeks to tap cooperation potentials with Austria

2019-05-22 02:21:24 GMT2019-05-22 10:21:24(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

VIENNA, May 21 (Xinhua) -- China's top legislator Li Zhanshu paid an official friendly visit from May 18 to 21 to Austria, where he met with Austrian leaders on promoting bilateral ties and expressed China's stance on upholding multilateralism and free trade.

EXCHANGING VIEWS ON TIES AND GLOBAL ISSUES

In meeting with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping's greetings.

He said during the Austrian president's state visit to China in April last year, the two countries' heads of state jointly established a new orientation for bilateral ties, which pushed forward the ties to usher in a new stage.

"China is willing to work together with the Austrian side to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state and promote the in-depth development of cooperation in various fields," said Li.

During the meeting, Li and Van der Bellen also exchanged in-depth views on issues of common concerns, including free trade, climate change, and the Iranian nuclear issue.

Li said China always adheres to the principle of mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual benefit and common development in dealing with the relationship between countries.

"Maintaining multilateralism and free trade is the common responsibility of the international community. Unilateralism and trade protectionism are not in line with the world trend," said Li, adding that unilateral withdrawal and unilateral sanctions will not only harm other countries but also harm the interests of the countries which take the moves.

Li said China advocates that economic and trade differences should be resolved through negotiation and consultation. In the meantime, people who conduct negotiations must follow a bottom line and some principles, conform to international trade rules, adhere to equality, mutual benefit, and non-discrimination, and resolutely oppose "long-arm jurisdiction".

China is willing to work with countries including Austria to uphold multilateralism and free trade, work together to address global challenges, and promote the building of a community of shared future for the mankind, said Li.

For his part, Van der Bellen spoke highly of the development of bilateral ties, and highly appreciated China's positive role in global affairs. He said that the Austrian side shares the same or similar position with China on many issues.

The two sides should strengthen communication and coordination in international and regional affairs, support liberalization and facilitation in trade and investment, jointly address climate change, and promote friendly cooperation to yield more results, the president said.

TO FURTHER TAP COOPERATION POTENTIALS

When meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Li said jointly building the "Belt and Road" has become a new growth point for bilateral cooperation. The two sides should adhere to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and continuously explore and tap the potential of cooperation.

Li called on the two countries to deepen cooperation in fields like high-end manufacturing, energy conservation, environmental protection, ecological agriculture, tourism, and finance. And the two sides are expected to actively explore innovative cooperation in such area as the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence and 5G technology.

Noting China is preparing for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Li said China will learn from Austria's experience, and carry out cooperation in athlete training, winter sports education and research, and winter sports equipment.

"China always regards Europe as a comprehensive strategic partner and an important global power which is indispensable," said Li, adding that China is happy to see Europe maintain unity, stability, openness and prosperity, and supports the integration process in Europe.

Kurz said that the Belt and Road Initiative has set up a new platform for equal cooperation among the countries in the world. China is Austria's largest trading partner in Asia, and the two countries have strong economic complementarities.

Noting the two sides share strong aspiration of deepening cooperation, Kurz said the cooperation potential is huge, and more investment from Chinese companies as well as more Chinese tourists are welcome to Austria.

TO ENHANCE EXCHANGES BETWEEN LEGISLATIVE BODIES

In his respective talks with Austrian National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka and Federal Council President Ingo Appe, Li said the cooperation between the two countries' legislative bodies should "closely follow the pace of development of state-to-state relations," through cementing mutual understanding and exchanging experience on such areas as legislative supervision in regular visits, so as to create a good law environment for pragmatic cooperation.

Noting that people-to-people and cultural exchanges have always been the most active part of China-Austria relations, Li called on the legislative bodies to "respond to the voices of the people" by promoting cooperation in art, music, sports, and local areas, and advancing exchanges among young people.

The two leaders of the Austrian parliament expressed the willingness to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the National People's Congress of China, saying the Austrian side highly values the development of ties between the two countries. They will promote the implementation of the bilateral cooperation agreement, and forge ahead personnel and culture exchanges between the two countries.

During his stay in Austria, Li also met with regional officials from Salzburg to discuss cooperation between local areas of the two countries. Li and Van der Bellen also attended a ceremony in which a giant panda from China was officially handed over to the Austrian side.

After wrapping up his tour in Norway on May 18, Li's stay in Austria marked the second lag of his 10-day tour in Europe, which will also take him to Hungary.

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