Railways, nuclear power on agenda of Li's European visit

Updated: 2014-06-13 03:51


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China will likely explore business opportunities in the high-speed railway, nuclear power and shipbuilding industries during Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to the United Kingdom and Greece, experts said.

Li is scheduled to begin a six-day visit to the two countries on Monday - his third European trip since taking office in 2013 - according to the Foreign Ministry.

He is slated to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron at his London residence on a "reciprocal visit" following the British leader's trip to China last year. Li will also meet Queen Elizabeth II. It will be the first visit to the UK by a Chinese premier in three years.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao said talks with Cameron will cover trade, investment, energy and cultural exchanges.

Ma Zhengang, former Chinese ambassador to the UK, said the visit is an indication that Sino-British relations are getting back on track after signs of recovery in ties last December when Cameron visited Beijing.

Bilateral relations nosedived in 2012 when Cameron met the Dalai Lama, prompting China to cancel scheduled meetings with the UK.

Tian Dewen, a researcher of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he expects the visit will focus on economic cooperation.

He identified the high-speed railway and nuclear power industries as two fields with high potential for cooperation.

Ma said the UK's relatively aging infrastructure presents great opportunities for Chinese investors and exporters.

Bilateral trade exceeded $70 billion in 2013, a rise of 11 percent year-on-year. That percentage far exceeds the 2.1-percent growth for overall trade between China and Europe.

Zhao Junjie, an expert of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said China and Greece will likely discuss the port, aviation, tourism and trade industries.

He said China's advantages in the shipbuilding industry dovetail with Greece's need to revive its traditional strength in sea transportation.

Li and his Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras are expected to visit Piraeus port near Athens, part of which is operated by China's State-owned shipping giant China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co under a 35-year lease signed in 2009.

It was the first time that a Chinese firm had been granted operating rights to an overseas port.

Contact the writers at xingzhigang@chinadaily.com.cn and zhaoyinan@chinadaily.com.cn