Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday said that China and the European Union (EU), as two important forces in the world, should expand cooperation and join hands to address challenges amid rising unilateralism and protectionism.
Li made the remarks in a telephone conversation with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
China expects to exchange views with the EU over China-EU relations and international and regional issues of common concern in the upcoming China-EU leaders' meeting.
China also expects to strive for pragmatic results in China-EU bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations and dealing with climate change to jointly uphold multilateralism, promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and safeguard world's peace, stability and development, Li said.
On the upcoming seventh Summit of Heads of Government of China and Central and Eastern European Countries which will take place in Bulgaria, the Chinese premier noted that China firmly supports the integration of Europe and a united, stable and growing EU.
"16+1 cooperation" is an open, transparent, inclusive cross-regional cooperation platform and also an important component of and a positive supplement to China-EU relations, he said.
China's cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe would create more balanced development on the continent and strengthen its integration, Li added.
He also said European enterprises would be welcome to participate in the "16+1" platform.
Juncker said that the EU believes multilateralism is the way forward. The EU expects to promote multilateralism and free trade together with China during the upcoming 20th EU-China summit. The two sides will also enhance communication and collaboration in such fields as BIT talks, climate change and aviation.
The EU remains open to "16+1 cooperation" which follows EU trade policies, Juncker said.