Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is expected to replaced Wen Jiabao as China’s premier later this year, promised Apple (AAPL.NASDAQ) CEO Tim Cook that the country would strengthen intellectual property protection and called on multinational companies to “pay more attention to caring for workers” in China, Reuters reported, quoting state media. This is Cook’s first trip to China, Apple’s second largest global market, since taking over from Steve Jobs in August. Apple’s sales have expanded rapidly in China, but its growth has been clouded by issues including a dispute over the iPad trademark with Shenzhen-based Proview and complaints over poor labor conditions in factories operated by Apple suppliers. Cook met with Beijing’s mayor on Monday and visited one of Apple’s two stores in the capital. Apple retails through more than 100 resellers in the mainland but has only five stores in China.