CHINA's leading newspaper, People's Daily, in an editorial published on April 22, hailed Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to the United States and Canada as having achieved many positive and desired results.
Zhu paid an official visit to the United States April 6-14 and then visited Canada April 15-20. During the visit, Zhu held separate talks with US President Bill Clinton and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien on bilateral relations and vital international issues of common concern.
Zhu's two-nation tour was aimed at solidifying consensus reached earlier on a series of issues discussed separately between President Jiang Zemin and President Clinton and President Chretien, while deepening understanding and co-operation between China and the two countries.
In the editorial, the paper said the tour achieved the desired results, which was to give impetus to the establishment of a constructive strategic partnership between China and the United States and enhance a comprehensive and co-operative partnership between China and Canada.
Although differences still exist between China and the United States, the editorial said, the two countries share vital responsibilities for global peace and development. It is in the basic interest of the two countries to maintain and improve their friendly relations.
Premier Zhu reiterated to his hosts China's principled stand on the Taiwan issue, stressing it is an important and sensitive political issue. Both the US and Canadian governments reaffirmed their policy of "One China." The United States also pledged to continue observing the principles of the three Sino-US joint communiques and the "three no's" policy, which is related to the Taiwan issue, said the editorial.
China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is an issue on which Premier Zhu issued joint statements separately with the US president and the Canadian prime minister, the editorial said.
The US Government is committed to firmly supporting China's bid to enter the WTO in 1999, and both sides have agreed to negotiate by the end of April unresolved questions concerning China's accession into the organization to ensure China's early entry, the editorial said.
The Canadian Government expressed support for China in its bid to become a WTO member by the end of 1999 and hopes to reach an agreement with China in a relatively short time, according to the editorial.
The reports of major progress in this respect were welcomed throughout the world, it said.
Strengthening exchanges and co-operation on trade, environmental protection and energy as well as in other fields conforms to the interests and will of the Chinese, the US and Canadian peoples, the editorial said.
During his visit to the United States, Premier Zhu and the US side signed a series of agreements on co-operation between the two countries in areas including agriculture, environmental protection, energy, customs and civil aviation.
With Canada, China signed agreements such as the "Environmental Co-operation Action Plan" and the "Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Combating Crime."
The Chinese Government and Chinese businesses also signed many economic co-operation agreements and business contracts with their US and Canadian counterparts.
All these achievements are certain to widen prospects for co-operation with the United States and Canada in economic and trade fields, the editorial said.
During the visit, Premier Zhu clarified the position of the Chinese Government on the Kosovo issue and other major regional and international matters.
He stressed that military intervention in Yugoslavia's internal situation should be halted immediately and the Kosovo issue be put back on the track of a political solution as soon as possible.
The world is experiencing significant and profound changes at the turn of the century.
Although tension on the international field is tending to ease, the world is still far from achieving peace, said the editorial.
"We should observe the principles and pursue the purposes of the UN Charter and insist that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, should be treated equally on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence," it said.
The editorial also urged respect for the wishes of various peoples to choose their own way of development according to their respective situations.
It opposed resorting to force or the threat of force in solving conflicts between countries.
"Only this conforms to the current trend of historical development and the common aspiration of the peoples of various countries," said the editorial.
"Although there are still various difficulties on the road ahead, we firmly believe the friendly co-operation between China and the United States and between China and Canada is in accordance with the feelings of the three peoples and the general trend of our times," the editorial said.
It said Zhu's visit to the United States and Canada has won universal attention and high praise from the international community. It quoted international media reports as saying that the visit is another major achievement in China's diplomacy, which succeeded in restraining anti-China clamour, maintaining and promoting Sino-US relations and further strengthening Sino-Canadian relations.
"Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core, we will pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, continue strengthening friendly co-operation with the United States, Canada and other countries, and endeavor to turn the 21st century into a new era of peace, stability and prosperity," the editorial concluded.