Premier Zhu Rongji yesterday praised a unique delegation of Canadian government and business officials as an innovative form of diplomacy.
During a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Zhu said the "Team Canada" visit would help strengthen bilateral relations.
This is Chretien's fourth visit to China and his current entourage of more than 600 people is the largest delegation ever sent by Canada to a foreign country.
Chretien said the goals of the first Team Canada visit in 1994 had been achieved, and pointed towards future trade progress.
"We are very hopeful that this visit will lead to a lot of good business co-operation between Canada and China," he said.
Among the large delegation, more than 500 come from enterprises. Media called the delegation a "Who's Who of Canadian business." Participants include Air Canada, Alcan, Bombardier, Atomic Energy of Canada, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific, the Bank of Montreal, the Canadian Wheat Board and McCain Foods.
Zhu said that the two countries' economies complement each other, noting areas of co-operation will be expanded with China's development of its western areas.
Zhu said that bilateral relations had developed smoothly since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1970.
He praised the strengthening of co-operation and consultation between the two on international issues.
Zhu reiterated the common understanding reached between the two nations during President Jiang Zemin's visit to Canada in 1997 which established a partnership to further develop bilateral relations.
Chretien said China would soon become Canada's third largest trading partner.
Bilateral trade between China and Canada reached a record high last year of US$6.91 billion, up 44.9 percent from 1999.
Canada is China's 10th largest trading partner and has invested US$2.33 billion in the country.
At a luncheon with Zeng Peiyan, minister in charge of China's State Development Planning Commission, and local officials from more than 10 provinces and autonomous regions of western China, Chretien said he hoped Canada could help China develop its western region.
On the question of Taiwan, Zhu stressed that China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and complete reunification must be respected.
Chretien told Zhu that the Canadian government will continue to adhere to the one-China policy and will not establish official relations with Taiwan.
The two leaders also covered human rights issues during the talks. Zhu emphasized that issues concerning human rights should take into consideration each country's specific situation.
Zhu called for an expanding of bilateral co-operation on the issue.
Following the talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of three agreements covering energy co-operation, scholarly exchanges, and Sino-Canadian co-operation in areas such as the environment and legal reform.
Also yesterday, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation Shi Guangsheng and his counterpart Pierre Pettigrew held talks on the development of bilateral trade and economic co-operation and China's entry to the World Trade Organization.
(China Daily 02/12/2001)