British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with visiting Chinese Vice-President Hu Jintao at No. 10 Downing Street on Monday and they conducted a wide and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral ties and international issues of mutual concern.
Blair expressed his warm welcome to the Chinese vice-president' s visit to Britain. He said that in recent years the relationship between Britain and China has gathered a good momentum of growth with closer cooperation in various fields.
He said under current international situation, Hu's visit to Britain is of vital importance. China's clear-cut stance on the September 11 incident has won widespread praises from the international community, Blair said, and Britain is willing to strengthen its cooperation with China in anti-terrorism.
Blair emphasized that the smooth development of UK-China relations is not only in the interest of the two countries, but serves the need for safeguarding world peace. He said he is optimistic about the broad and bright prospects of development of bilateral ties in the new century.
The Chinese vice-president said that recent years have witnessed sustained improvement and development of Sino-British ties, noting that the top leaders of both countries have maintained close contacts. President Jiang Zemin paid a successful state visit to Britain in 1999 and Premier Zhu Rongji and Prime Minister Blair also exchanged visits in 1998. And these visits laid a new foundation for the long-term and stable development of bilateral ties, he added.
In recent years, the two-way trade volume has grown steadily, with 9.9 billion U.S. dollars last year and totaling 7.6 billion dollars in the first three quarters of this year, the Chinese vice- president said.
Hu added that the two countries also conducted frequent exchanges in such fields as science and education, military and culture, and maintained an effective mechanism of consultation and coordination in many major international issues.
The Chinese vice-president, who arrived here on Sunday for an official visit to Britain, said that the economies of China and Britain are mutually-supplementary. Britain has strong advantages in science and technology as well as personnel with managerial and professional expertise. And China needs such high technology and expertise in developing its economy, he added.
China's sustained, healthy and rapid economic growth, the deepening of reform and opening up as well as its entry of the World Trade Organization have provided enormous opportunities for the British business people, Hu said, and China welcomes the positive participation from the British business community in China's economic development.
Hu also said that the current international situation is undergoing complicated and profound changes, which have made it even more necessary to increase international cooperation. China and Britain, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, shoulder great responsibilities for safeguarding world peace and promoting development.
Noting that China and Britain share common interests on many major issues, the Chinese vice-president said that there is great potential for the two countries to enhance cooperation. He expressed his appreciation with the fact that Britain attaches great importance to developing its relations with China.
Hu said China values the development of Sino-UK relations and is willing to make concerted efforts with the British side to promote bilateral relations to a new high. "This is not only in the long-term and fundamental interest of the two countries but also serves the undertakings of world peace and development," he said.
The two leaders exchanged views on anti-terrorism, reached much common understanding in this regard and agreed to increase consultation and cooperation in fighting against terrorism, a grave menace to world peace and development. They also shared the view that the international communities should increase cooperation in their efforts against terrorism of any form and in any place.
In the meantime, they hold that the fighting against terrorism must follow the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter and other universally recognized norms governing international relations, serve the long-term interest of world peace and development, and avoid casualties of innocent people.
On the future government in Afghanistan, Hu said it should be a broadly-based coalition government, which represents the interests of all ethnic groups and be friendly towards all countries, the neighboring countries in particular. The role of the U.N. Security Council must be given full play in the peace process in Afghanistan, Hu said. Blair endorsed Hu's points of views in this respect.
( Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2001)