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Visit Begins with Hope
for Mutual Trust
President Jiang Zemin arrived in Berlin Monday afternoon, kicking off the first leg of a 15-day, five-nation tour.

In written statement released upon his arrival, Jiang said that enhancing comprehensive cooperation between China and Germany is not only in the interests of their two peoples but also peace and stability to people in the world.

Jiang said China and Germany are two nations that have strong influence in their respective regions and the world. He said he hoped his visit would promote mutual understanding and trust and further expand mutual benefits and cooperation.

Tuesday, Jiang will meet President Johannes Rau and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Shi Mingde, deputy director-general of the Department of Western European Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, pointed out that Jiang's visit to Germany comes on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Germany.

He said that economic relations and trade have developed rapidly. Last year, two-way trade was US$23.5 billion, a 19.3 percent increase year on year. This accounts for a third of China's total trade volume with the European Union.

He said the two sides share many common views and interests on such major international issues as maintaining world peace, fighting terrorism, and maintaining a global strategic balance.

After Germany, Jiang will visit Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Iran. Cheng Tao, director-general of the Department of African Affairs at China's Foreign Ministry, said that Jiang's visit to Nigeria will be the first by a Chinese head of state since China and Nigeria established diplomatic relations 31 years ago.

The two leaders are expected to discuss how to consolidate and develop China-Nigeria relations, as well as regional and international issues of common concern, said Cheng. He said that the two countries will sign a series of important documents on cooperation.

At present, Nigeria is one of China's most important trading partners in Africa. Bilateral trade exceeded US$1.1 billion last year, which is a historical high.

Cheng said that Nigeria is rich in resources and has a vast market and huge potential for development.

"Many Chinese enterprises are actively committed to conducting mutually beneficial co-operation with Nigeria,'' Cheng said.

Wu Chunhua -- director-general of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs -- said that Jiang's visit to Libya and Iran will reciprocate the visits to China by Libyan leaders and Iranian president Mohammad Khatami. It will also be the first visit to Libya by a Chinese head of state.

"China maintains sound co-operative relations with all the countries in west Asia and north Africa,'' said Wu.

During the visit to Libya, Tunisia and Iran, Wu said that Jiang would talk about the Middle East issue and convey China's views on the current situation, particularly China's worry and concern about current developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Wu said China hoped that those concerned would implement a ceasefire as soon as possible to create the conditions for a resumption of negotiations.

(China Daily April 9, 2002)

President Jiang Leaves Beijing for Five-nation Tour
Iran, China Ready to Expand Cooperation
Jiang Expresses Regret Over Blasts in Nigeria
China Stresses Unique Role of Tunisia in World Arena
Nigeria Welcomes Chinese Investment
German National Tourist Board Opens New Office in China
German Chancellor to Visit China
German Business Community Optimistic About Trade in China
Jiang Sees Bright Prospects in Ties With Nigeria
Nigerian President Arrives in Beijing for State Visit
Tunisian Paper Condemns US Hegemony over Plane Collision
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