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Chinese Premier Starts
Official Visit to India

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji arrived in New Delhi Sunday afternoon for a five-day official visit to India.

Zhu, who just concluded a two-day official visit to Bangladesh, has come at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This is the first visit to India by a Chinese premier in 11 years.

Indian Minister of State for Defense Harim Pathak and other senior Indian officials were at the airport to welcome Zhu and his entourage.

In a written speech released upon his arrival at the airport, the Chinese Premier said that he expected to exchange views with Indian leaders and personages from all walks of life "in a broad and candid manner" on bilateral relations and other issues of mutual concern.

He also expressed confidence that his visit would help further enhance friendship and exchanges between the two peoples, promote mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries and "inject new vitality" for a sound development of the Sino-Indian Constructive Partnership in the new century.

Conveying to the Indian people "warm greetings and best wishes from the Chinese people," Zhu pointed to the fact that peoples of both countries had been close neighbors for thousands of years and therefore cherished profound friendly emotions for each other.

Both China and India are major countries in Asia and they are also the world's most populous developing nations, Zhu noted, adding that it has become the common aspiration of both peoples to learn from each other and jointly seek development.

"A sound, stable and friendly Sino-Indian relationship is not only in the fundamental interest of peoples of both countries, but also conducive to peace and development in Asia and the rest of the world," he asserted.

"We are willing to work with the Indian government and people to continuously push forward Sino-Indian relations on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence," he stressed.

Zhu Rongji, who is accompanied by his wife Lao An and high-level officials and entrepreneurs, is expected to stay for two days in the Indian capital. He will also visit Mumbai and Bangalore, two major cities in south India.

(China Daily January 14, 2002)

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