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Chinese Premier's Four-nation Tour Fruitful: FM

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's four-nation tour to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia during which he also attended the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum has been very successful and attained important achievements, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Addis Ababa Tuesday.

The trip, which lasted from December 7 to 16, is the first bilateral visits by Premier Wen since the inauguration of the new cabinet last March, Li said during a press briefing.

During the trip, Wen met with leaders and persons from all walks of life of his host countries, delivered speeches on various occasions, visited financial industrial, agricultural, energy, telecommunications and research institutions, inspected Chinese-invested businesses and attained important achievements in many aspects, the foreign minister said.

The visit further strengthened political relations between China and the four countries. Premier Wen's meeting with US President George Bush is the third meeting between Chinese and US leaders within the year. The two leaders exchanged views of points on bilateral relations and agreed to further enhance bilateral cooperation and promote the continued development of constructive and cooperative relations between the two countries.

In Canada, Premier Wen's proposal on the deepening of the cooperative partnership between the two nations was well received by both the incumbent and newly-elected prime ministers.

In Mexico, Premier Wen and Mexican President Vicente Fox jointly announced the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries. They also announced the establishment of a permanent inter-government committee to coordinate bilateral cooperation in various fields.

In Ethiopia, the two leaders agreed to further consolidate the traditional friendship between the two countries and work together for the establishment of an all-round partnership.

During his visit, the premier also explained China's positions on the Taiwan issue and won universal support, Foreign Minister Li said.

Premier Wen stressed that the Chinese government will try its best to realize the peaceful reunification of the motherland and will not give up its efforts to this end so far as there is the slightest hope.

Wen made it clear that China will not tolerate the separatist activity by the Taiwan authority to split Taiwan from the motherland in the excuse of democracy and through the so called " defensive referendum."

US President Bush said his government will stick to the "One China" policy and observe the three Sino-US joint communiques. He said the United States opposes Taiwan independence and any actions by the Taiwan authority to change the status quo of Taiwan unilaterally.

Both incumbent and elect prime ministers of Canada reiterated that they will firmly observe the "One China" policy and expressed the hope that the Taiwan issue will be solved in the same model of the Hong Kong issue.

Mexican and Ethiopian leaders also expressed their explicit support to the stance of the Chinese government and to the great cause of the reunification of China.

Wen's visit also opened new prospect for the healthy development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, Li Zhaoxing said.

While in the United States, Premier Wen proposed that the two sides should strengthen their cooperation for mutual benefits, solve the issue of trade imbalance through development, raise the level of trade coordination mechanism, consult on equal basis and avoid politicizing trade issues. The US side agreed to his proposal.

During the visit in Canada, both sides agreed to set up a ministerial strategic consultation mechanism and a cooperative, mutually beneficial and stable long-term trade relationship.

In Mexico, Premier Wen stressed that China and Mexico are not competitors but cooperative partners. He also announced proposals to promote the diversification of bilateral economic and trade ties. All these were well-received by the Mexican side.

In Ethiopia, the Chinese premier proposed that China and Africa countries including Ethiopia should strengthen their cooperation in agriculture, human resources and infrastructure sectors, which received warm responses from African leaders.

During the visit, China and the four countries signed several documents on cooperation, including inter-government agreements and commercial contracts between companies. These documents extend into many fields and injected new vigor into bilateral cooperation.

Wen's visits have also helped consolidate and strengthen China's traditional friendship with developing countries, particularly African countries, Li said.

At the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, which attracted representatives from 44 African countries, Premier Wen forwarded proposals on further deepening of Sino-African cooperation and called on the international community to pay more attention to Africa's peace and development.

In his meeting with leaders of African countries and chairperson of the Africa Union, Wen discussed with them on how to promote the establishment of long-term Sino-African partnership
for mutual benefits.

"Premier Wen's first visit to the Africa continent and the success of the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum will have a deep impact on Sino-African friendship and the solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries," Foreign Minister Li said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2003)


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