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Hu, Chirac Agree to Enhance Sino-French Cooperation

Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Jacques Chirac on Monday discussed bilateral relations and major international issues of common concern and reached broad consensus.

In their first meeting after Hu's arrival in Paris, the two presidents spoke highly of 40 years of relations between China and France since the two countries established full diplomatic ties.

Hu said the relationship between China and France, which has been enriched and broadened constantly thanks to efforts by both sides, has developed rapidly and with marked achievements, especially after President Jiang Zemin and President Chirac declared the establishment of a comprehensive partnership between the two countries in 1997.

Chirac said the two countries have made tremendous progress in their relations in the past four decades.

France is willing to continue to improve, consolidate and advance French-Chinese cooperation, Chirac added.

During their talks, Hu briefed Chirac on China's stance on the Taiwan authorities' attempt at "Taiwan independence" under the guise of so-called referendum.

"We adhere to the policy of 'peaceful reunification and one country, two systems' and stand ready to exert the greatest efforts for the peaceful reunification of China, but we are resolutely opposed to 'Taiwan independence' and would by no means allow anybody to separate Taiwan from China in any means,' Hu said.

Chirac, for his part, said there is no doubt that there is but one China in the world and that maintaining stability across the Taiwan Straits conforms to the interests of all sides.

France hopes that the Chinese people would resolve the Taiwan issue in line with the principle of one China, Chirac said.

The two presidents also exchanged views on strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Chirac said Paris is willing to work with China in such areas as nuclear energy, aviation and railway transport, and stands ready to transfer key technologies to China to advance localized production so as to achieve new leaps forward in economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

Hu, speaking positively of the results already achieved in such cooperation, said China is willing to work with France to consolidate the good momentum and further broaden the areas of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

On the current international situation, Hu said there still exist unknown elements in Iraq and other Middle East hot spots and non-traditional security problems, terrorism being one of them, are increasingly threatening peace and security of mankind.

"We believe it necessary to engage in dialogue and cooperation and bring into play the UN's role in solving global problems and meeting the challenges and difficulties mankind faces," the Chinese president said.

China and France, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, have identical or similar views on many major international issues and share broad common interest, Hu said. "China is willing to further strengthen consultation, coordination and cooperation with France to better safeguard world peace and development."

Chirac said he fully agrees with Hu and that the two countries should further enhance cooperation on the international arena.
(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2004)

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