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China Presses EU on Market Economy Status

The European Union (EU) should give full consideration to recognize at an early date China's market economy status, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue Tuesday.  

Zhang said at a regular news briefing that the EU should make a right decision on this issue, which will not only benefit China's economic development, but also boost further expansion in Sino-EU cooperation.


China adopted the policy of reform and opening-up 25 years ago and entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) three years ago, Zhang said, noting that a socialist market economy has been basically put in place in China.


The non-public sector of the economy, such as self-employed and private businesses, has grown rapidly, taking up a considerable share of the overall national economy, and the pricing of more than 90 percent of the goods produced is done by the market, she said.


In addition, in order to make relevant policies, measures, laws and regulations completely consistent with WTO rules, China had amended nearly 3,000 such documents, she said, adding that with the transformation of government functions, enterprises have become an independently managed economic entity.


Until now, a total of seven countries including New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Benin, Togo, Kyrgyzstan have recognized China's market economy status.


Turning to Indo-Pak relations, the spokeswoman said China noted that India and Pakistan ended their foreign secretary-level talks with positive messages and hoped they can push forward process of the composite dialogue between the two countries.


As a critical step of the composite dialogue process, the talks improved the relations between India and Pakistan. China hopes the two sides will solve disputes through improving bilateral relations and commit themselves to the peace and stability of South Asia, Zhang said.


India and Pakistan held two-day foreign secretary-level talks beginning on June 27, which covered regional peace and security issues, confidence building measures and Kashmir disputes. It is the first foreign secretary-level talk of the two countries after India's new government was established in May.


The talks were among the 14 separate rounds of talks the two nations are preparing on various aspects of bilateral relations. It was part of a composite dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.


The spokeswoman also said former Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali made great efforts for strengthening Sino-Pakistani friendly cooperation.


Zhang said that Jamali visited China twice as the Pakistani prime minister. He made joint efforts with the Pakistani government and people to constantly consolidate and promote the Sino-Pakistani friendly and cooperative relations, Zhang added.


Jamali, who took office in November 2002, said Saturday evening in Islamabad that he decided to resign from his post and his cabinet will also be dismissed.


Moving on to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the spokeswoman said that all concerned parties regarded the third round of six-party talks as constructive, with practical progress achieved.


The third round of six-party talks was held in Beijing from June 23 to 26, involving China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan.


The DPRK Foreign Ministry released a statement Monday in Pyongyang, noting that the just-closed third round of the six-party talks made "positive progress." The US State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said at a news briefing Friday in Washington that the overall atmosphere of the six-party talks in Beijing was constructive and the US side expected the talks to continue.


Wang Yi, Chinese delegation head to the talks and Chinese vice foreign minister, told a press conference Saturday that the third round of talks has achieved progress in five aspects.


All relevant parties have offered proposals and plans for the solution to the nuclear issue, reached consensus on the first phase of the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, agreed to take a step-by-step process of "words for words" and "action for action" in search for a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue, approved the Concept Paper on the Working Group, and agreed in principle to hold the fourth round of six-party talks in Beijing by the end of September 2004, and released the second Chairman's Statement of the talks.


Turning to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner's ongoing visit to China, the spokeswoman said that the visit will boost China's relationship with Argentina and the South American Common Market (SACM).


Argentine President Nestor Kirchner arrived in Beijing on June 27, starting his 6-day state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao.


Zhang said the two sides attach great importance to the visit. The Argentine delegation contains many high-level officials and entrepreneurs. The two sides signed five agreements in culture, civil aviation, public health, agriculture and investment, and held a seminar on economic cooperation on June 28. China also granted Argentina the Approved Destination Status during the visit.


Statistics show that China is currently the fourth largest trade partner of Argentina. Bilateral trade reached US$3.176 billion last year, up 122.9 percent year-on-year, and has grown rapidly in the first six months of 2004.


As his country holds the SACM rotating presidency, Kirchner also brought up the issue of cooperation with the first common market comprised only of developing countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. During his visit, China and SACM member countries will hold the fifth dialogue, the first of which was held in 1997.


Both sides believe it will bring practical benefits to boost political, economic and cultural cooperation, Zhang said, adding that SACM as a new mechanism besides bilateral ties could serve to enrich cooperation contents.


At yesterday's briefing, the spokeswoman announced that at the invitation of the Chinese government, six ministers of the member states of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and GCC secretary-general will pay a joint visit to China from July 4 to 7.


They are, Kuwaiti Minister of Finance Mahmoud Abdelkhaliq Alnouri, United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Financial and Industrial Affairs Mohammed Khalfan Bin Kharbash, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Finance Ibrahim Bin Abdel Aziz Al-assaf, Bahrain's Minister of Finance and National Economy Abdullah Hassan Seif, Omani Minister of National Economy Ahmed Abdul Nabi Macki, Qatari Minister of Finance Yousuf Hussein Kamal, and GCC Secretary-General Abdul-rahman Al-attiyah.


The spokeswoman also announced that Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will pay an official visit to China from July 5 to 12 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko will pay an official visit to China from July 2 to 7 at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.


(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2004)

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