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Premier Wen Holds Talks with German Chancellor

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reached broad consensus Monday in his in-depth talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Sino-German and Sino-European ties as well as international issues of common concern.

Schroeder extended his warm welcome to Wen for his official visit to Germany. He said the German-Chinese relations have a solid foundation and maintain a good momentum of development, and the two countries enjoy close economic contacts and share identical or similar views on many international issues.

"Germany will continue to firmly adhere to the 'one China' policy. And such a policy will not be changed under any circumstances," Schroeder said.

Wen said the Chinese government attaches great importance to further developing its relations with Germany and is satisfied with the current bilateral cooperation in various fields.

Developing Sino-German friendly ties is in the common interests of the peoples of both countries, he added. "China highly appreciates the German government's persistent adherence to the 'one China' policy and its support for the cause of China's peaceful reunification," said the Chinese premier who is on a three-day official visit to Germany.

Wen said his current visit to Germany came amid the European Union enlargement. "China supports European integration and hopes the EU will play a positive and constructive role in international affairs," Wen said.

"We attach importance to the German role within the EU, and hope to enrich the content of bilateral strategic partnership," he added.

The Chinese premier also proposed to establish an annual regular meeting mechanism between the two heads of government, establish a dialogue regime in anti-terrorism and law enforcement, and strengthen bilateral consultations and cooperation on international affairs.

On economy and trade, Wen noted that Germany is China's largest trade partner in Europe while China is Germany's largest trade partner in Asia. Bilateral trade volume totaled US$41.8 billion in 2003. The two countries should make joint efforts to double their bilateral trade by 2010, he added.

As high-tech cooperation constitutes an important pivot of future Sino-German economic cooperation, the Chinese premier added, both sides should attach more importance to this cooperation,

Wen also stressed that the two countries should give more government assistance to boost cooperation among their small and medium-sized enterprises.

Schroeder said he fully agreed to Wen's proposals on developing bilateral ties. Germany supports the European Union's recognition of China as a full market economy and the lifting of the arms sales ban on China. Germany is willing to play a positive role in these respects, he added.

Following the talks, the two sides issued a joint declaration on Sino-German relations. They agreed to deepen bilateral ties, establish a partnership of global responsibility within the framework of Sino-European comprehensive strategic partnership and expand close consultations on global issues.

Prior to the talks, Schroeder hosted a welcoming ceremony in Wen's honor. The two leaders also attended a ceremony for the signing of seven documents on economic cooperation between the two countries, including Letter of Intent on Purchasing 20 Dornier 328-300 Jets between the HNA (Hainan Airline) Group Company Limited and the AvCraft Aviation Ltd.

Germany is the first leg of the Chinese premier's five-nation European tour, which will also take him to Belgium, Italy, Britain and Ireland. He will also pay a visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels.

(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2004)

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