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Hu to Visit Latin America, Attend APEC Meeting

President Hu Jintao will pay state visits to Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cuba from November 11 to 23 at the invitation of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos Escobar, and Cuba's President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers Fidel Castro.


Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue made the announcement in Beijing on Tuesday at a routine press briefing.


During the visits, Hu will meet with heads of state and parliamentary leaders as well as local leaders, business people and technology experts. Cooperation agreements are expected to be signed.


Zhang said that Sino-Brazilian relations have developed smoothly over the past few years, especially since the two countries established a strategic partnership. Both have much in common politically; they share identical views on many international and regional issues; and have enjoyed close economic, trade and technology ties.


In May this year, Brazilian President Lula paid a state visit to China, during which the two countries signed a series of cooperative agreements.


Zhang said President Hu will also attend the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) informal leadership meeting that will be held in Santiago, Chile.


Discussions will include trade and investment liberalization and economic and technological cooperation, including such hot topics as the new round of World Trade Organization trade talks and APEC reform.


China hopes the meeting will achieve concrete results and progress on energy cooperation, APEC reform and midterm assessment of the 1994 Bogor Goals, which call for "free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies."


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will attend the 16th APEC ministerial meeting to be held on November 17 and 18.


Turning to the European Union and the recent signing of its first Constitution Treaty, Zhang said that China believes a unified and integrated EU will offer new opportunities for the further development of China-EU relations and for the EU to play positive and constructive roles in European and international affairs.


Twenty-five EU member states signed the Constitution Treaty last Friday, which China sees as a new milestone in the process of the EU integration and of great significance to the EU's development.


In Asia, the spokeswoman said, Chinese diplomats are pushing for the fourth round of six-party talks concerning the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula to be held as soon as possible. However, it is not clear whether the new round will be held at the end of November or in December.


With China as facilitator and mediator, three rounds of six-party talks have been held in Beijing since August 2003. The fourth round, tentatively scheduled to be held in late September, was postponed.


China supports a nuclear-weapons-free Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability and solving problems through dialogue, Zhang said.


She stressed that all six parties -- North and South Korea, the US, Russia and Japan as well as China -- have agreed to maintain dialogue within the framework of the six-party talks.


In another development, Zhang said China will further enhance its cooperation with central Asian countries in cracking down on the "three evil forces of terrorism, splittism and extremism."


China has approved cooperation agreements with Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to conduct joint investigations, regular meetings and consultations and information exchanges.


The spokeswoman said these five countries share common interests and the agreements will help them work together to ensure peace and stability in the region.


The US presidential elections are now under way, but China expects to maintain close and cooperative relations with the US regardless of the outcome, Zhang indicated. China values its relationship with the United States and the two nations -- both globally influential -- have reached an understanding on a number of important issues.


Zhang announced that State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will pay a working visit to Indonesia on November 5 as a special representative of President Hu Jintao. The trip is made at the invitation of the Indonesian government.


Tang will meet with the new leaders of Indonesia to discuss strengthening Sino-Indonesian cooperation and other issues of mutual interest.


Zhang also announced that Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom will visit China from November 5 to 9 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.


(Xinhua News Agency, CRI.com.cn November 3, 2004)

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