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President Hu Meets with Foreign Leaders

Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao Friday held talks with New Zealand, Vietnamese and Singaporean leaders who are also attending the 12th Economic Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), scheduled on Nov. 20-21.

In the meeting with New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Elizabeth Clark, President Hu called for early start of China-New Zealand free trade agreement negotiations so as to inject new vigor to bilateral cooperation.

Hu said China attaches importance of Sino-New Zealand relations and is willing to strengthen bilateral comprehensive cooperative ties. Both countries should expand cooperation on an equal footing, enhance mutual trust based on mutual respect in the political field, the Chinese president added.

Hu urged both countries to tap their potentials and open up new areas of economic and trade cooperation.

The Chinese president said the Sino-New Zealand relations maintained good momentum of development in recent years, with increasing exchanges of high-level visits, deepened mutual understanding and new progresses in economic and trade cooperation.

On international and regional affairs, Hu said, China and New Zealand should continuously increase communication, coordination and cooperation, and jointly strive to contribute to peace and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

Hu also appreciated the New Zealand government's adherence to One-China policy.

Clark described the smooth conclusion of feasibility study on New Zealand-China free trade agreement as "encouraging sign". New Zealand is willing to launch relevant negotiations as quick as possible, the prime minister said.

Clark reiterated the New Zealand government's adherence to One-China policy, regarding the separatist activities concerning "Taiwan independence" as unstable factors across the Taiwan Strait.

Both leaders also exchanged views on further promote bilateral cooperation and coordination within the APEC framework and other issues of mutual concern.

During the meeting with Vietnamese counterpart Tran Duc Luong, President Hu expressed China's consistent support for Vietnam's early entry into the World Trade Organization.

Hu said bilateral relations, guided by the principles of long-term stability, orientation towards the future, good-neighborly friendship and all-around cooperation, have progressed soundly. The two countries have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits, with smooth development of bilateral cooperation in various fields, he added.

The two countries' land border demarcation is progressing smoothly while the two agreements on Beibu Gulf are under implementation, the Chinese president noted.

China attaches great importance to the development of Sino-Vietnamese relations, and places it on an important position of China's neighboring diplomacy. China is willing to work together with Vietnam to push forward bilateral ties to a new stage, Hu added.

Both economies of China and Vietnam are highly complementary, Hu noted, adding that both governments should encourage their enterprises to expand cooperation in the sectors of trade, energy, industry and infrastructure construction. 

The Vietnamese president reaffirmed Hanoi's willingness to further strengthen cooperation with China in various fields. Hanoi will work together with the Chinese side to advance bilateral friendly cooperation in an all-around fashion, said the Vietnamese president.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated Singaporean government's adherence to the "One China" policy and opposition to "Taiwan Independence" during his meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

President Hu said that he appreciated Singapore's stance.

He says the Taiwan question is at the core of China's national interests and that China's sovereignty and core interests should be respected.

President Hu will also meet with US President George W. Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro on the sideline of the APEC summit meeting.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2004)

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