The Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that President Hu Jintao is to visit the UK, Germany and Spain early next month, and that this was another positive signal for Sino-EU relations.
After his European tour Hu will visit South Korea, where he will attend the APEC forum in Busan from November 18 to 19.
"Hu will visit the four countries from November 8 to 17," the ministry's spokesperson Kong Quan told a regular press conference.
During the first leg of his UK tour, Hu will meet Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Kong said, and in Germany from November 11 to 13, he will hold talks with President Horst Koehler, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and the incoming chancellor, Angela Merkel. During his two-day visit in Spain, Hu will meet King Juan Carlos among others.
Hu's trip comes after last month's agreement ending an impasse that left millions of Chinese-made garments stuck in EU ports. Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson inked a deal temporarily increasing quotas by using some of next year's.
Hu's last official visit to the three European countries was in November 2001, one year before he became General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. That visit, also including France and Russia, was reported by international media as a chance for Hu to step onto the world stage.
In Seoul, China and South Korea, both parties to the Korean Peninsular nuclear talks, are expected to touch upon the issue again. A fresh round of six-party negotiations is likely to be held in Beijing in the second week of November.
Today, Premier Wen Jiabao is due to start his two-day trip to Moscow for the 4th meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) prime ministers.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev said in Moscow before Wen's visit that a strategic partnership with China was a priority of Russia's foreign policy.
Moscow and Beijing "are holding a permanent, full political dialogue at all levels, and a unique mechanism for interaction has been established," Alekseyev told Russian media.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov will visit Beijing from November 3 to 4 for the 10th Sino-Russian Prime Ministers' Meeting with Wen, Kong said.
Before that, Vice Premier Wu Yi will hold the 9th Session of the Committee of the Sino-Russian Prime Ministers' Meeting on November 1 with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov who will arrive earlier, Kong said.
He said State Councilor Chen Zhili will hold the 6th Session of Sino-Russian Cooperation Committee on Education, Culture, Public Health and Sports with Zhukov on October 31.
In another development, Kong said China expects to cooperate with the US to contribute to global nuclear nonproliferation.
He said China has formulated a series of strict regulations and laws on nonproliferation and export controls.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, CRI.com October 26, 2005)