Li Ruihuan, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, arrived in Sofia Thursday, kicking off his three-day official goodwill visit to Bulgaria.
Li was greeted by Blagovest Sendov, vice-chairman of the Bulgarian National Assembly, and Chinese ambassador Tao Miaofa at the airport.
"Bulgaria has been one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with China," noted Li in his written statement issued at the airport, who is the highest ranking Chinese official to visit this country over the past decade.
China is willing to further elevate bilateral relations with Bulgaria, an important country in Central and Eastern Europe that plays an active role in maintaining regional peace and security, Li said, adding that he expects his visit will increase mutual understanding and trust and promote exchanges and cooperation between the two countries.
Bulgaria is the first leg of Li's four-nation tour of Europe, which also includes Slovenia, Ukraine and Britain.
(People's Daily May 17, 2002)