China and Peru announced the launch of negotiations on a free trade area (FTA) on Friday following a meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Peruvian President Alan Garcia on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Hu expressed the hope that an FTA agreement would be signed at an early date; and said the two countries should strengthen cooperation in various fields.
The Peruvian president said his country is looking forward to strengthening cooperation in the fields of ports, electricity, mining and tourism.
Progress sought on N-talks
Hu on Friday urged all parties to the talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula to fulfill their commitments.
Hu made the remarks while meeting with Roh Moo-hyun, president of the Republic of Korea (ROK), on the sidelines of the economic leaders' meeting of the APEC forum.
Hu noted it is an arduous task to make the peninsula nuclear-free despite progress made through six rounds of talks and various working groups set up to deal with detailed matters.
Hu said China will strive for the realization of denuclearization on the peninsula at an early date to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
Roh said it has been proven that dialogue is the best way to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and appreciated the positive role China has played as a host in pushing forward the process of the talks.
The Six-Party Talks, which began in 2003, also involve the United States, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan.
Meetings with leaders
Hu on Friday met with Michael Somare, prime minister of Paupa New Guinea (PNG), saying China will continue to offer economic and technological assistance to support development in that country.
Hu said PNG is China's most important trading partner in the Pacific islands and has been China's largest trading partner and investment destination in the region for years.
Somare said his people hope to further develop the cooperative friendship.
In talks with Kevin Rudd, the leader of the Australian Labor Party, Hu appreciated his party's commitment to developing the China-Australia friendship.
During a 30-minute conversation conducted entirely in Mandarin, Hu praised Rudd for his fluency in the language and pledged to develop ties from a strategic and long-term perspective.
It is reported that Rudd has accepted an invitation from Hu to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing next year with his family.
Rudd, a former diplomat in Australia's Beijing embassy, is one of the prime ministerial hopefuls for the next elections.
Hu and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Elizabeth Clark expressed their desire to speed up negotiations on a free trade agreement.
Hu is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
(China Daily September 8, 2007)