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Anti-Secession Law Not Against France's Principle: French PM

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin reiterated France's firm stance on the one-China policy Thursday, saying that China's Anti-Secession Law doesn't contradict France's principles on the Taiwan issue.

Raffarin, who is in China for a three-day official visit, told reporters that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao briefed him on the content of the Anti-Secession Law during their talks in the morning.

France remained committed to the one-China policy and this stance is clear-cut and firm, said Raffarin, adding that he believes the content of the law has no contradictions with France's principle.

He said that France agreed with the measures that the Chinese government has taken to ease the tension across the Taiwan Straits," especially the measures to boost trade ties across the straits."

Raffarin arrived in the Chinese capital Thursday morning. He and Wen held talks for several hours and then faced media after witnessing the ceremony of 20 cooperative agreements.

Asked to comment on the relations with the Vatican, Wen said China noticed that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected as the 265th pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

He said the two Chinese Catholic groups -- the Catholic Patriotic Association of China and the Chinese Catholic Bishops College -- had sent congratulatory messages.

He said China is ready to improve relations with the Vatican. "But there are two principles," he said.

The first is that the Vatican must recognize the fact that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole China, Wen said, adding that the second is that the Vatican should not interfere in China's internal affairs.

It is reported that Ratzinger, who was born on April 16, 1927, in the Bavarian town of Marktl am Inn in southern Germany, took the name Pope Benedict XVI as successor to Pope John Paul II who died on April 2 at the age of 84.

On Thursday noon, Raffarin also met with Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong. During his stay in China, Raffarin will also visit Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province and Shanghai.

Raffarin is scheduled to leave Shanghai Saturday at the end of his China visit, the second since 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2005)

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