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China, France to Beef up Partnership: Vice President

Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong Thursday told visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin that China highly appreciates France's understanding and support in the Taiwan issue and the removal of European Union (EU)'s arms embargo to China, and is ready to push China-France comprehensive strategic partnership to a new high.

During their meeting, Zeng said China is quite satisfied with the sound growth momentum of the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership. When the two countries celebrated the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties last year, he added, the two heads of state realized mutual visits and decided to deepen their comprehensive partnership.

At present, he noted, the bilateral political mutual trust and strategic cooperation have been further enhanced. The two countries kept close consultation and efficient cooperation on international hot issues, and also expanded their economic and trade cooperation.

To hold culture years for each other is a highlight of Sino-French relations, Zeng acknowledged, adding that China Culture Year evoked sound responses in France and the whole of Europe. He told Raffarin the ongoing France Culture Year in China also received a warm welcome by the Chinese people.

Zeng said China attaches importance to its relations with France, and is willing to "keep close consultations, cooperation and coordination" with France to push forward the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level.

Raffarin said the two countries kept a frequent exchange of high-level contacts, which is conducive to deepening mutual understanding and boosting France-China ties.

"France is glad to see fruitful cooperation between the two sides in agriculture, transportation, aviation and energy," he said.

Raffarin said the French government firmly pursues the one-China policy, and appreciates the Chinese government's efforts in improving and developing the cross-Straits relations.

He said his government believes that the EU's arms embargo to China should be lifted at an early date, adding France will go on deepening France-China and EU-China relations.

Upon his arrival in the national capital Thursday morning, Raffarin started a three-day official visit to China, during which he will, besides Beijing, also travel to Shenyang, capital of northeastern Liaoning Province, and Shanghai economic and financial hub in east China.

(Xinhua News Agency April 22, 2005)

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