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Premier Wen Leaves for Four-Nation Tour
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao left Beijing Saturday for a four-nation tour to Finland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Tajikistan.

He is paying the visit at the invitation of Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Tajikistan Prime Minister Akil Akilov.

Wen will also attend the 9th China-EU Summit and the 6th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) to be held in Helsinki, capital of Finland, and the 5th Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be held in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe.

Main members of the Premier's entourage include Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai, Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, Director of Research Office of State Council Wei Liqun, as well as other senior officials from the State Council, Ministry of Commerce, and Foreign Ministry.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's Europe visit will boost China-Europe partnership in an all-round way as comprehensive deals will be signed during the visit, official with Chinese Foreign Ministry told a news briefing on Wednesday.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said that Finland is willing to further deepen cooperation with China in various fields and facilitate the development of relations between China and the European Union (EU).

"Wen is visiting Germany only four months after Merkel's visit to China in May, and such a frequent exchange of visits shows that the two countries highly value the bilateral relations," Ma Canrong, the Chinese ambassador to Germany told Xinhua.

In 2005, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao visited Europe in October and December and 8 high-ranking European leaders also visited China.

"Wen's visit to Tajikistan will be the first of its kind since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 14 years ago," said Zhang Xiao, a counselor of Chinese Foreign Ministry, adding that it will exert significant impact on bilateral ties.

The meeting of Prime Ministers of the SCO Member States to be held in Tajikistan will focus on carrying out the consensus reached by the heads of SCO members at the June summit in Shanghai, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry.
(Xinhua News Agency September 9, 2006)

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