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2008, a year of ambition, attractiveness for China
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The European Union (EU)'s External Relations Commissioner Wednesday hailed 2008 as a year of ambition and attractiveness for China.

"This is the Year of the Rat, a year of ambition and attractiveness" for China, Benita Fererro-Waldner told Chinese reporters at the EU headquarters. She was hosting a dinner for Chinese Ambassador Guan Chengyuan one week before the Chinese traditional Spring Festival, which falls on February 7.

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2008 is the Year of the Rat.

"I would say this year is very special for China also because of the Olympic Games," she said, adding that "ambition and attractiveness are indeed there."

She hoped China will witness an "ambitious, prosperous and good year" in 2008 and wished the "Chinese Olympic Games all the very very best".

Additionally, she said the EU is "very happy to be able to work together" with China.

"Most probably there will be visits of a group of commissioners to China in this very important year" to continue "our mutual cooperation", she said.

As for EU-China relations, the commissioner said, "On the occasion of the Chinese new year, we are very happy to see that EU-China relations indeed are improving and intensifying."

"We really have a strategic partnership between the European Union and China", she said.

Fererro-Waldner said the two sides would work together in the years to come "in a straight-forward way" to face big global challenges such as climate change and combating terrorism and all the issues on "our common global agenda".

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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