China and the European Union (EU) expressed satisfaction on Thursday with the sound development of the present bilateral relations and pledged to further develop ties.
The pledge came after Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and the foreign ministers of the European Union's "Troika" held talks on the sideline of the 57th United Nations General Assembly.
Tang said there was a good tendency towards the development of Sino-EU relations and the deepening of bilateral cooperation in all fields.
Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji is going to attend the Fifth EU-China Summit to be held in Denmark in a few days, and will exchange views with EU leaders on the strengthening of Sino-EU relations and other issues of common concern, Tang said.
China attaches great importance to the regular summit between China and the EU, and will have close cooperation with the EU to ensure the success of the summit, he added.
It is of great importance for the Chinese and European leaders to strengthen their dialogue on bilateral ties and major world and regional issues in today's world, which has witnessed profound changes in international relations since the Sept. 11 tragedy, he said.
The "Troika" foreign ministers are Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller, whose country holds the current EU presidency, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose nation will hold the next EU presidency, Javier Solana, secretary-general of the Council of the European Union and the EU's high representative for foreign policy, and EU Commissioner for External Relations, Christopher Patten.
The "Troika" foreign ministers voiced their satisfaction with the present friendly and mature relations between the EU and China.
They expressed hope that the coming summit will be conducive to strengthening political dialogue between the EU and China, further promoting bilateral economic and trade relations, and cracking down on illegal immigrants and improving environmental protection.
The "Troika" foreign ministers also said they would accelerate relevant preparations to make the summit a success.
China Hopes to See Iraqi Issue Resolved Within UN Framework
When meeting with foreign ministers of the European Union's "Troika" on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said that the Iraqi issue should be resolved within the framework of the United Nations and that relevant UN Security Council resolutions should be abided by in an earnest manner.
During the meeting, the "Troika" foreign ministers voiced their appreciation of China's stance on the Iraqi issue and said they believe the current priority is the return of UN weapons inspectors to Iraq at an early date.
Iraq should abide by the relevant Security Council resolutions, and the international community, including the EU and China, should strengthen coordination and take a joint stand on the Iraqi issue, they said.
UN weapons inspectors have not been allowed to return to Iraq since December 1998, when they left on the eve of a joint US-British bombing raid as Baghdad allegedly did not cooperate with the UN inspectors in investigating its weapons of mass destruction.
(Edited from People's Daily and Xinhua News Agency, September 13, 2002)