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FM: Premier's Visit Successful in Promoting Economic Ties
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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to South Korea and Japan is a great success in strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation and promoting the economic and trade ties, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Friday.

Wen paid an official visit to South Korea and Japan from April 10 to 13. This is the first time a Chinese premier has visited the two countries in seven years.

Economic and trade cooperation is an important component of developing an all-round partnership of cooperation with South Korea and a mutually beneficial strategic relationship with Japan, for both nations are China's important trading and investment partners, Li told Chinese reporters.

During his talks with leaders and entrepreneurs of both countries, Wen put forward proposals to further develop the bilateral economic and trade cooperation, underlining the focus on areas like energy saving, environmental protection, telecommunication and high-tech.

Wen also elaborated on China's policies concerning the enterprise income tax, intellectual property rights protection and investment environment.

Wen's proposals have drawn positive responses from both countries, Li said, adding that Wen's introductions on China's policies, which were regarded by both countries' entrepreneurs as fair and reasonable, helped enhance mutual understanding.

During his two-day visit to South Korea, Wen called for an active implementation of a development layout of medium- and long-term economic and trade cooperation, and an early signing of an investment protection agreement between the two countries, according to Li.

Wen also said the two sides should push forward the joint study of building a free trade zone, properly handle each other's concern on economic and trade issues, and achieve the goal of increasing the bilateral trade volume to US$200 billion at an early date.

South Korean leaders and entrepreneurs expressed their willingness to enhance cooperation in such fields as environmental protection, energy saving and telecommunication with China, Li said.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said he hoped the two countries could achieve common development and maintain common interests through high-level cooperation and fair competition, Li added.

During his three-day visit to Japan, the Chinese premier and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe jointly launched a high-level economic dialogue mechanism.

The mechanism, which is of historic significance, signals the upgrade of bilateral economic cooperation and will play an active role in expanding economic cooperation between the two countries, Li said.

The foreign minister also said the two nations pledged to take advantage of the mechanism to increase policy communications on major regional and international economic issues, and boost cooperation in a wider range of areas.

The Chinese premier arrived in Seoul on Tuesday morning for the first visit to South Korea in his capacity as premier. He held talks with his South Korean counterpart Han Duck-soo, and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, and attended the opening ceremony for the China-South Korea Exchange Year.

Premier Wen flew to Tokyo Wednesday for an "ice-thawing" journey to Japan. He met with Japanese Emperor Akihito and held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Wen delivered a speech on Sino-Japanese friendship and cooperation to the Japanese parliament.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2007)

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