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China, Turkey look to tap cooperation potential
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China and Turkey on Sunday played down their trade tensions, saying both countries must seek stronger economic cooperation and improve overall relations.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (R, front) meets with Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan (L, front) in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 27, 2009. [Li Xueren/Xinhua]

"With the huge potential in economic and trade cooperation, both countries should work more closely for their mutual benefit, "Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan told Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan.

The areas of cooperation, Wang said, included energy, transportation, finance, tourism, investment, and project contracting.

Caglayan said his country would like to work closely with China in economy and trade, and create a favorable environment for relations.

Caglayan came to Beijing for the 16th China-Turkey ministerial-level Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, a regular platform to ease trade tensions between both countries.

From January to August 2009, Turkey filed six trade remedy investigations into Chinese goods, including air conditioners, salt, motorcycles, and electric irons.

In terms of number of cases against China, Turkey ranked fourth, behind India, the United States and Argentina, but ahead of the European Union, although China-Turkey trade remained relatively low with a total volume of 12.57 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

China's exports to Turkey reached 10.59 billion U.S. dollars, while imports accounted for only 1.98 billion U.S. dollars. Turkish President Abdullah Gul expressed dissatisfaction about the trade imbalance when he visited Beijing in June.

Caglayan's Beijing visit is his second in less than a month.

In late August, Caglayan came to China on behalf of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to try to smooth out problems in the relationship. On that occasion he discussed the riot in the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which left 197 people dead and more than 1,600 injured.

"Turkey understands the measures China took to deal with the July 5 incident," Caglayan said in a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

In a message to Wen, Erdogan said the Turkish government would not allow anyone to sabotage China's sovereignty and territorial integrity on Turkish territory.

In Sunday's meeting, Wang stressed the long-standing friendship between China and Turkey and characterized their cooperation as "generally good."

"Both countries should understand and support each other on issues concerning their own core interests, and cherish the hard-won good relations," Wang said.

Caglayan reaffirmed his government's firm adherence to the one-China policy and non intervention into China's internal affairs.

Before his stop in Beijing, Caglayan traveled to Shanghai and visited the Turkish booth for the World Expo 2010.

(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2009)

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