Premier stresses closer cooperation with Ukraine

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Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday that China is ready to further develop its relations with Ukraine.

Wen made the remark while meeting with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstyantyn Hryshchenko in Beijing.

Wen, who first met Hryshchenko four years ago, called him an old friend of the Chinese people, saying Hryshchenko had done much to advance friendship and cooperation between China and Ukraine.

Wen said the people of China and Ukraine shared a long tradition of deep friendship. Since the two countries established diplomatic links 18 years ago, they had always shown mutual understanding and respect for each other's core interests and major concerns.

Wen said China-Ukraine relations faced new opportunities for development. He called for both sides to strengthen high-level contacts, deepen cooperation on trade, economy, science, technology, agriculture, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

Hryshchenko said Ukraine attached strategic importance to its relations with China, regarding the links as a priority of its foreign policy. He expressed readiness to work with China to deepen cooperation so as to benefit the peoples of both countries.

Since Viktor Yanukovich became president of Ukraine in February, the Ukrainian government had shown a strong will to expand cooperation with China.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Yanukovich met in Washington in April, agreeing to increase high-level exchanges, build political mutual trust and boost pragmatic cooperation.

Hryshchenko also held talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Tuesday. They exchanged views on bilateral links and major regional and international issues.

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