Premier Wen addresses Indian Council of World Affairs

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday that China and India agree there is enough space in the world for the development of both countries and enough areas for them to cooperate.

"Such important consensus is deeply rooted in the time-honored cultural traditions of the two countries and our long history of exchanges," Wen said when addressing the Indian Council of World Affairs.

And "it comes from our correct reading of the international situation and keen understanding of our national interests," said Wen, who arrived here Wednesday for an official visit to India.

"Together, our two countries initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence," which made outstanding contributions to upholding the independence and solidarity of Asian and African countries and promoting world peace.

"China-India relations experienced major twists and turns. But they were only a short episode in our 2,000-year history of friendly exchanges," he said.

"Entering the 21st century, both China and India have moved onto the fast track of development, and our bilateral relations have made important headway," he said, noting that the two countries have established the strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity.

"The world today is undergoing major development, major adjustment and major changes," Wen said.

He added that both India and China are "at a crucial stage of development."

"We should seize the opportunities and lose no time in expanding and deepening our converging interests and actively advance strategic cooperation and practical cooperation," he said.

"Only in this way can we speed up development, meet challenges together, share development achievements and usher in a bright future," he said.

"I believe that China and India have the responsibility and the ability to fulfil this historic mission," he said.

In his speech, Wen announced that the two countries have decided to launch the mechanism of regular mutual visits by heads of state and government to provide stronger political guidance to the development of bilateral relations.

"China stands ready to work with India to intensify exchanges and multi-level consultations between political parties and in the military field to enhance political and strategic mutual trust," he said.

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