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China-EU summit kicks off in Prague
Updated: 2009-05-20 20:29

PRAGUE -- Leaders from China and the European Union (EU) kicked off their 11th summit here on Wednesday, to exchange views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is attending the summit along with EU leaders, including Czech President Vaclav Klaus, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, EU Commission President Jose Barroso, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Walder and Commissioner for Trade Baroness Catherine Ashton.

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The annual summit is a high-level political consultative mechanism between China and the EU.

The 11th summit was originally set for last December, but was postponed because of a meeting between the Dalai Lama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Poland, whose country was then holding the rotating EU presidency.

The EU and China announced during Premier Wen's Europe tour this February a willingness to hold the postponed summit. The date was fixed by both sides months later.

At this summit, leaders of both sides will sign important documents on cooperation, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.

China and the EU established diplomatic ties in 1975, and expanded the ties to a comprehensive and strategic partnership in 2003.

Up to now, the two sides have set up over 50 consultation and dialogue mechanisms covering political, trade, scientific, energy and environment areas.

The China-EU Leaders' Meeting was started in 1998 in London.