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COPENHAGEN - Chinese President Hu Jintao will kick off a state visit to Denmark Thursday, as the Sino-Danish bilateral relationship has embarked on a track of mature, sound and steady growth in recent years.
President Hu's visit from June 14-16 marks the first time that a Chinese president has visited Denmark.
The trip will further consolidate and deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Denmark, bring Sino-Danish bilateral links to a new, higher level, and prove another milestone in the history of bilateral relations.
It will also have significance for China-Europe relations, as Denmark holds the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2012.
Denmark and China enjoy dynamic cooperation in many areas including politics, economy, science and technology, culture and education, where they have achieved remarkable success.
The Sino-Danish relationship has a long history. Denmark was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with China over 62 years ago.
In 2008, Denmark became the first Nordic country to forge a comprehensive strategic partnership with China.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, there has been an accelerating development of bilateral relations, helped by clear foresight and political wisdom of national leaders from both sides. ' It is also clear that Chinese and Danish leaders lay great emphasis on development of bilateral relations.
In recent years, leaders from both nations have been in frequent contact under bilateral and multilateral frameworks. Communications and coordination have been enhanced in important international and regional issues of common interest, with the two countries now increasingly sharing common strategic interests.
In September 1979, Denmark's Queen Margrethe II paid a state visit to China, becoming the first Danish head of state to visit China.
China and Denmark established a comprehensive strategic partnership during former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's visit to China in October 2008, bringing the Sino-Danish relationship to a new stage.
Two years later, the two countries marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations.
Then Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen visited China and attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in 2010, while Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and then Foreign Minister Lene Espersen attended the opening and closing ceremonies of the Shanghai World Expo in the same year.
Visits have also come the other way. In March 1995, then Chinese Premier Li Peng visited Denmark to attend the United Nations world summit for social development.
In September 2002, then Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji visited Denmark to attend the fourth Asia-Europe summit. In December 2009, Premier Wen Jiabao attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15) in Copenhagen.
In October 2011, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited Denmark and met with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal.
Yang's visit was the first by a Chinese foreign minister to Denmark in 11 years. During the visit, both sides agreed to deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation.
Over the past years, bilateral trade and economic cooperation have maintained strong momentum. According to Chinese official statistics, the volume of bilateral trade increased 18.3 percent in 2011, as compared to the previous year, to reach a historical high of 9.26 billion U.S. dollars.
For its part, Denmark has so far invested in 718 projects in China, with paid-in investment of 2.16 billion dollars.
Multinational Danish corporations, such as pharmaceutical maker Novo Nordisk, wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas, electronics company Danfoss and shipping and oil company Maersk, have all done well in China.
Moreover, Scandinavian airline SAS has launched new Copenhagen-Shanghai direct services, raising the prospect for higher passenger volumes on the north Europe-China route.
At the same time, Chinese companies such as shipping giant Cosco, electronics company Huawei and gene-sequencing powerhouse BGI have established branches, research and development facilities in Denmark.