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Wu meets Bulgarian assembly chairman
By Shao Zongwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-29 00:23

Visiting Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo Friday praised the nation's ties with Bulgaria, thanking the Eastern European country for its support on the Taiwan question.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress told the press the Chinese people are grateful for Bulgaria's adherence to the one-China policy.

"The Taiwan question is related to China's territorial integrity, sovereignty and the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese," said Wu. "We regard it (the Bulgarian adherence to the one-China policy) as the precious support from the Bulgarian people to the Chinese."

Wu particularly mentioned the Bulgarian support in the World Health Organization. In the World Health Assembly (WHA) held in Geneva earlier this month, some countries introduced a proposal suggesting that Taiwan be invited to participate in the WHA as an observer. Bulgaria refused the proposal.

Wu made the remarks after meeting Chairman of the Bulgarian National Assembly Ognian Gerdjikov.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Bulgaria. Both countries hope the current visit will add new momentum to the development of bilateral ties.

China has always been one of Bulgaria's important partners, said Gerdjikov.

According to Gerdjikov, the two leaders agreed to further strengthen high-level exchanges.

They also agreed that more efforts should be made to promote trade, he added.

"The current trade and economic co-operation do not reflect the economic potential the two countries boast," said Gerdjikov during the brief press session.

Chinese official statistics show that Sino-Bulgarian trade reached US$225 million last year, with Chinese export taking up US$166 million.

Wu arrived in the Bulgarian capital earlier Friday for a three-day visit, the first ever by a Chinese NPC Standing Committee chairman.

"The Chinese side stands willing to consolidate and deepen the mutually-beneficial co-operation with Bulgaria in all fields," said Wu in a written statement released after arriving in Sofia.

Wu is scheduled to meet Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Foreign Minister Solomon Passy today. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the Second Chinese Cultural Day in Sofia, a cultural event where the Bulgarians will have the chance to experience Chinese arts first hand.