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Wu's Norway visit consolidates links
By Shao Zongwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-03 22:34

China's top legislator Thursday reiterated the nation's commitment to building links with European countries.

"History has proven and will continue to prove that developing ties between China and European countries conforms to their shared interest," said Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

"It is not only conducive to their common development and progress, but also helps with regional and world peace and prosperity."

Wu made the remarks when addressing the Oslo-based Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

China's links with Europe are "in the most active and fruitful period," Wu said, adding that China stands willing to further enhance exchanges and co-operation with European countries in all fields based on respect, equality and reciprocity.

While China has maintained good rapport with European countries, its booming ties with the European Union (EU) have attracted special attention.

Last year, China and the EU issued their respective policy papers on bilateral relations, giving priority to developing links.

Chinese officials are optimistic that the latest EU enlargement will present new opportunities for better bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Sino-EU trade has achieved remarkable progress in recent years.

With a trade volume of more than US$125.2 billion last year, the EU was China's third largest trading partner following Japan and the United States.

As the EU expanded its membership from 15 countries to 25 on May 1, experts in China expect it will soon become the nation's largest trading partner.

Describing Europe as an important force in maintaining world peace and development, Wu said China has all along looked at its ties with European countries from that strategic perspective.

China and European countries do not have fundamental conflicts, said Wu, adding that they actually share similar views on major issues about peace and development, and have kept active in terms of consultation and co-operation.

Norway is the final leg of Wu's four-nation visit, which has already taken him to Russia, Bulgaria and Denmark.

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