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NPC leader opens visit to four African states
By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-29 22:08

Top Chinese leader Wu Bangguo landed Friday to start his four-nation African tour aimed at enhancing traditional friendship and expanding co-operation.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), will pay an official good-will visit to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nigeria from October 29 to November 8.

"The new Chinese leadership attaches great importance to ties with African countries, including Kenya," said Wu in a written statement released at the airport.

He said good co-operation between China and Kenya in international affairs has played an important role in safeguarding the interests and rights of the two countries as well as developing countries.

All the four countries that Wu toured have traditional friendship with China, according to Xu Weizhong, an expert on African issues with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

China and African countries support each other in the international arena and China adopts a "comprehensive and balanced" policy towards Africa, said Xu in an interview with China Daily.

During his visit, Wu will meet presidents, parliament speakers and other top officials of the four countries to exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern.

He is scheduled to deliver a speech at the National Assembly of Zambia. It will focus on China's political and economic situation, the Sino-Zambian relations as well as China's policy towards African countries.

"This address will not only focus on China's ties with Zambia, but also on ties with the whole Africa," said a senior NPC official.

Wu's visit is also expected to push the economic, trade and technological co-operation between China and the four countries.

Parliamentary exchanges have become important components of state-to-state relations. Wu's trip will increase exchanges between NPC and parliaments of the four countries.

Wu's entourage includes senior NPC officials Redi, Liu Jibin, Su Rong, Lu Congmin, Sun Wei, Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Vice-Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo.

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