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Chinese, New Zealand leaders meet to further bilateral ties
Updated: 2004-11-20 21:49

Chinese President Hu Jintao called in Santiago Friday for early start of China-New Zealand free trade agreement negotiations so as to inject new vigor to bilateral cooperation.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) posse with New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark during a bilateral meeting, in Santiago, Friday, Nov. 19, 2004. Both are in Chile to attend the upcoming APEC summit. [AP Photo]

Hu Jintao made the call while meeting with New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Elizabeth Clark in the Chilean capital on the eve of the 12th Economic Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), according to a press release issued by the Chinese delegation. Both China and New Zealand are members of the forum.

Hu said China attaches importance of Sino-New Zealand relations and is willing to strengthen bilateral comprehensive cooperative ties. Both countries should expand cooperation on an equal footing, enhance mutual trust based on mutual respect in the political field, the Chinese president added.

Hu urged both countries to tap their potentials and open up new areas of economic and trade cooperation.

The Chinese president said the Sino-New Zealand relations maintained good momentum of development in recent years, with increasing exchanges of high-level visits, deepened mutual understanding and new progresses in economic and trade cooperation.

On international and regional affairs, Hu said, China and New Zealand should continuously increase communication, coordination and cooperation, and jointly strive to contribute to peace and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

Hu also appreciated the New Zealand government's adherence to One-China policy.

Clark, for her part, described the smooth conclusion of feasibility study on New Zealand-China free trade agreement as "encouraging sign". New Zealand is willing to launch relevant negotiations as quick as possible, the prime minister said.

Clark reiterated the New Zealand government's adherence to One-China policy, regarding the separatist activities concerning "Taiwan independence" as unstable factors across the Taiwan Strait.

Both leaders also exchanged views on further promote bilateral cooperation and coordination within the APEC framework and other issues of mutual concern.

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