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Hu lands in Manila after Jakarta visit
MANILA: President Hu Jintao arrived in Manila yesterday for a state visit, aimed at expanding friendly co-operation between China and the Philippines.
Hu said he is looking forward to an in-depth exchange of views with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of shared interest.
Trade with ASEAN
In Jakarta, Hu yesterday said he has full confidence that China-ASEAN trade will reach US$200 billion before 2010.
Hu made the remarks as he concluded his two-day state visit to Indonesia after attending the Asia-Africa Summit and the commemoration of the 1955 Bandung Conference.
Hu said millions of Chinese citizens travel to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries every year for business or tourism and increasing numbers of Chinese enterprises see ASEAN countries as a favoured destination for investment.
China's investment in Indonesia's energy sector alone has topped US$1.2 billion last year. This year has seen the beginning of work to set up a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, a development which is likely to further increase economic co-operation.
In recent years, trade between China and countries in the ASEAN group has maintained a growth rate of nearly 30 per cent.
Last year trade reached US$105.9 billion with ASEAN countries enjoying a surplus of over US$20 billion.
Hu encouraged more bilateral trade between China and Indonesia, the largest ASEAN member country, saying the rapid growth of China's economy has presented new opportunities for the whole world, and its neighbours in particular.
Hu said the two sides have embarked on a series of large scale co-operation projects in such fields as energy, resource development and infrastructure.
Bilateral trade between China and Indonesia reached US$13.48 billion last year, up 31 per cent from 2003. The aim is to increase trade to US$20 billion within three years.
Speaking about the tsunami relief effort, Hu said China's response to the disaster constituted the government's largest ever foreign relief operation.
He also praised donations made by the Chinese people to help victims of the tragedy.
Hu held talks with his Indonesian counterpart and other leaders of the nation on Monday, signing a joint declaration of strategic partnership with Indonesia, charting the future development of the two nations' relationship.
Hu met with local Chinese embassy staff and representatives from the Chinese community yesterday morning.
Indonesia was among the first Southeast Asian countries to establish diplomatic relations with China.
In 1955, Indonesia, together with China and other Asian and African countries, successfully held the Bandung Conference, which promoted solidarity and co-operation among developing countries.
(China Daily 04/27/2005 page1)