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Xi invigorates partnership with Finland

By An Baijie in Helsinki | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-06 05:20

Xi invigorates partnership with Finland

President Xi Jinping and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto agreed to build a futureoriented partnership during their talks at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Wednesday. VESA MOILANEN / LEHTIKUVA VIA AP

Innovative Nordic nation seen as key economic ally

China and Finland signed a number of documents on Wednesday to boost cooperation in such areas as innovation, panda research and judicial communication during President Xi Jinping's state visit to the Nordic country.

After the talks between Xi and his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, the two presidents announced they would build a future-oriented, new-type cooperative partnership.

The two leaders also agreed to strengthen political trust, deepen practical cooperation and benefit the people of both nations.

China and Finland are good friends and partners with mutual respect and equal treatment, Xi said, adding that the people of both sides have long cherished friendly feelings toward each other.

The two countries should set the right direction for China-Finland relations in a strategic and long-term manner, enhance high-level exchanges and boost strategic mutual trust, he said.

During the talks, Xi gave an overview of China's economic and social situation and the future of the country's development.

Niinisto welcomed Xi's visit to Finland at a time when the country is celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence. The visit has brought special meaning to the celebration of the centenary, he said.

Finland firmly sticks to the one-China policy, Niinisto said. He added that Finland appreciates the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to boost connections between Asia and Europe.

Finland expects to enhance cooperation with China in such areas as economy and trade, investment, innovation, environmental protection, tourism, winter sports and Arctic affairs, he added.

The number of Chinese tourists to Finland has increased, and Chinese companies' investment in Finland has also grown rapidly, Niinisto said.

The Finnish president spoke highly of China's role in international affairs, including the leading role that China has played in climate change issues.

During the talks, the two sides reiterated their respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and their pledge to stick to the principle of mutual trust and equal treatment and to take each other's core interests and major concerns into consideration.

The two sides agreed to enhance connections between their economic development plans, explore cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and boost the connections between Asia and Europe.

The two presidents also designated 2019 as the Year for China-Finland Winter Sports, pledging joint efforts to back the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to be held in China.

Former Chinese ambassador to Sweden Chen Mingming noted that Finland is recognized as an innovative country, while China is at a critical stage of economy restructuring.

"Finland is on the frontier of environmental protection, biotech, and medical and internet technology. That is exactly what China needs. On the other side, the huge market in China is very attractive to Finland," Chen said.

Li Xiaokun in Beijing contributed to this story.

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