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Premier Wen kicks off 4-nation visit
( 2003-12-07 08:17) (Xinhua)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao left Beijing Sunday afternoon for an official visit to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia.

Wen will also attend the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Minister in charge of the State Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai are among the entourage.

*** Visit to contribute to ties

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to the United States will contribute to further deepening mutual understanding and trust, expanding bilateral exchanges, and further promoting the constructive cooperation between the two countries, said Yang Jiechi, the Chinese ambassador to the US.

Wen's trip is of great significance since it will be the first official visit to the US by the new generation of Chinese leaders and an important event in bilateral relations this year, Yang toldXinhua in an exclusive interview on the eve of the visit scheduledfor Dec. 7-10.

During his stay in the United States, Wen will meet with US President George W. Bush and other senior government officials andCongress leaders for in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as the current international situation, Yang said.

"Through joint efforts by both sides, Premier Wen's visit will contribute to further deepening mutual understanding and trust, expanding bilateral exchanges and cooperation, and promoting the further development of the Sino-US constructive relationship of cooperation," Yang said.

Relations between the two countries have maintained a good momentum so far this year amid close high-level exchanges and contacts. During the successful meetings in Evian, France, and in Bangkok, Thailand, President Hu Jintao and President Bush reached important consensus on furthering the constructive relations of cooperation, he said.

Yang was referring to their meetings at an informal gathering last June in France of leaders from 11 developing countries and the Group of Eight industrialized nations, and during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Thailand in October.

The two leaders also exchange views on bilateral ties and international issues of common concern through the exchange of letters and phone calls, which help deepen mutual understanding and trust, and promote relations between the two nations, Yang said.

All these developments have demonstrated the important and broad common interests between China and the United States despitedifferences on certain issues.

"As two influential countries, they shoulder great responsibility in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and world at large, in promoting global economic growth and prosperity, and in combating terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," the ambassador said.

The development of Sino-US constructive relationship of cooperation not only conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, but also has important and positiveimpact on the international situation, and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific as well as the whole world, he said.

On the issue of Taiwan, Ambassador Yang said that the issue of Taiwan is the most important and most sensitive issue in relationsbetween China and the US.

Properly handling the Taiwan issue is pivotal to ensuring a stable and smooth development of bilateral ties, Yang emphasized.

The Taiwan regime is making every possible attempt to carry out"independence" activities and has gone so far as to clamor for a so-called "defensive referendum," seeking to separate Taiwan from the motherland, Yang warned.

These activities represent a grave provocation of the One-Chinaprinciple, he said.

The Chinese government will make every effort to solve the Taiwan issue in accordance with the principle of "one China, two systems," but it will by no means tolerate "Taiwan independence," he said.

China will never allow anybody to separate Taiwan from China byany means, he reiterated.

"If the separatist activities in Taiwan carry on, they will inevitably cause serious damage to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and to the common interests of China and the US," the ambassador said.

China hopes that the United States would stick to the one-Chinapolicy, abide by the three Sino-US joint communiques and honor itscommitments and oppose Taiwan's provocative activities aimed to split China, he said.

On trade and economic ties between China and the US, Yang notedthat bilateral trade and economic cooperation have maintained a momentum of rapid development in the past two years since China's accession to the World Trade Organization.

From January to October this year, Sino-US trade reached 102.48billion US dollars, 30.7 percent more than that of the same periodlast year, Yang said, citing Chinese official statistics.

During the same period, Chinese imports from the US reached 27.56 billion dollars, an increase of 25.7 percent, the ambassador said.

In the investment front, the number of US-funded projects newlyestablished in China in January to October reached 3,308, 22.25 percent more than that of the same period last year. Chinese enterprises' investment in the US has also been growing steadily, Yang said.

According to statistics from the US Commerce Department, US exports to China surged 18.5 percent in the first nine months of this year, far exceeding the growth of its exports to other trading partners.

China, currently the fourth largest trading partner of the US, is likely to become the third largest by the end of the year. The US is China's second largest trading partner, Yang said.

Each year, US exports to China create 500,000 high-paying jobs in the US, while affordable and quality Chinese products in the USmarket save American consumers 20 billions dollars, Yang said.

In addition to the positive growth in bilateral trade, the two governments have also maintained close discussions and dialogue inthe fields of economy and finance, with constructive coordination and cooperation within such multilateral frameworks as the WTO andAPEC, he added.

Their fruitful economic and trade cooperation has demonstrated that the economies of the two countries are highly complementary to each other and that their cooperation has great potentials.

Developing trade and economic exchanges will be a "win-win" situation for both sides and will bring substantive benefits to the peoples of both countries, Yang said.

China and the United States should objectively and properly deal with the problems that have popped up in bilateral trade and refrain from politicizing such problems, Yang stressed.

Beijing stands ready to solve the relevant problems through dialogue and negotiations on the basis of equality, he added.

The increase of unemployment in the US has not been caused by Chinese exports to the US, and China doesn't seek to maintain an excessive trade surplus with the US in the long run, he said.

Talking about the Sino-US cooperation in fighting terrorism, hesaid that after the Sept. 11 attacks, China and the United States have worked closely to crack down on terrorism in the fields of diplomacy, finance, law enforcement as well as in intelligence, with positive achievements.

China is willing to strengthen such cooperation with the US on the basis of mutual benefit, he said.

During Wen's visit, China and the United States will sign a number of cooperation agreements on technology, transport, health and culture.

The signing of these documents, which reflects the range and depth of the exchange and cooperation between the two countries, will inject new vigor into their constructive relationship of cooperation, he added.

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