Foreign Ministry Official on President Hu Jintao's First Overseas Trip
On May 21, 2003, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Guchang held a briefing to foreign press on President Hu Jintao's upcoming visits to Europe and Asia in the Press Hall of the Foreign Ministry building.
Liu briefed the press on the agenda and significance of President Hu's trip. He said that at the invitations of President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin of the Russian Federation, President Jacques Chirac of the Republic of France, President Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan and President Nachagyn Bagabandy of Mongolia, President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China will pay state visits to the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakhstan and Mongolia from May 26th to June 5th 2003. During his tour, he will also attend the third Summit Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be held in Moscow, the celebrations of the tri-centennial anniversary of the establishment of the city of St. Petersburg and the leaders informal dialogue meeting between the North and the South to be held at Evian, France. The trip will be the first since Hu took office as president and of great significance. The visits are important in terms of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, China's relations with neighboring, major developed and developing countries, and fully implementing China's foreign policy.
Liu said that Russia will be President Hu's first stop. During the visit, he will hold talks with Russian President Putin, and meet with the Russian premier and parliamentary leaders for an in-depth exchange of views so as to promote the further development of China-Russia relations. The two heads of state will sign a joint statement based on the achievement of the meeting. Afterwards, Hu will attend the third Summit Meeting of the SCO member nations to be held in Moscow. It will be the first time for President Hu to attend the meeting. At the summit, the leaders will adopt a joint statement, and approve a series of cooperation documents. The meeting will be a symbol that the SCO has marched from the initial stage to the period of steady development. Meanwhile, President Hu will attend the 300th anniversary celebrations of St. Petersburg at the invitation of President Putin. Hu will convey the friendship and good wishes of the Chinese people to the people of St.Petersburg. The Chinese side has donated a Chinese garden named "Garden of Friendship" as a congratulatory gift to the city for the grand occasion.
Liu said that President Hu was also invited by French President Jacques Chirac to attend the leaders' informal dialogue meeting between the North and the South in Evian, France on June 1. During the stay in France, President Hu will hold a bilateral meeting with his French counterpart. After the France trip, President Hu will pay state visits to Kazakhstan and Mongolia. It will be an important link for China's foreign policy for neighboring countries, which features friendship and partnership with neighbors.
When asked about whether President Hu will have bilateral meetings with other state leaders including US President Bush during his trip, Liu said that Hu will have extensive contacts with foreign leaders while attending celebrations of St. Petersburg and the leaders informal dialogue meeting between the North and the South. There will be a summit between Chinese and US leaders, which the two countries attach great importance to. The two leaders will exchange views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues.
When asked about whether China's participation in the leaders informal dialogue meeting between the North and the South means a departure from China's policy of handling relations with the Group of 8, Liu said that the international community is currently facing many serious challenges, including weak recovery of the global economy, increased uncertainties such as war and epidemic, the widening gaps between the North and the South, and the difficulties facing the developing countries. The Chinese side deems it of positive significance to hold the leaders' informal dialogue meeting between the North and the South as is initiated by French President Chirac, which will be vital for deepening international cooperation and seeking a joint solution to major global development issues. China attaches importance to the role of the Group of 8 in international affairs, and would like to maintain contact and dialogue with the Group of 8. China's policy towards the Group of 8 remains unchanged.
Liu also took questions concerning the DPRK nuclear issue, the signing of oil pipeline agreements between China and Russia, the anti-terrorism mechanism of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the location of its secretariat and the nominee of its Secretary-General, and the measures against the Chinese delegation takes before the trip.