Foreign Ministry Officials on President Jiang Zemin's Upcoming Visit to Europe, Africa and Asia
On April 3, Director-General Kong Quan of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Director-General Cheng Tao of the Department of African Affairs, Director-General Wu Chunhua of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs and Deputy Director-General Shi Mingde of the Department of Western European Affairs to hold a briefing on President Jiang Zemin's upcoming state visits to Germany, Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Iran at the International Press Center. Some foreign correspondents resident in Beijing and information officers of foreign diplomatic missions attended the briefing.
Mr. Cheng said that Jiang's visit to Nigeria will be the first trip to Nigeria by a Chinese head of state since China and Nigeria established diplomatic relations 31 years ago, and a fourth important visit to Africa after his previous trips to Africa in May 1996, October 1999, and April 2000. This fully testifies to the great importance attached by the Chinese government to strengthening and developing friendly relations and cooperation with a great majority of African countries including Nigeria. The two leaders will have an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on how to consolidate and develop China-Nigeria relations and regional and international issues of common concern under new circumstances. The two countries will sign a series of important documents of cooperation. It is believed that the visit will further enhance the friendship between China and Nigeria and the two peoples, deepen mutual understanding and promote cooperation between the two countries in all fields to bring China-Nigeria relations to a higher level.
Mr. Cheng also briefed the audience on the situation in China-Nigeria relations. He said that since China and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in 1971, bilateral relations have been progressing smoothly, with fruitful results of cooperation. Last August, President Obasanjo paid a successful state visit to China, which injected new vitality into the development of bilateral relations. The two leaders jointly set the guidelines for the development of China-Nigeria relations in the new century, which is as follows: first, constantly strengthen the understanding and friendship between the two peoples in sincerity and based on friendship and mutual trust; second, work to expand economic cooperation and trade and cooperation in other areas between the two countries to seek mutual benefits and common development; third, strengthen consultation and mutual support to promote closer cooperation between the two countries in regional and international affairs; fourth, face the future and take a strategic high to maintain a state-to-state relationship of long-term stability and all-round cooperation.
At present, Nigeria is one of China's most important economic and trade partners in Africa. Two-way trade volume exceeded USD$ 1.1 billion in 2001, which scored a historical high. Nigeria is rich in resources, and has a vast market and huge potential in development. Many Chinese enterprises are actively committed to conducting mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria. The two sides are actively exploring cooperation in energy, water conservancy, telecommunications and other fields. The Chinese government encourages and supports Chinese strong enternprises and companies to invest in Nigeria and set up plants. China is ready to work with Nigeria in the principle of equality, mutual benefits and common development and further tap potential in biltaral economic cooperation and trade, expand areas of cooperation, enrich the content of cooperation and promote the all-round and in-depth development of bilateral relations.
Mr. Wu said that Jiang's visit to Libya and Iran is to return the visit by Libyan leaders and Iranian president, and also the first visit to Libya by a Chinese head of state. China has good relations with Libya, Tunisia, and Iran. Since China established diplomatic relations with the three countries, the two sides have constantly developed relations in political, economic, scientific and technological, and health care fields, and achieved satisfactorying results in economic cooperation and trade. During Jiang's visit to the three countries, he will exchange views with the leaders of the three countries on how to strengthen bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern. We believe that China's friendly relations and cooperation with the three countries will be developed through the visit.
On China's relations with West Asian and North African countries, Mr. Wu said that China maintains sound cooperative relations with all the countries in the region. China attaches great importance to developing relations with those countries. Many state leaders from the region have come to visit China this year.
While taking a question on whether President Jiang will talk about the the Israel-Palestine conflicts with the above countries during his visit, Mr. Wu said that the Israel-Palestine conflicts are a hot spot issue concerned by the international community at present. Jiang will talk about the issue during his visit to Libya, Tunisia, and Iran. In his talks and meetings with the leaders of the three countries, Jiang will state China's views on the current Middle East issue, particularly China's worry and concern about the current developments in the Palestine-Israel situation, and hope that relevant parties will cease fire as soon as possible to create conditions for a resumption of negotiations.
Mr. Shi said that Jiang's upcoming visit to Germany will be his second state visit to Germany since 1995. Germany is the first leg of Jiang's five-nation tour, and the only European country he will visit this time. The main purpose of this visit is to strengthen the friendship between the two peoples, enhance trust between the leaders and expand cooperation between the two countries in all fields.
Mr. Shi pointed out that Jiang's visit comes at the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. The major characteristics are as follows: first, there have been frequent exchange of visits by the leaders of the two countries, which has greatly enhance the mutual trust between them and promoted the development of bilateral relations. Second, there has been rapid development of economic relations and trade. Last year, two-way trade was USD$ 23.5 billion, which is an increase of 19.3% compared with the same period the year before and accounts for a third of China's total trade volume with the EU. There are more than 2,700 German investment projects in China, with total contracted value at USD$ 13.4 billion. Third, the two sides share many common views and interests on such major international issues as maintaining world peace, fighting terrorism, and maintaining global strategic balance. Fourth, various departments of the two sides have established many levels of coordination and cooperation mechanisms and achieved remarkable legal, environmental and scientific and technological results through exchanges.
While answering questions on how China and Germany should enhance cooperation on international issues, Shi said that the two sides will had in-depth discussions on how to strengthen cooperation and consultation between the two countries in the UN and other international organizations and further exchange views on cooperation to fight international terrorism.