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Hu Jintao appreciates Chirac's position on Taiwan issue(01/27/04)

PARIS, Jan. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Monday night that the Chinese government highly appreciated the French government's firm stand on the one-China policy and French President Jacques Chirac's clear position against Taiwan authorities' attempts to use referendums as a cover to push for "Taiwan independence."

At a welcoming banquet hosted by Chirac and his wife, Bernadette, in the Elysee palace in honor of Hu and his wife, Liu Yongqing, Hu said China adheres to the fundamental policies of peaceful reunification and "one country, two systems" on the Taiwan issue and will make its utmost efforts to achieve the peaceful reunification of the motherland.

China is resolutely opposed to "Taiwan independence" and would never allow anyone to split Taiwan away from China by any means, said Hu, who is in France on a three-day state visit.

He also said China, a major developing country, needs a peaceful international environment of long-term stability for its modernization drive to build a well-off society.

France and China, though far apart geographically, have much incommon, Hu said, adding that both are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, carrying considerable weight in the world and shouldering major responsibilities in world affairs.

Both China and France support the establishment of a multipolarworld and the democratization of international relations, and favor maintaining the diversity of the world, Hu said.

China has always attached great importance to developing ties with France, Hu said. Sino-French ties have been developing smoothly since the two countries established diplomatic relations four decades ago and fruitful cooperation have been carried out ininternational affairs and in political, economic and cultural fields.

History shows that it is in line with the fundamental interestsof both peoples to develop Sino-French relations, which are also conducive to world peace and common development, the Chinese president said.

The Chinese government will, as always, strive to develop Sino-French ties and continue to give fresh impetus to the friendly cooperation between the two countries, he said.

In his welcome speech, Chirac said he considered Hu's visit, his first to Western Europe since taking office, a strong "sign offriendship and trust" for both countries and an important and new step in the history of bilateral ties.

Chirac said France adheres to the one-China policy, noting thatany unilateral, destabilizing act by Taiwan authorities, includinga referendum, to break the status quo is a "grave mistake," he added.

As permanent members of the Security Council, France and China share similar positions on such issues as regional conflicts, proliferation crises and international anti-terrorism activities, said Chirac. He expressed his appreciation for China's efforts to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula peacefully.

The president also said a partnership pact that China and France are to sign marks the two sides' determination to push forward the development of the bilateral ties and to form a closerrelationship in the fields of economy, industry and science and technology.

Closer China-France partnership will help promote the China-Europe relationship, Chirac said, adding that China's cooperation with Europe in such projects as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the satellite-based navigation system "Galileo" shows vitality and great potential in the development of Europe-China ties.

In his speech, Chirac also said France and China are actively involved in the preparation for the fifth Asia-Europe Summit, which is helpful to promote mutual understanding between the two continents.

Hu arrived here Monday for a three-day state visit, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France.

France is the first leg of Hu's four-nation tour, which will also take him to Egypt, Gabon and Algeria.

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