At the invitation of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, King Abdullah of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco, President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and President Mwai Kibaki of the Republic of Kenya, Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay state visit to the five countries from April 18 to 29.
On April 14, Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi introduced the background of President Hu's visit at a briefing hosted by the Foreign Ministry.
Talking about the visit to the US, Yang said that the state visit of President Hu to the United States is a major event of China-US relations this year and of great importance to promoting the sustainable, healthy and stable progress of the bilateral relations.
Yang said that currently the China-US relations maintain a sound momentum of development in general. Last year President Hu and President Bush met in New York and Beijing successfully and reached important consensus on pushing forward China-US constructive and cooperative relations in the 21st century in an all-round way. Since the beginning of this year, the US Transportation Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Homeland Security Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State have visited China respectively and China also sent several delegations to the US. Recently Chinese vice Premier Wu Yi and related US officials jointly chaired the 17th meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Washington and the meeting achieved positive results. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice keep contacts through various channels. The parliamentary and military exchanges between the two countries continue. China-US cooperation in various fields such as economy and trade, anti-terrorism, non-proliferation and control of bird flu have scored new progress and the bilateral consultation and coordination on such major international and regional issues as the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Iran nuclear issue and reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the United Nations affairs remain effective.
Yang noted that President Hu Jintao's schedule in the US covers Seattle, Washington and Yale University. During his visit, President Hu will exchange in-depth opinions with President Bush and other US officials on China-US relations as well as major international and regional issues of common concern and meet with US parliamentarians, officials of states and cities, the business and academic communities, workers and students extensively. President Hu will also deliver a speech at Yale University and address the welcoming banquets hosted by the friendship groups to introduce China's internal and external policies. We hope that the visit will push both sides to look at the importance and necessity of China-US relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and move forward the bilateral constructive and cooperative relations in the 21st century comprehensively.
Yang stressed that the China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations in today's world. Under new circumstances, China and the US enjoy expanding common interest, stronger cooperation foundation and increasing opportunities. Facts have and will continue showing that to maintain the healthy and stable development of China-US relations is not only in the fundamental interest of the two countries but also conducive to peace, stability and development of Asia and Pacific and the world at large. Although differences still exist between the two countries, it is completely possible to properly handle and solve those problems on the basis of equality and mutual respect and in accordance with the basic norms of international relations and the principles of the three China-US Joint Communiqués. We expect to work with the US side to continue strengthening dialogue, mutual trust and cooperation, accommodating each other's concerns, appropriately addressing differences and pushing ahead the China-US constructive and cooperative relations so as to bring greater benefits to the two peoples and people all over the world as well.
Yang indicated that the Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive core issue of China-US relations. Opposing and containing "Taiwan independence" and maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits comply with the interest of both China and the US. We appreciate that the US reaffirms adhering to the one-China policy, observing the three China-US Joint Communiqués and opposing "Taiwan independence" on many occasions and hope that the US faithfully fulfills its commitments, sends no wrong signal to the "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces and joins hands with China to oppose and contain the "Taiwan independence" activities.
Yang also pointed out that the rapid growth of China-US economic and trade cooperation brings about tangible benefits to their people. Differences and friction do exist in the bilateral economic and trade areas, but mutual benefit and win-win result always remain the mainstream of bilateral economic and trade relations. We hope that both sides pay great attention to the concerns of each other and handle and solve them properly through equal dialogue and consultation. The recent facts of China-US economic and trade cooperation prove that the constant development of bilateral economic and trade relations is in the interest of both countries.
On the visit to Saudi Arabia, Yang said that it is the first visit of President Hu to Saudi Arabia. As an important Arab and Islamic country, Saudi Arabia has big influence on the Middle East and Gulf region. Since 1990 when China and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic ties, the bilateral relations have been progressing steadily. In January this year, King Abdullah took China as the first stop of his first visit after ascending the throne. During their talks, President Hu and King Abdullah reached important consensus on establishing the strategic friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries. The two heads of state completed the exchange of visit within one year, which is unprecedented in the relations between China and Arab countries. The two countries hold identical or similar views on many major international and regional issues and keep coordination and collaboration on international affairs. Economically, Saudi Arabia is the biggest trade partner of China in West Asia and North Africa. Last year the trade volume between China and Saudi Arabia totaled US$16 billion.
Yang noted that during his visit President Hu will hold talks with King Abdullah, meet with Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Sultan and address the Consultative Council of Saudi Arabia, comprehensively expounding China's policies and proposition on developing relations with Arab countries in the new century.
Talking about the visit to Morocco, Yang said that China and Morocco and the two peoples enjoy a long history of exchanges. Morocco is the second African country establishing diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China. Over the past 48 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the bilateral friendly exchanges at all levels remain frequent and cooperation in various fields has achieved remarkable results. In recent years, the bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation in economy and trade develops rapidly. Last year, the bilateral trade volume was close to US$1.5 billion, up 28% over the previous year. China and Morocco also maintain sound communication and coordination in international affairs as well as the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and the China-Arab Cooperation Forum.
Yang noted that President Hu's visit is the first to be paid by Chinese president to Morocco in the new century. During his visit, President Hu will hold talks and meet with King Mohammed VI and other Moroccan officials, and related government agencies of the two countries will sign agreements covering the fields of economy and trade, culture, medical care and health.
On the visit to Nigeria, Yang said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Nigeria in February 1971 the bilateral relations have been advancing steadily. In recent years, the bilateral relations enjoy rapid development, with frequent exchanges at all levels and increasing political mutual trust. In April 2005, during the visit of President Obasanjo to China President Hu and President Obasanjo reached consensus on establishing the China-Nigeria strategic partnership with mutual trust politically, mutual benefit economically and mutual support in international affairs. The bilateral cooperation in such fields as agriculture, infrastructure construction, power and telecommunications remain vigorous. In 2005, the bilateral trade volume reached US$2.83 billion, up 29.6% over the previous year. The two countries have also conducted effective cooperation in such international and regional affairs as anti-terrorism and peace keeping.
Yang noted that President Hu's state visit to Nigeria is just on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Nigeria. During his visit, President Hu will hold talks with President Obasanjo and meet with president of the Senate and president of the House of Representatives of the Nigeria Congress. President Hu will also address the Nigeria Congress to elaborate the China-Africa relations and China's policies with Africa under new circumstances.
On the visit to Kenya, Yang said that Kenya is an important country of East Africa. Since 1963 when China and Kenya established diplomatic ties the bilateral relations have been developing steadily. In August 2005, President Kibaki paid a state visit to China. The Kenyan government pursues the one-China policy and maintains close consultation and collaboration with China in international affairs. The bilateral economic and trade cooperation keeps expanding. In 2005, the bilateral trade volume increased by 29.7% over 2004 to US$475 million. The mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Kenya has achieved remarkable progress. By the end of June 2005, China has signed US$830 million worth of project contracts in Kenya and finalized US$780 million of turnover. The first Confucius Institute in Africa which China established in the University of Nairobi has started giving courses. Kenya Airlines has opened the direct flight from Nairobi to Guangzhou. According to statistics, last year almost 10,000 Chinese visitors traveled to Kenya. China Radio International has successfully launched its first overseas urban broadcasting station in Nairobi.
During his visit, President Hu will hold talks with President Kibaki to jointly plan the future direction of China-Kenya relations. President Hu will also visit the United Nations Human Settlement Program and the United Nations Environment Program and meet with heads of the two programs, according to Yang.
Yang expressed confidence that the visit of President Hu to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya will surely help consolidate China's traditional friendship with the four countries, build up political mutual trust, expand the mutually beneficial cooperation and raise China's relations with the four countries to a new level.