Wen Jiabao Meets with Finnish President Halonen

On September 12, 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who is in Finland for an official visit, met with Finnish President Tarja Halonen in Helsinki.

Finland was not only the first country in the Western world to establish diplomatic relations with China, but also the first Western nation to sign an inter-governmental trade agreement with China, Wen noted. Finland also gave positive support to China in the efforts to restore China's lawful seat in the United Nations in early 1970s. All these showed the friendly feelings of the Finnish people towards the Chinese people, as well as the farsightedness of the Finnish leaders, he said. Over the past few decades, China and Finland have all along developed bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and great success has been achieved in bilateral cooperation in various fields, he said. "To deepen the Sino-Finnish friendship and cooperation is in line with our common aspirations and conforms to both sides' fundamental interests," Wen said. China attaches great importance to its relationship with Finland, and regards Finland as a trustworthy partner, he said, adding that China is ready to work together with Finland to raise the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation to a higher level for the benefit of the two peoples.

On China-EU relations, Wen said political dialogue and consultation between China and the European Union is deepening, and the two sides' cooperation in various sectors is becoming even closer. At the just-concluded ninth China-EU summit, which was a great success, China and the EU agreed to negotiate a new partnership cooperation agreement, which would usher in a new era of China-EU ties, Wen said. "We appreciate the efforts Finland has made to push forward the development of China-EU relations since it took over the rotating EU presidency on July 1. We hope Finland would continue to play its positive role in deepening the China-EU strategic cooperative partnership," he said.

At the meeting, Halonen expressed satisfaction over the long-term friendship between the two countries. She hoped the bilateral relationship would be further promoted through regular exchanges of high-level visits.

Wen and Halonen also exchanged views on international and regional hotspot issues including the Middle East crisis, adding the two countries have both made contributions and sacrifices to the peace in the Middle East. Both agreed that China and Finland should strengthen communication and coordination in their joint efforts to help resolve relevant issues.

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