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Wen Jiabao Holds Talks with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin

On April 21, 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council held talks in the Great Hall of the People with his French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin who was paying an official visit to China. The two sides exchanged in-depth views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and reached broad consensus.

Premier Wen made positive remarks over China-France relations. He said China-France relations are developing smoothly at present. Politically, the two governments have been given top priority to bilateral relations and have been trying to deepen political mutual trust and strategic dialogues. China appreciates France's understanding and support for China's stance on the Taiwan issue and the issue of lifting arms embargo to China by the European Union. Economically, bilateral economic and technical cooperation has been obviously accelerated with the rapid growth of trading volume and the implementation of a series of large cooperative projects. The two sides are continuing to explore the new areas and channels to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. In the international arena, the two countries have conducted close consultations on important international issues and hot regional issues and have also conducted effective cooperation in promoting diversity of human civilization and the democratization of international relations. Exchanges between China and France in the cultural field are more active than ever. The tremendous success of the event of cross cultural year has enhanced the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Wen pointed out both China and France are permanent members of the UN Security Council. They should plan the cooperative objective of bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership with a strong sense of responsibility for world peace and development so as to jointly contribute to world peace, stability and prosperity. He wished China and France can continue the momentum of top-level exchanges of visit and conduct closer cooperation in international organizations including the UN. He expected both sides to actively expand economic and trade relations, enhance cooperation in energy, transportation, aviation, agriculture and environmental protection, establish and improve inter-governmental cooperation mechanisms. He hoped China and France can actively explore new channels and means for exchanges and cooperation in the cultural field to ensure sustained development of bilateral culture communication. The two countries may also gradually promote their cooperation in judicial affairs.

Raffarin agreed with Wen on his remarks and suggestions. He said with effective cooperation between the two countries in trade, nuclear energy, aviation, environmental protection, and agriculture and between large businesses, bilateral relations have witnessed constant development in recent years. France-China relations are long-term relations and there is still a lot to be done. France is optimistic about the economic and trade relations between the two countries and hopes to enhance cooperation in trade, energy, SMEs and further promote exchanges in culture, education and youth with China on the basis of mutual benefits and complementary advantages.

Following the talks, the two prime ministers attended the signing ceremony of 20 bilateral cooperative agreements and co-hosted a press conference.

Prior to the talks, Wen held a welcoming ceremony for Raffarin at the square in front of the East Gate of Great Hall of the People.

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