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China hosts 1st visit by Iraqi president, cancels debt
Latest Updated by 2007-06-22 08:21:43
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Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) and visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani review the guards of honor together during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, capital of China, June 21, 2007. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

China and Iraq on Thursday signed four agreements in Beijing, including one that canceled some Iraqi debt, as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani paid his first state visit to China.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Talabani attended the signing ceremony of the agreements after talking for an hour in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

No information was available about how much Iraqi debt would beset aside by China.

The other three agreements involve cooperation between the two foreign ministries, economic and technical cooperation and a human resources training program.

Talabani arrived in Beijing Wednesday evening, starting the first China visit by a Iraqi president since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1958.

During the talks, Hu described Talabani as "an old friend of the Chinese people", saying Talabani's visit to China will "add new energy to bilateral ties and open a fresh chapter."

China will continue to do what it can to help Iraqi reconstruction by encouraging some firms to take part in and train professionals needed for reconstruction, said Hu.

Hu proposed China and Iraq enhance cooperation in education, culture and health care, saying that China is ready to sign a yearly action plan with Iraq on cultural exchanges.

China will also enhance coordination with Iraq on international and regional issues, said Hu, adding that China will exchange views with Iraq on issues of mutual concern through such established mechanisms as foreign ministry-level consultations.

Hu said the China-Iraq friendship goes back more than 2000 years, to the time when the ancient Silk Road linked the two peoples together.

Since the two countries forged diplomatic ties, especially after the new Iraqi government was established, China-Iraq relations have entered a new stage of development, said Hu.

The Chinese government and people respect the rights and choices of the Iraqi people and support the efforts Iraq has made to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Hu.

The Chinese president also expressed his appreciation of Iraq's adherence to the one-China policy.

Talabani fully agreed with Hu's proposals, saying Iraq sincerely thanks China for its assistance and considers China one of its real friends.

Talabani suggested Iraq and China promote cooperation in areas like trade, science and technology, energy and culture and and explore new cooperative fields.

Talabani reiterated Iraq's firm adherence to the one-China policy.

In his weeklong stay in China, Talabani will also meet with top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Besides Beijing, the Iraqi president will visit northwest China's ancient city of Xi'an and Nanjing, capital of eastern Jiangsu Province.

In April 2005, Talabani was elected president of Iraq, becoming the first Kurdish president in Iraqi history.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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