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The President of the Republic started his working visit to China

Vasakult: proua Helle Meri, president Lennart Meri, Hiina parlamendi esimees Li Peng ja proua Zhu Lin (foto: Presidendi kantselei)President Lennart Meri this morning had a meeting with Li Peng, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, who thanked President Meri and the whole delegation for coming on a visit to China. As Li Peng said, relations with Estonia are very important for China, he also thanked President Meri once aggain for the meeting in Tallinn last September. Speaking of China's current priorities, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress mentioned candidacy for the Olympics city of 2008, as well as the Parliament's decision to ratify the UN-sponsored International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

As the Estonian President said, relations with China are very important for Estonia, and he is glad that with this visit to China, he can celebrate the tenth anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Estonia forthcoming on September 11. As President Meri said, his first impressions were that Beijing had changed a lot since his state visit seven years ago. The President emphasised that the visit's objective is the strengthening of political and economic co-operation, so that Estonian ports and railways could be used in the best way for both China and Estonia. As a future member of the European Union, Estonia is closely following China's relations with the EU.

Li Peng reiterated that all countries, big and small, rich and poor, must have equal rights to act. For China, Estonia is becoming an attractive foreign trade and transit partner. Li Peng also emphasised that Estonia is a good partner for China especially at the present time when China produces much more than it is able to consume.

President Meri mentioned that China could co-operate with Estonia in oil shale mining and better utilsiation of this natural resource, and expressed his hope that Beijing's wish to become an Olympic city would be fulfilled.

Yesterday, the Estonian delegation had a meeting with Fu Zhihuan, the Chinese Minister of Railways, and Hong Shanxiang, the Minister of Transport. This afternoon, there will be a meeting with the Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who is going to host a dinner in honour of President Meri and Mrs. Helle Meri in the presidential palace tonight.

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, March 2, 2001


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