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BEIJING, China (July 3, 2002 – Xinhua-New China News Agency)--China will make a concerted effort to push forward bilateral friendship and cooperation with Kiribati on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.

Chinese President Jiang Zemin made the comment Wednesday in Beijing during talks with visiting President of Kiribati Teburoro Tito, who is on a six-day working visit to China as Jiang's guest.

During the talks, the two presidents exchanged views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern.

Jiang spoke highly of the bilateral relations which have continued to progress since Tito's 1996 visit to China, and pointed out that there has been frequent contact between leaders and officials, fruitful exchanges and cooperation in such fields as education, health and space science, and mutual support for each other in international affairs.

He stressed that expanding bilateral reciprocal cooperation is in the interests of the two peoples and helpful to the development of the region.

He noted that the economies of the two countries are complementary, referring to Kiribati's resources and China's textile, light industrial and electro-mechanical products.

The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to conduct business in Kiribati and welcomes Kiribati business people to China for cooperation, Jiang pointed out.

China's entry into the World Trade Organization is bringing new opportunities for bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Jiang said, and cooperation will continue to bear fruit.

Jiang said he is pleased China's economic assistance to Kiribati in the past has played a positive role in its social and economic development.

Jiang also expressed his appreciation for the Kiribati government's adherence to the "one-China" policy and its support for the Chinese government on the Taiwan issue.

Jiang mentioned the strengthening of relations between China and the member states of the Pacific Islands Forum and their fruitful cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, culture, education and health, as well as their excellent coordination in international affairs.

Jiang stressed that China supports the strengthening of regional cooperation between the countries in the Pacific and the promotion of regional peace and the development of the regional economy. He added that China also supports these countries' rational appeal for the establishment of a nuclear-free area and the protection of their fishery resources.

Jiang briefed Tito on China's reform and opening-up drive and its economic development.

Tito said that China is a special friend of Kiribati and his current visit is aimed at promoting the friendship and cooperation between the two countries and their peoples.

He noted that China, with a long history and promising future, is playing an increasingly important role in the world and Kiribati values its friendship with China.

He reiterated his country's "one-China" position.

He also talked about China's assistance and support for Kiribati in the past years. This help has benefited the country's economic development and improved its people's lives.

He said he believed bilateral cooperation is of mutual benefit in the economy, trade, culture and education.

After the talks, the two presidents attended a ceremony for the signing of agreements between the two sides on economic cooperation.

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