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President Hu Jintao Holds Talks with Syrian President Bashar
2004/06/23

On the afternoon of June 22, 2004, Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Great Hall of the People. The two sides exchanged in-depth views on the bilateral relations and issues of common interest, and reached broad consensus.

Hu Jintao said that China and Syria have enjoyed time-honored friendship, which is symbolized by the ancient Silk Road. After the People's Republic of China was founded, Syria was among the first Arab countries to accept it and establish diplomatic relations with China. Over the past 48 years since establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have constantly consolidated and further developed their relations on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In recent years, high-level exchanges between the two countries have been on the rise, the bilateral trade volume has been growing year on year, and economic and trade cooperation has been productive. The exchanges and cooperation in the fields of education, culture, science and technology between the two sides have been ever-increasingly active. China appreciates the importance attached by the Syrian government to developing relations with China and is grateful for its precious support for China on issues related to Taiwan and human rights.

Hu Jintao made three proposals with regard to the development of China-Syria relations.

First, the two countries should enhance political exchanges. Leaders of the two countries should maintain the top-level exchanges of visits and keep in contact with each other, the friendly exchanges between the parliaments, political parties and people of the two countries should be expanded, and the two governments as well as their respective government agencies should have even closer consultation and coordination in international affairs with regard to important issues.

Second, the two countries should expand their economic and trade cooperation. While conducting good cooperation in the sectors of infrastructure, textile, and electric home appliances, the two countries should complement each other with their respective advantages to explore new cooperation areas and enhance cooperation in areas of petroleum, communications, agriculture, science and technology.

Third, the two countries should promote exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism and health. Mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples should be deepened to lay down an even more solid basis for development of relations between the two countries.

Bashar said that China is a close friend of Syria. Syria admires very much the brilliant history and culture of China and respects the great achievements that China has made in social and economic development in recent years. Bashar indicated that Syria and China share same views and positions on many issues and Syria stands ready to lay down an even more solid basis for development of the bilateral relations. He fully agreed to President Hu's proposal of strengthening cooperation in the fields of political affairs, economy and trade, education, culture, tourism and health, saying that this will definitely exert important positive influence on Syria-China relations. He stressed that Syria is currently renovating its infrastructure on a large scale, so the Syrian government welcomes Chinese businesses to invest and set up factories in Syria to participate in the economic development of Syria.

When talking about the Middle East issue, Bashar briefed on his views on the current situation there. He said that the Middle East peace process has come to a deadlock. Against this backdrop, the appointment of a special envoy for the Middle East issue by the Chinese government reflects the active efforts by China to resume peace in the Middle East. Therefore, Syria would like to maintain close contact and cooperation with China.

Hu Jintao said that China is concerned with the situation in the Middle East. The crux of the Middle East issue is in effect the occupation of Arab territory. History has proven that only in line with relevant United Nations resolutions and the principle of "land for peace" and by adhering to the path of resolving the disputes through negotiations can the Middle East peace process make progress. Syria is an important party of the Middle East peace process. China supports Syria and Israel to resolve their disputes through peaceful negotiations. China also stands ready to work together with the international community to make joint efforts to promote the Middle East peace process and realize regional peace and stability.

Following the talks, the two heads of state attended the signing ceremony of the China-Syria cooperation agreement on water conservancy, memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation, agreement on economic and technological cooperation, agreement on cooperation in health and agreement on cooperation in tourism.

Prior to the talks, President Hu Jintao held a welcoming ceremony for President Bashar for his visit to China at the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. President Hu Jintao's wife Liu Yongqing, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Ismail Amat, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Bai Lichen, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy Pan Guiyu and Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai were also present at the welcoming ceremony.

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