Thursday, October 25, 2007

China, Costa Rica agree to step up ties "to a higher level"

Costa Rica's President Oscar Arias, left, is shown the way by his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao during the welcoming ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007. Oscar Arias was in the Chinese capital on Wednesday for talks with the country's leaders on his first visit since switching diplomatic ties from Taiwan. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)(Xinhua) - China and Costa Rica have agreed to step up bilateral relations "to a higher level", vowing to further cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, technology and tourism.

The consensus was reached in visiting Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez 's meetings here Thursday afternoon with Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The two sides also exchanged views on bilateral relations, parliamentary cooperation and other regional and international issues of common concern.

In his meeting with Arias, Wu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), noted that the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in June "follows the international trend, reflects the will of the Costa Rican people and serves the fundamental interests of the two nations and two peoples".

Wu said that China and Costa Rica have much in common in national construction and hold the same views on many international issues, stressing that China values its ties with Costa Rica and would make joint efforts with the Costa Rican side to push forward bilateral relations.

The top legislator also noted that normalization of the bilateral diplomatic relations offers opportunities for the NPC and Costa Rican Legislative Assembly to establish cooperation.

"The NPC is willing to join hands with the Costa Rican parliament to boost high-level exchanges and cooperation among various special committees, in an effort to increase bilateral comprehensive understanding and expand mutual trust", Wu said.

Arias said China plays an increasingly important role in the world. The development of bilateral relations since June has already brought benefits to the two sides.

"The successful visit proved to me once again that we have made the right decision (to establish diplomatic relations with China)",Arias told Wu.

"Costa Rica hopes and believes China will realize national reunification," Arias said.

In his meeting with Wen, Arias spoke highly of China's contribution to the alleviation of world poverty by its own economic development and rapid growth of its people's living standards.

"China's experience is worth learning", the Costa Rican president said.

He said that Costa Rica has established a sound legal system to boost foreign investment and the country also enjoys geographic advantages and high-quality labor force.

"Costa Rica welcomes Chinese enterprises to establish businesses there," Arias said.

Wen said that the establishment of bilateral relations has laid a solid foundation for the two countries to further relations.

"I hope the two sides can seize the opportunity to implement existing agreements and step up cooperation based on the principles of equality and mutual benefits", Wen said.

"China is full of confidence in the development of bilateral relations in the future", the Chinese Premier added.

Arias arrived in Beijing on Monday morning, kicking off a one-week state visit to China at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Besides the Chinese capital Beijing, Arias is also scheduled to visit the northwestern city of Xi'an and China's commercial hub Shanghai.

This is the first time for Arias to visit China since he took office in 2006.

China and Costa Rica posted 1.56 billion U.S. dollars of bilateral trade in the first seven months of this year, up 61.3 percent year-on-year. The Chinese side predicted that trade for the whole of 2007 will reach 3 billion U.S. dollars, up from 2.16 billion U.S. dollars reported last year.

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