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Plans for Bush's China Visit Moving Along

The US Government is sending a second work team to Beijing this week to prepare for US President George W. Bush's visit to China, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan on Tuesday.

Officials from the two sides will hold talks to settle the final schedule of the working visit of the US president February 21-22, Kong said.

Commenting on reports that Bush announced he would increase his defence budget by a big margin, the spokesman said China hopes the US' defence policy will be in the interest of world peace and development.

Kong also told reporters that Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi will host a re-opening ceremony of Chinese Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday.

This event will mark the further development of relations between China and Afghanistan, he said, adding that officials from the Afghan interim government will meet Wang during his visit to exchange views on bilateral issues.

Wang is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the country since the 1970s, according to the spokesman.

Chinese Embassy in Kabul was closed for security reasons in 1993.

"Wang will go to Kabul via Pakistan," Kong said.

"Though the details are still being arranged, I believe he will meet with officials from Pakistan and exchange in-depth views with them on issues of common concern."

Answering an inquiry on the slump in value of the Japanese yen, Kong reiterated that China hopes the Japanese side will take a responsible attitude on this issue.

Failure to do so would not only hurt the economy of Japan and other countries in the region but also impede the recovery of the world economy, Kong warned.

At the invitation of Nong Duc Mannh, general secretary of Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, President Jiang Zemin will pay a visit to Viet Nam at the end of February, the spokesman added.

(China Daily February 6, 2002)

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