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Bush's Visit to Reinforce Bilateral Ties

The upcoming visit of US President George W. Bush will strengthen Sino-US relations which have developed positively since Bush's last visit to Shanghai, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan at a press conference Thursday.

"At that summit, the two sides reached a consensus to develop a constructive co-operative relationship, which laid out the guidelines and charters of the future bilateral ties of the two," Kong said. "Since then, co-operation between the two in various fields has made improvements and the development momentum has been maintained."

He said that China places great importance on President Bush's working visit set for February 21-22, and officials from both countries are busy arranging the schedule.

The second advance group sent by the United States will arrive in Beijing Friday to discuss the details of the visit, he added. China would like to strengthen co-operation with the United States in various fields, handle disputes properly and push forward bilateral relations, said the spokesman.

When talking about the major disputes between the two countries, Kong said the most important and sensitive issue is the Taiwan question. He urged the US side to strictly abide by the three communiques and related agreements and to handle the issue properly.

Concerning the Taiwan question, Kong also repeated the Chinese mainland's stance on the "three direct links" of trade, transport and mail across the Straits.

Responding to China Daily's inquiry into reports that the Philippine authorities had seized four fishing boats and a total of 97 Chinese fishermen on February 1 and imprisoned them on February 5, Kong said that the Chinese Government is very concerned about the case and is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

Commenting on the situation in the Middle East, Kong said President Yasser Arafat is the leader of the Palestine people and a banner of the just course.

(China daily February 8, 2002)

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