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Premier Wen Jiabao Holds Talks with Irish Prime Minister Kenny

On March 27, 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny at the Great Hall of the People. Both sides declared they will forge a mutually beneficial strategic partnership.

Wen spoke highly of the development of bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1979. The two sides have treated each other based on mutual respect and equality and accommodated each other's major concerns. China had drawn on Ireland's experience during its development, while also offering huge market for Ireland, as China had become Ireland's largest trading partner in Asia, Wen said. In face of the profound changes in the international political and economic landscape and various grave challenges, both sides should take the opportunity of establishing the mutually beneficial strategic partnership and push forward bilateral exchanges and cooperation in all fields, so as to make the relationship beneficial to the two peoples.

China welcomed Ireland's moves, as part of its new Asian strategy, of considering China as primary partner, and progress would result from bilateral economic and trade cooperation, he said. To this end, Wen raised four proposals. First, give full play to the role of investment promotion mechanism, push businesses of the two countries to strengthen personnel and information exchanges, and guide the direction of cooperation. He said that China attaches great importance to the European Union-China gateway project proposed by the Irish side, and that he hopes the EU could start negotiations on an investment agreement with China as soon as possible, to provide a legal guarantee for investment between China and the EU. Second, strengthen exchanges and carry out pragmatic cooperation in the field of international service trade. China welcomes Ireland to participate in the first China (Beijing) International Fair for Trade in Services, said Wen. Third, improve the science and technology cooperation mechanism, increase cooperation inputs and expand areas of cooperation. The Chinese government supports industry-academia-research cooperation between both sides with enterprises being major players and supports the efforts to promote application of scientific research results to industrial production. Fourth, expand exchanges and cooperation in areas including agriculture, culture, education, environmental protection, tourism and public health and enrich bilateral mutually beneficial strategic partnership.

Wen also praised Ireland's active role in promoting China's relationship with the EU, pledging to enhance exchanges, build up mutual trust and expand mutually beneficial cooperation with the EU.

Kenny said the friendship between the two countries has a long history. In recent years, bilateral relations have maintained a strong momentum of development and cooperation in various fields has continued to deepen, bringing tangible benefits to both sides. There were new opportunities to expand the bilateral ties, he noted. He said Ireland was currently carrying out a series of fiscal overhauls, as it attempts to accelerate economic growth. Ireland treats China as a good friend and important partner. Ireland firmly adheres to the one-China policy and will deepen strategic contacts and build mutual trust with China, while cementing cooperation of mutual benefit in areas such as trade, investment, science and technology, tourism, agriculture, culture and education so as to push forward Ireland-China mutually beneficial strategic partnership, he said. Kenny also reaffirmed Ireland's support for EU's recognition of China's full market economy status and EU's lifting arms embargo on China. Ireland was ready to become a gateway for the EU in expanding cooperation with China, he said.

After the talks, the two leaders attended a signing ceremony of relevant bilateral cooperative documents.

Before the talks, Wen held a welcome ceremony for Kenny's visit at the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of China KMT Revolutionary Committee Wan Exiang, Education Minister Yuan Guiren, Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and Chinese Ambassador to Ireland Luo Linquan attended the welcome ceremony.

CPPCC Vice Chairman and Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang attended the signing ceremony.


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