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Chinese, Greek leaders meet on relations

Li Changchun, senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) met with Greek leaders in Athens on June 28, calling for the strengthening of bilateral friendly ties and cooperation.

Li, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, met on separate occasions with Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos, President of the Parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki, Chairman of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement George Papandreou, and held talks with Secretary of the central committee of the New Democratic Party Vagelis Meimarakis.

In the meeting with Stephanopoulos, Li, who flied into Greece on June 27 for an official goodwill visit, said both China and Greece have ancient civilizations and has made significant contributions to the human progress.

At present, he said, the two nations shoulder similar tasks of developing their economy and share extensive consensus on major international and regional issues.

Li thanked Greece's understanding and support for China on the Taiwan and Tibet issues, he said, noting he wished the Athens 2004Olympic Games a complete success.

Stephanopoulos said Greece treasures its ties with China, noting it appreciates China's progress.

On some major issues concerning China, he said Greece will, as always, support China and he hoped statemen of the two countries would continue to deepen friendly contacts in a bid to push forward the Greece-China traditional friendship.

In the meeting with Psarouda-Benaki, Li applauded the friendly ties between the CPC and the four parties in the Greek parliament, and praised them for their positive roles in promoting the development of state-to-state ties.

He noted that the CPC is ready to strengthen bilateral contacts, increase mutual understanding and deepen traditional friendship.

Psarouda-Benaki agreed to Li's viewpoints, saying she hoped both sides strengthen high-level contacts and push the relationship between the two parties and the two parliaments to a new high.

In the talks with Meimarakis, Li exchanged views with him on deepening the relations between the two parties, noting he hoped to further exchange experience on handling the state affairs, tighten coordination on major international affairs, so as to contribute more to the overall development of the China-Greece friendly cooperation.

Meimarakis said his party is ready to further strengthen friendly contacts with the Chinese party and push forward state-to-state ties.

In the meeting with Papandreou, Li spoke highly of the movement's long-term efforts in promoting the development of China-Greece friendship.

Both sides agreed to continue bilateral friendly exchanges and cooperation.

During his stay in Athens, Li visited the site of the first modern Olympic Games and met with Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyannis.

Li is expected to fly to the Crete Island on June 29 before leaving for France on July 1, the last leg of his four-nation tour.
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