Visiting friends

Updated: 2011-10-31 08:02

(China Daily)

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Chinese President Hu Jintao began a state visit to Austria on Oct 30, prior to attending the G20 summit in Cannes, France, on Nov 3.

Bilateral relations between China and Austria have been developing smoothly since the establishment of diplomatic ties 40 years ago. In terms of economic relations, the trade volume between the two countries reached 8.2 billion euros ($11.6 billion) last year, up from 29 million euros in 1971, and China has overtaken the United States to be Austria's largest trading partner.

On May 28, the two presidents exchanged messages of congratulations to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

In his message, Hu said the relationship between China and Austria has become increasingly mature and vigorous due to the joint efforts of both sides over the past 40 years, adding that cooperation in trade, culture, science and technology has continued to expand.

In his message, President Heinz Fischer highlighted the continual improvement and strengthening of bilateral ties over the last 40 years. He said Austria is ready to take the 40th anniversary as an opportunity to promote exchanges with China in the bilateral domain and within the European Union framework and further strengthen political, economic and cultural relations with China.

Hu's visit is expected to further promote political mutual trust, expand pragmatic cooperation and push the friendly ties to a new level.

Beijing has already pledged its full support to the G20 leaders summit in Cannes, which comes at a critical moment as the deepening eurozone crisis threatens to tip the global economy back into recession.

China has welcomed the agreement Europe's leaders thrashed out to provide new funds to control the region's crippling debt troubles and hopes it will help bolster market confidence. It is considering whether to invest in the bailout fund.

China cannot be Europe's savior, nor be a cure-all for its ills, but it will do what it can to extend a helping hand as a friend.

But friendship is a two-way street. China has already invested significant sums in European bonds and would like guarantees that its investment is safe.

Recognition of China's market economy status and the loosening of restrictions on high-tech exports would also ensure the sustainable and smooth development of economic ties between China and Europe.

Meanwhile, as Europe's debt crisis is likely to be one of the key topics at the upcoming summit in Cannes, China hopes that European leaders will heed the voices of emerging economies and help boost world economic growth.

(China Daily 10/31/2011 page8)