Fri, Nov 05, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Hu, Koizumi give congratulations

AP , BEIJING

Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi both congratulated US President George W. Bush yesterday on his re-election and said they were looking forward to better relations with Washington.

"Both China and the United States are great countries and share a wide range of common interests and basis for cooperation," Hu was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

"I look forward to continuing to work together with you to further promote the development of the constructive cooperative relations between China and the United States" to benefit the people of the two countries and rest of the world, Hu said.

China and the US have made "significant progress in cooperation in various fields, bringing substantial benefits to both countries and playing a positive role in promoting peace and development in Asia Pacific and rest of the world," Hu was cited as saying by Xinhua.

Xinhua said Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong (曾慶紅) also sent congratultions to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In Tokyo, Koizumi said he wants to build even closer ties with Washington in what he called Japan's "most important" diplomatic relationship.

Koizumi has staked his political future on strong support for Bush and the US-led invasion of Iraq.

"The president's re-election means that the American people trust his leadership," Koizumi said in a statement.

Koizumi said he hoped to strengthen ties with Bush.

"Building on the ties of trust and friendship, I want to promote stronger Japan-US relations," he said. "Japan's most important diplomatic relations are with the United States."

Earlier this year, Koizumi res-ponded to Washington's appeal for help in Iraq by deploying some 550 troops to Samawah on a humanitarian mission, despite public opposition at home.

Tokyo hasn't said whether the Japanese forces will stay in Iraq beyond the middle of next month. Without a formal extension, the aid mission would end.

But Bush's re-election alleviates pressure for Koizumi to consider pulling troops out of Iraq following the killing of a Japanese hostage by militants who had demanded that Japanese forces withdraw.

Japanese media called the results a plus for the two countries' warm trade relations.

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