Sat, Nov 13, 2004 - Page 6 News List

China's leader on Latin American diplomatic tour

AFP , BRASILIA

Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) arrived in Brazil on Thursday for the start of a key Latin American tour that will include the APEC summit.

Hu landed in Brasilia for a five-day visit with China's top Latin American trade partner before heading to Argentina and then Chile for the Nov. 20-21 APEC summit. He will cap his trip with a visit in Cuba.

"China and Brazil are great developing countries that face the hard tasks of developing their economies and improving the lives of their peoples, and they take important responsibilities to maintain world peace," Hu said in a statement released to reporters by his delegation.

Hu's entourage includes Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星), Commerce Minister Bo Xilai (薄熙來), Planning Minister Ma Kai (馬凱) and a small army of 150 government and business leaders.

At the hotel, Li said the two nations complement each other commercially and economically and that China's visit should bring about "very good results."

Beijing aims to increase trade with Brazil to US$35 billion by 2010, said Li Ming Lin, secretary of China's commerce ministry, who made his remarks in Sao Paulo before Hu's arrival.

Trade between Brazil and China has increased 800 percent over the past 10 years, and in 2003 China became Brazil's third-largest trading partner, behind the US and Argentina.

Edmundo Fujita, Brazil's foreign ministry official in charge of the Asia-Oceania region, said that Hu was scheduled to address the Brazilian congress yesterday.

The Chinese leader will meet Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, both of whom visited China earlier this year.

In Santiago, Hu will meet newly re-elected US President George W. Bush, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and other leaders of Pacific rim countries at their annual summit.

Hu then travels to Cuba for meetings with long-time ally President Fidel Castro.

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