President Hu kicks off state visit to Ukraine

Updated: 2011-06-18 16:32
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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - Chinese President Hu Jintao kicked off a three-day state visit to Ukraine on Saturday after his arrival in southern Ukraine.

Hu arrived in Simferopol by special plane and then traveled to Yalta by car. He is the first Chinese head of state to visit Ukraine in the past decade.

President Hu kicks off state visit to Ukraine
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R, front) arrived in the airport of Simferopol, Ukraine, June 18, 2011. Hu Jintao kicked off a state visit to Ukraine on Saturday. [Photo/Xinhua] 

In a statement released upon his arrival at the airport, Hu said his visit was aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and mutual trust, and to lift China-Ukraine relations to a higher level.

"We are ready to work with the Ukrainian side to enhance political mutual trust, expand pragmatic cooperation, promote cultural exchanges and continuously consolidate the foundation of bilateral relations so as to make greater contribution to improving benefits of the two peoples," Hu said.

"Now, the China-Ukraine relations are facing major opportunities for further growth," he added.

Noting China and Ukraine are good friends and neighbors whose people share well-founded friendship, the Chinese leader said the two countries have seen healthy and steady growth of bilateral links since they established diplomatic ties 19 years ago.

Hu said China and Ukraine have achieved remarkable results in cooperation in the areas of politics, trade, economy and culture and that the two sides have lent support to each other on issues of mutual concern and cooperated closely on regional and international affairs.

The two countries have jointly made positive contributions to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world as a whole, he added.

During the visit, Hu will hold talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and meet with Volodymyr Lytvyn, chairman of Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) and Prime Minister Mikola Azarov. The two sides will exchange views on regional and international issues of common concern.

Earlier this month, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said the presidents of China and Ukraine "will sign a joint statement" to comprehensively lift the China-Ukraine relationship.

The joint statement will map out future cooperation in politics, economy, security and culture, and a series of cooperative deals will be signed during Hu's visit, said Cheng at a press briefing in Beijing.

"Hu's visit is a landmark in China-Ukraine relations," Cheng said.

Last September, Yanukovych paid a state visit to China and had talks with Hu. The two leaders expressed their willingness to lift the friendly and cooperative China-Ukraine relationship to a new level.

They also promised to strive to increase two-way trade volume to $10 billion by 2012.

Last year, the two-way trade volume between China and Ukraine amounted to $7.7 billion, a 33-percent increase year-on-year.

Meeting Azarov in China's Hainan two months ago, Hu said at the time that China hopes the two countries could implement major cooperative projects and improve cooperation in science, technology and agriculture.

He said the two countries should further expand people-to-people exchanges and strengthen cooperation and coordination in dealing with international and regional issues such as reforms on the United Nations, climate change and nuclear non-proliferation.

Hu flew in from Russia's St. Petersburg, where he attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Before that, Hu paid state visits to Russia and Kazakhstan and attended a Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

President Hu kicks off state visit to Ukraine
Chinese President Hu Jintao (L, front) receives bread and salt upon his arrival in the airport of Simferopol, Ukraine, June 18, 2011.  [Photo/Xinhua]