Premier Wen Jiabao briefed 700-strong journalists from both at home and overseas a number of major moves and principles in China's foreign policy at a press conference held right after the conclusion of the Third Annual Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, Monday.
While answering a question raised by a Russian journalist, Wen described Sino-Russian relationship over the last few years as being in "the best period" since the settlement of the border issue left over from history and said that the two nations had set forth a goal to expand their trade to 60-80 billion US dollars by 2010.
The Chinese premier also said he would discuss with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov about trade and economic cooperation, particularly "in the field of oil and gas exploration", when they meet in the second half of the year.
He also said Russia promises to enlarge oil export to China to 10 million tons for 2005 and 15 million tons for 2006, based on last year's 9 million tons and said a consensus on energy cooperation had been reached.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear that Russia would give first consideration to China in building an oil-gas pipeline in Siberia," he said, noting that efforts would also be taken to strengthen bilateral cooperation in oil and gas exploration and development.
"China-Russia energy cooperation is an important part of bilateral cooperative friendship and is based on equality and mutual benefit," said Wen.
The premier also voiced expectations for a high-level exchanges of visits between China and Japan and urged joint efforts to be made to create conditions in this regard.
The foreign affairs departments of both countries should begin strategic study and research on strengthening and improving Sino-Japanese ties, according to Wen.
"Any problems left over from history should be properly handled, " he said, acknowledging that Sino-Japanese relations have made great progress since the normalization of bilateral relationship in 1972.
Last year, bilateral trade between the two nations approached 170 billion US dollars and the number of personnel visits between the two countries exceeded four million.
The premier also mentioned the existence of obstacles to China-Japan relations. "They are particularly in the political sector and the fundamental issue is how the Japanese side views correctly the issues left over from history," Wen underscored.
As a matter of fact, the year 2005 marked the 60th anniversary of the victory on the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression won by the Chinese people. The premier called on both sides to take history as a mirror and look forward into the future.
"We hope that the Japanese government could take the opportunity to promote friendship between the two countries," said Wen.
He also urged the Japanese government to adhere to the "one China" principle and expressed his concern about the bilateral Japan-America security alliance due to its relevance to the Taiwan issue, which represents an internal affair of China and never subjects to any direct or indirect interference by any other countries.
Both sides should exert their utmost to strengthen cooperation and pursue common development as there are tremendous potentials for China-Japan friendly cooperation, especially in the economy and trade sectors, said the premier.
While elaborating on China's relations with neighboring India, Premier Wen announced his imminent visit to the south Asian country at the invitation of his Indian counterpart.
As the two most populous nations in the world, noted the premier, China and India are not rivals but friends, and both countries shall work together to tap potentials for bilateral cooperation and find a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable plan" to resolve their border disputes.
"I hope you to carry forward my message to the great Indian people, that is we're not competitors, we are friends," said Wen in response to a question raised by an Indian journalist.
Acknowledging that China and India will celebrate next month the 55th anniversary of the forging of their diplomatic ties, Wen voiced the hope that the anniversary would "become a new starting point for Sino-Indian friendly cooperation."
Stating that the development of Sino-Indian relations has "entered a new stage" in recent years, Wen said that during his scheduled visit, he would seek consensus with the Indian hosts mainly on three issues.
"Both China and India should fully recognize the great significance of Sino-Indian friendship, not only to Asia, but also to the entire world," said Wen.
Though the annual trade volume between the two big neighbors has now reached 13.6 billion US dollars, there remains a great potential for the two sides to further expand cooperation and seek common development, he added.
On the sensitive boundary issue, the premier suggested the two countries first establish the principle concerning the resolution of the issue, which had left over by history, on the basis of equal consultation and mutual understanding and accommodation with both respect for history and accommodation for reality.
The premier ended his comments with an emotional quote from an ancient Indian poem: "May we not hate anyone. Let there be peace, let there be peace, let there be peace!"