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Chinese president continues visit in Saudi Arabia
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14:10, February 12, 2009

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Chinese President Hu Jintao continued his state visit in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with a tour to a plant constructed by a Chinese company and a meeting with the chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In the morning, Hu visited a plant of the Riyadh Cement Company, which was constructed by China's Sinoma International Engineering Co. Ltd.

The president was briefed on the operations of the plant, and toured its central controlling room.

Later, the Chinese leader visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, where a group of Chinese scientists were working on a project studying the genes of dates.

"The project is a symbol of cooperation between the two countries in the sector of science and technology," said an official in Hu's delegation.

Hu also held talks on Wednesday with GCC Secretary General Abdul Rahman Al-Attiya in Riyadh, where the council is headquartered.

Hu said that China will seek an early free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

"An FTA is in the fundamental and long-term interests of both sides and will help deepen their mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve common development," Hu said during the meeting with Al-Attiya.

"China will strive to sign the agreement at an early date," Hu said.

Al-Attiya echoed Hu's views and pledged to complete the FTA talks as soon as possible.

Hu urged to implement the mechanism of strategic dialogue between China and the GCC at an early date, with the aim to enhance bilateral coordination in international and regional affairs.

The Chinese president said the two sides should continue their energy dialogue, make joint efforts to maintain stability in global energy markets and explore cooperation in non-energy sectors.

With regard to cooperation on investment and financial issues, Hu said businesses from both sides should be encouraged to expand mutual investment and participate in each other's infrastructure construction.

Hu said China is ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with GCC member countries in the financial sector to jointly cope with the adverse impact of the global financial crisis.

Hu urged to expand cultural and educational exchanges so as to lay a more solid foundation for bilateral friendship.

Hu also spoke highly of the crucial role the GCC has played in safeguarding regional security and ensuring stability on international energy markets.

Hu and Al-Attiya also exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East and some major international issues.

Hu arrived here Tuesday on the first leg of his five-nation tour, which will also take him to Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius.

Source: Xinhua

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