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Chinese president meets Icelandic counterpart
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13:36, August 22, 2008

Chinese President Hu Jintao met on Friday with Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympic Games to discuss bilateral relations and areas for further cooperation.

China and Iceland have enjoyed traditional friendship and maintained friendly cooperation, said Hu. Such a relationship is a good example of equal treatment and friendly cooperation between countries with different social systems and at different stages of development, he added.

"China is ready to make concerted efforts with Iceland to continuously deepen bilateral relations and practical cooperation in various fields," the Chinese president said.

The China-Iceland free trade negotiations are going on a smooth track, and China hopes an agreement is reached at an early date, based on the principle of equality and practicality, Hu said.

Grimsson said Iceland and China have kept expanding cooperation in diverse sectors and have set up a paradigm of successful cooperation between a small country and a big one.

He hoped the two sides work together to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in economy and trade, higher education, science and technology, earthquake prediction and monitoring, and utilization of terrestrial heat.

Iceland is willing to work with China to push forward the free trade negotiations, said Grimsson.

During the meeting, Hu congratulated Grimsson on his reelection as president and thanked the Icelandic government's support for the Beijing Games.

He said that Grimsson, an old friend of the Chinese people, has made active contributions to the development of friendly relations with China. "We highly appreciate these efforts and feel grateful."

Grimsson said he attended the Special Olympics in Shanghai last October and is very happy to be at the Beijing Games. His presence is a historic event in his country because this is the first time for an Icelandic head of state to attend the Olympic Games.

He also congratulated the Chinese government on the successful hosting of the Special Olympics and the Beijing Games.

Grimsson, the fifth president of the Nordic nation, took office in June 1996 and was sworn in for his fourth term this year.


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