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Harper's upcoming visit to China significant to bilateral ties: Chinese ambassador

(Xinhua)

16:19, February 02, 2012

MONTREAL, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's upcoming visit to China will significantly impact bilateral relations between the two countries for years to come, a Chinese official says.

Zhang Junsai, the Chinese ambassador to Canada, said Wednesday that he expects Harper's visit will expand the scope of mutually beneficial cooperation, build more platforms for people-to-people exchanges, and help the two countries handle their differences properly on the basis of equality.

During a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, Zhang also briefly reviewed developments in the political and economic relationship of the two countries since Harper's first visit to China two years ago.

Bilateral trade between China and Canada last year hit a record high of almost 50 billion U.S. dollars, 60 percent more than two years ago, and progress also has been seen in the investment and tourism sectors, the ambassador said.

In the context of China's rapid development and Canada's commitment to sustained economic growth and job creation in the face of global economic uncertainty, "never have we been in so much need of each other," Zhang said.

Because of challenges such as the economic crisis, terrorism threats, and global warming, Zhang said, China and Canada need to "view our bilateral relations from a global and strategic perspective, and take concerted action in deepening our all-around cooperation."

He added that China has strong willingness to reinforce its economic ties with Canada. The two countries should optimize their trading structures, improve product quality, and identify new engines for two-way investment for a win-win scenario, the ambassador said.

He said that with a sound foundation in exchanges and cooperation in culture, education and tourism, Canada and China have shared aspirations to make those sectors the new strategic pillars for bilateral relations.

Zhang noted that Canada and China have different views on some issues due to differences in terms of history, culture, social systems, and stages of development.

"That makes it all the more important for us to deepen mutual understanding and trust through dialogue on the basis of equality," the ambassador said, "We also need to narrow our differences and expand consensus with wisdom."

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