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Chinese premier kicks off official visit to Iceland

(Xinhua)

10:10, April 21, 2012

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C front) is welcomed by Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir (R front) upon his arrival in Reykjavik, Iceland, April 20, 2012. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

REYKJAVIK, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived here Friday, kicking off a two-day official visit to Iceland, which is the first official visit by a Chinese premier to the island nation in 41 years.

In a written speech upon his arrival at the airport, Wen said China-Iceland relations had witnessed sound development since they forged diplomatic ties 41 years ago.

Over the past years, the two sides had conducted closer high-level exchanges and deepened political trust, which had greatly promoted practical cooperation in various areas, Wen said.

China had become Iceland's biggest trade partner in Asia, and the two sides had conducted fruitful cooperation in such areas as geothermal energy, scientific research and polar regions research, he said.

Wen said he would hold talks with President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir to map out the future development of bilateral ties and exchange views with them on other issues of common concern.

During his stay in Iceland, the Chinese premier will attend the signing ceremonies of a series of cooperation pacts between China and Iceland, which will focus on geothermal energy and arctic research.

He will also visit an Icelandic geothermal plant and hold a discussion with local geological workers and students from the United Nations University Geothermal Training Program (UNU-GTP).

Iceland is the first stop of Wen's tour to Europe. He will also visit Sweden and Poland and attend Hannover Messe 2012, the world's leading industrial expo in Germany.

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