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Friday, March 02, 2001, updated at 18:21(GMT+8)

NPC Chairman Meets Estonian President

Chairman Li Peng of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) said during a meeting with President Lennart Meri of the Republic of Estonia Friday that China supports Estonia's accession to the European Union.

President Meri, currently on a 10-day unofficial visit at the invitation of Chinese President Jiang Zemin, expressed strong confidence about China's relations with EU, of which Estonia will soon become a member.

Li extended a warm welcome to Meri and recalled his visit to Estonia last September. He expressed the conviction that President Meri's visit, at the start of the new century, one that coincides with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, will undoubtedly inject new vigor into bilateral cooperation.

China and Estonia are far apart geographically and divergent in size of population and land, however, Li said, their relations have witnessed healthy and sustained development over the past 10 years. The basic reason is that the two countries have pursued the international norms of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and non-interference into each other's internal affairs, Li said.

China strongly holds that all countries, large or small, are absolutely equal, and opposes such actions as the large bullying the small or strong bullying the weak, Li said. He also thanked Estonia's support to China on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet, both bearing on the country's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He expressed the hope that both sides would continue to solidify the political foundation for bilateral ties and further enrich cooperative contents.

Meri said Beijing has undergone dramatic changes compared with 1994 when he paid a state visit, adding he hopes Beijing will win the bid for the 2008 Olympics. He reaffirmed Estonia's pursuit of the One China principle and voiced the belief that this current visit would further promote the political and economic cooperation between the two countries.

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Chairman Li Peng of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress met with President Lennart Meri of the Republic of Estonia in Beijing at the Great Hall of the People Friday morning.

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