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|Saturday, April 14, 2001, updated at 20:49(GMT+8)|
Georgia, China to Further Bilateral Ties
The traditional friendship between the peoples of China and Georgia dates back to ancient times despite the far distance between the two countries, Li said during the meeting, adding that the old Silk Road had already connected both peoples closely.
Li praised Shevardnadze, as an old friend of the Chinese people, for his great contributions to the normalization of relations between China and the former Soviet Union and the development of friendship between China and Georgia after the latter declared independence in 1991.
China is one of the first countries to recognize Georgia's independence and the bilateral ties have developed smoothly since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, Shevardnadze noted.
He thanked China for its support in Georgia's struggle to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Georgia will adhere to the one-China policy, said Shevardnadze.
While expressing appreciation for Georgia's stance on the one- China issue, the Chinese vice premier elaborated on China's principles and policies for realizing the country's reunification.
The two sides shared the same views on fighting separatism, terrorism and extremism and they also discussed the problem of drugs, especially "ideological drugs" which endanger the human society.
Li briefed the Georgian president on the Falungong cult's anti- human, anti-social and anti-scientific nature and the harm it has been doing to the Chinese society. Shevardnadze extended support to the Chinese government in cracking down on cults and expressed his willingness to work together with the Chinese side in this regard.
On bilateral cooperation in trade and economy, Vice Premier Li stressed that China holds a positive attitude toward building the Eurasia Continental Bridge, which in turn is of long-term significance for China's ongoing strategy to develop its west.
The Georgian president said that building the bridge conforms to the mutual interests of China and Georgia and his country is willing to keep in touch with China on the project.
During the talks, the two sides also exchanged views on cooperation in the fields of energy and communications.
After the talks, the two officials inked several documents, including an agreement on bilateral cooperation in economy and technology, a letter of intent on cultural cooperation in 2002- 2004 and a cooperation agreement between the two countries' education ministries.
On Friday, Li also met with Georgian State Minister Giya Arsenishvili and Speaker of the Georgian National Assembly Zurab Zhvaniya.
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