Cyprus and China boosted their trade relations Monday after signing cooperation deals in telecommunications and other fields, Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao said.
"We reached extensive consensus on further development of our bilateral cooperation in science, technology, trade and other areas," Hu told reporters in Nicosia after the signings.
"Although China and Cyprus are different, both countries are faced with the task of safeguarding our sovereignty, developing our economy and raising people's living standards," Hu said.
Among the agreements, the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority and China's ZTE Corporation, a supplier of high-tech equipment, signed a deal to share technology and expertise. The companies have a combined market of more than 50 million customers.
The two countries also drafted regulations for a 1990 double taxation accord, meant to boost investment between the two countries.
Hu's three-day visit is the most senior by a Chinese official to the island since 1971. It follows a trip by Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides to China last year.
"I attach great importance to the visit of the vice president and we have seen how my visit a year ago improved and strengthened our good relations," Clerides said after meeting Hu.
Hu said the two countries also hold similar views on regional and international issues, and that China was willing to help resolve the decades-long Cyprus conflict. "China, as always, will give its support to the UN in finding a settlement for the Cyprus issue. We are also willing to work together with the international community and make our contribution to a settlement," he said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-engineered coup seeking to unite the island with Greece.
Hu's visit is part of a six-country regional tour including Iran, Jordan Lebanon, Syria and Uganda. On Tuesday, China's vice president will visit the southern port region of Limassol where he will tour the ancient archaeological sites of Curium and the Temple of Apollo. — (AFP, Nicosia)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )