|China-Turkey relations in 2003|
The friendly relations and cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Turkey have developed smoothly since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971. In 2000, the two countries forged a closer partnership based on mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and common development. In recent years, the two countries have enjoyed frequent exchange of high-level visits, gradually expanding trade and commercial ties and fruitful cooperation in many other areas. The Turkish Government attaches importance to developing relations with China and has written it into its administrative platform.
In 2003, China-Turkey friendly relations and cooperation in political, economic, military, cultural and other fields continued to make steady progress.
Political relations between the two countries maintained a growth momentum, with frequent exchanges and contacts at various levels. On January 14-17, Chairman of the governing Justice and Development Party (now Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited China, where he met with CCCPC General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Zhu Rongji on separate occasions. General Secretary Hu said that the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Government paid close attention to developing relations with Turkey and wished to strengthen their exchanges and cooperation in various fields and at different levels with Turkey on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. He stressed the shared interest of the two countries in fighting terrorism and safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and ethnic unity, believing that increased cooperation in this regard served the fundamental interests of the two peoples. Zhu Rongji praised the consistent Turkish position that Xinjiang was an inalienable part of Chinese territory and that no one was allowed to carry out separatist activities against China on Turkish soil. He indicated China's readiness to work with Turkey for continued cooperation in the political, economic, trade and cultural areas and in regional and international affairs, thus moving forward their friendly relations and cooperation in an all-round, healthy and sustained manner. Erdogan reaffirmed the commitment of Turkey to the one China policy, its respect for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and its opposition to terrorism in all forms and manifestations. He also expressed the hope for closer cooperation by the competent authorities of the two countries in economic, trade matters, tourism and culture.
From November 30 to December 4, NPC Vice Chairman Ismail Amat visited Turkey, where he called on President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Speaker of the Grand National Assembly Bulent Arinc. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul during the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly. In other developments, Commerce Minister Lu Fuyuan, Vice Foreign Minister Yang Wenchang, Deputy Auditor-General Linghu An visited Turkey respectively. So did a Justice Ministry delegation and a National Defense University delegation. On the Turkish side, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, Police Chief Gokhan Aydiner visited China.
In November, Istanbul was struck by a series of terrorist bombings. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent messages of sympathy to their Turkish counterparts, in which they condemned the terrorist violence and pledged China's continued cooperation with Turkey in counter-terrorism.
Two-way trade increased substantially, and bilateral economic and technological cooperation also made steady headway. In a breakthrough of China's project contract in Turkey, China concluded a thermal power plant project and won the bid for a telecommunication access network project in Turkey.