Hu Jintao congratulates Bush, speaks of cooperation

Beijing (AsiaNews/AP) – On Thursday, Chinese President Hu Jintao congratulated George W. Bush on his re-election as president of the United States, saying Beijing was looking forward to "constructive co-operative relations" with Washington.

In a statement released by the Xinhua news agency, Hu Jintao said that "bboth China and the United States are great countries and share a wide range of common interests and basis for co-operation".

"I look forward to continuing to work together with you," he added, "to further promote the development of the constructive co-operative relations between China and the United States" to benefit the people of the two countries and rest of the world.

For him, China and the United States have made "significant progress in co-operation in various fields, bringing substantial benefits to both countries and playing a positive role in promoting peace and development in Asia Pacific and rest of the world".

The Chinese President's statement follows the friction and embarrassment caused by an article published last Monday in the government paper China Daily, where former Foreign Minister Qian Qichen was quoted criticising Bush. The article accused Bush of wanting to "rule the world all alone" and called on Washington to repudiate the "Bush doctrine" on preventive war. It also bemoaned the fact that the Iraq invasion had broken up the anti-terror coalition heightening ethnic and religious tensions.

The Chinese government responded to Washington's irritation in an undisclosed diplomatic note and a statement by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue explaining and partly confirming the criticism. China, the statement read, believed that unilateral actions by any government are not helpful in the current international situation. "In order to face the problems of the world, including terrorism and other challenges," it said, "we must rely more on multilateralism."

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