Chinese President Arrives in Ukraine

Posted June 18th, 2011 at 5:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Chinese President Hu Jintao has begun his state visit to Ukraine aimed at boosting China's economic and political ties with the eastern European country.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko met President Hu and his wife on arrival Saturday at the Simferopol airport in Crimea. From there, they continued to the city of Yalta on the Black Sea coast.

Later Saturday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich planned a dinner in honor of the high-level Chinese guest.

Mr. Hu's visit is the first by a Chinese head of state to Ukraine in more than a decade. Mr. Yanukovych paid a state visit to China last September. The two countries established diplomatic relations 19 years ago.

President Hu will travel to the capital Kyiv Sunday where he will hold official talks with top Ukrainian officials Monday.

During the talks, the two sides are expected to sign a statement on future cooperation in economy, security and culture. China's official news agency Xinhua said the two countries are striving to increase bilateral trade volume from just under $8 billion last year to $10 billion by 2012.

The report said China and Ukraine could also implement major joint projects and improve cooperation in science, technology and agriculture.

Ukraine is the last stop on President Hu's tour of three nations. He arrived in Ukraine from Russia where he met with President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow and attended an international economic forum in St. Petersburg. Before Russia, he paid a three-day visit to Kazakhstan where he also attended a summit of the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Astana.