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Chirac signs 14 agreements with China in historic visit

October 26, 2006 11:19 IST
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French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed 14 economic agreements on Thursday.

The largest contract is an order for 150 Airbus A320 passenger jets.

The 14 agreements also covered nuclear power and infectious diseases, plus two more Airbus documents on the assembly of Airbus planes in the northern city of Tianjin and the possible purchase of Airbus A350s.

Chirac was welcomed by a military parade in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, before formal talks with Hu in the nearby Great Hall of the People.

Speaking to state broadcaster China Central Television in Beijing on Wednesday, Chirac also renewed his call for the European Union to lift its embargo on arms sales to China, calling the ban an anachronism.

At a joint press conference after their talks, Hu welcomed Chirac's support for the lifting of the embargo.

The two leaders said they agreed that North Korea should return to six-party talks aimed at negotiating an end to its nuclear weapons programme.

Chirac is on the second day of a four-day visit dominated by promotion of French business in China.

He is also scheduled to travel to the central city of Wuhan to open a new Citroen joint-venture car plant.

Top executives from French firms including Airbus, Alstom, Areva and Carrefour are among the large business delegation traveling with the French president.

Chirac told China's official Xinhua news agency before his trip that he wanted to build a genuine industrial partnership with China and that relations with China lie at the heart of France's foreign affairs.

DPA

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